ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -In the wake of the crisis in Ferguson, another deadly police involved shooting has stirred passions in St. Louis.
St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson has released graphic cell phone video and 911 calls of the incident, Wednesday, in a bold and controversial step toward transparency.
This commitment to transparency has been in the works for months, Dotson said, though the crisis in Ferguson added a sense of urgency.
In Dotson’s quest for transparency in the investigation into Tuesday morning’s police shooting death of shoplifting suspect, Kajieme Powell 25, of St. Louis, FOX 2 aired portions of the recordings.
The cell phone video was taken by a bystander, Dotson said.
A worker at the Six Stars Market in North St. Louis called 911 to report a shoplifter, armed with a steak knife, had stolen items from the store.
Transcription of 911 Calls:
- Store clerk: "A black tall guy, he walking out with the."
- Dispatcher: "A black tall guy walking out with what stuff."
- Store Clerk: "He got like 2 energy drinks and donuts."
Then came another 911 call from a St. Louis Alderwoman who runs the barber shop next door.
Transcription of Alderwoman call:
- Alderwoman: he`s in front of my barber shop. He just seems very upset. I don`t know what he`s getting ready to do. I don`t know if the person in the store called but I`m calling because I done locked my door. I don`t want this guy to come in here. He`s got a knife in his hand.
Dotson also released police dispatchers’ calls to the officers:
Dispatcher to officers: Caller says he`s got a knife in his pocket and 1 in his hand.
Dotson described what he took away from the video which show the actual shooting and the moments leading up to it.
“Both (the 2 responding officers) indicate they are in fear for their life, as the suspect walks toward the officer and the passenger side, you can see the officer take one to one and a half steps backwards. As he does that, the suspect continues to advance toward him,” Dotson said.
Transcription of Cell phone video:
- Police: Get your hand out of your pocket.
- Suspect: shoot me. Shoot me.
- Bystander: He`s got his gun out.
- Police: Drop it. Drop it now.
- Suspect: Shoot me, shoot me now.
- Bystander: they got their guns out.
- Police: Drop it.
There was also a police call from an officer at the scene back to dispatch.
Here’s a transcription:
- Police officer: shots fired, officer involved shooting, suspect down ... Multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING AUDIO:
The officers immediately called for backup and an EMS crew to tend to Powell, Dotson said.
Residents and reporters asked him why the two officers who shot Powell didn’t use tasers.
“The way the tasers operate there are two probes that are fired. Both probes have to make contact with the individual and their skin in order for them to work. This individual had a jacket on,” Dotson said. “We train that edged weapons—knives--within 21 feet are a lethal weapon. So within 21 feet, a subject can close the distance before the officer has time to react.”
The video showed Powell to be well within 21 feet of the officers.
One of the officers has 3 years experience; the other less than 2.
Dotson did not rule out releasing the officers’ names. He was awaiting an assessment on the threat of possible retaliation against them before making a decision.
The officers are on administrative leave pending the outcome of criminal and internal affairs investigations.
Dotson planned to release details of those investigations as they progressed.
Both officers fired 6 shots at the suspect.
Autopsy results were not yet available to show how the bullets struck Powell.
Those details would be released when available, Dotson said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 444-5371.