Official calls for feds to investigate police shooting of knife-wielding man

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by Matt Sczesny / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 26, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 26 at 10:13 PM

Officer-involved shooting

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(KMOV.com) – State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, is calling on the federal government to investigate the shooting of Kajieme Powell.

Powell, 25, was shot by officers in north St. Louis Aug. 19. Officers said he was brandishing a knife and coming at them when they decided to fire. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson released information about the shooting almost immediately, but the frustrations of residents about the authorities handling of the shooting boiled over at a town hall meeting Tuesday.

“The question is ‘was the use of force appropriate in this case?" Dotson said. “That’s what our investigation will find out and that’s why I sent it to the FBI and Justice Department.”

Nasheed, who was active in the protests in Ferguson, wrote a letter U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Justice Department to investigate the shooting.

“At the end of the day many constituents in the St. Louis area believe it was excessive force and could have used other means to restrain Mr. Powell,” Nasheed said.

Many at the town hall meeting shared Nasheed’s sentiment.

“I watched the video about a dozen times, it was a lie that Mr. Powell was three or four feet from the police officer. It was more like 10,” activist Kevin Powell said.

 

Both Doston and Mayor Francis Slay’s office told News 4 they welcome an independent investigation. 

 

See original story on shooting below:

 

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) –The 25-year-old man shot and killed after showing a knife to an officer in North St. Louis Tuesday was identified.

Kajieme Powell was killed in an officer-involved shooting around 12:30 p.m. at McLaran Avenue and Riverview Drive in North St. Louis.

According to Chief Dotson, Powell stole two energy drinks from the Six Stars Market in the 8700 block of Riverview. Dotson said after the suspect walked out of the store with the drinks, he went back inside the store and grabbed a pastry. Dotson said the store owner followed the suspect out of the store and police were dispatched to the area.

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According to police, the suspect pulled out a knife and was acting erratically when officers arrived. Dotson told reporters the suspect told responding officers to “shoot me now, kill me now.”   Dotson said officers asked the suspect to drop the knife, which he was holding in an overhead grip, and the suspect refused to do. 

When the suspect approached the officers carrying a knife, officers fired shots striking the suspect. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.

When asked about the validity of the shooting, Dotson said officers "have a right to defend yourself." 

Mayor Francis Slay tweeted that there will be a "complete and transparent" investigation into the shooting.  He pledged that St. Louis "will know everything I know."

A large, peaceful crowd quickly came to the scene of the shooting.  Some said police had other options, and did not have use lethal force.

"It's in their best interest, with Ferguson and everything going on, to use a taser," said Tommy Lee, a resident of the area.  

"A knife cannot puncture a vest," another resident said.

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