Spatial analysis used to clear officers in Kajieme Powell shooting

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – FOX 2 news has obtained a report prepared by an accident reconstruction expert hired by the St. Louis Police Department that played a crucial role in the St. Louis Circuit Attorney`s decision not to charge officers in the Kajieme Powell shooting death.

That report, prepared for the police department`s Force Investigative Unit, was included as evidence in the Circuit Attorney`s report exonerating the officers, issued Tuesday.

The data presented is from a process known as 3-D Spatial Analysis. It was prepared by Tom Morris, the owner of St. Louis Traffic Accident Reconstruction.

'You try to figure out what is likely and what is unlikely,' Morris said as he stopped by FOX 2 for an exclusive demonstration of the techniques and equipment used in cases like the Kajieme Powell investigation.

Morris is not allowed to talk directly about the Powell case because of the family's pending lawsuit.

But in his report to police, obtained by FOX 2 News, his analysis showed Powell was within 15 feet of one of the officers when the shooting began, and was close enough to physically contact one of them within 1.2 to 2.4 seconds.

'There always is going to be some subjectivity and judgment involved with it simply because the limitations of this particular equipment,' Morris said. 'I have to decide what information I need to include in the map to represent the issues.'

To make his calculations, Morris marks and then records measurements of fixed objects at a scene and then uses that information to calculate distances to other objects in pictures or videos from that scene with 3-D computer modeling.

The equipment he uses is similar to that used by surveyors to make measurements and then inputs them into a 3-D computer modeling program.

As for calculating the speed at which Powell was moving toward the officers, the report indicates Morris used cell phone video of the shooting.

'Video is essentially a built-in stop watch. Every frame is 1/30th of a second, so with that I can count the frames. I know what time elapsed, if I know some distances, I can get speed, and acceleration,' Morris said.

Morris frequently works with the St. Louis Police Department as an accident reconstruction consultant. He estimates he has been called in on about 100 cases since 2003.

Morris` report says he had helped mapping the scene from four city police officers assigned to the department's Accident Reconstruction Unit.

However, there is no indication anyone other than Morris did the actual calculations or analyzed the data.