St.Louis cops executed Kajiemi Powell

August 21, 2014


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good morning:

Police executed Kajiemi Powell in St.Louis on Tuesday. Within 15 seconds of arrival after being called regarding a man who had taken two sodas, the police fired twelve shots in rapid succession, killing Kajiemi Powell. The Guardian reports:

St Louis police have released video and audio recordings of the shooting on Tuesday of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old man described as “behaving erratically” and carrying a knife when officers arrived on the scene.

One video, taken by a witness with a phone camera, shows officers opening fire repeatedly within 15 seconds of arriving at the scene. Twelve shots are fired in rapid succession. The fatal encounter added to tensions between St Louis police and the black community, coming amid continuing protests in the locality of Ferguson after police shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.

Although the video shows an execution, some have called this incident ‘suicide by cop.’ I believe it’s an execution prompted by an attempt to commit suicide.

Police should not be so accommodating.

Contrary to their claim that he had a knife in his hands as he approached the officers, saying, “Shoot me. Shoot me,” Kajiemi Powell appeared not to have anything in his hands.

Powell likely suffered from mental illness and his death speaks to the plight of the mentally ill. Suicide by cop has entered our lexicon because police have been willing accomplices to suicide by the mentally ill.

This is disgraceful and it needs to stop.

Death by gun should not be the default solution to encounters with suicidal people.

For example, why not use existing technology to create a portable inflation device that can instantly be inflated like an airbag to create a barrier to prevent the suicidal person from attacking a police officer.

They also have tasers that can disable from a distance.

Police need to,

Stop. The. Killing.

Police are increasingly being perceived as the enemy because of their willingness and in some cases, enthusiasm to solve potential threats to public safety with lethal gunfire.

If they don’t stop the killing, people are going to start killing them.

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