Officers cleared in fatal shooting of Kajieme Powell -

Officers cleared in fatal shooting of Kajieme Powell

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Amateur video caputred the fatal officer-involved shooting of Kajieme Powell in St. Louis Amateur video caputred the fatal officer-involved shooting of Kajieme Powell in St. Louis
Kajieme Powell Kajieme Powell

*This is a developing story. We will have more in a live report on News 4 at 4:00*

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office has announced the two officers who shot and killed Kajieme Powell will not face criminal charges. The announcement was made after multi-month investigation by the Circuit Attorney's Office into the incident.

In February, the SLMPD presented its findings to the Circuit Attorney’s Office, recommending no charges. From there, the Circuit Attorney’s Office conducted an independent investigation coordinated by circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce. The investigation included a review of cell phone videos, police reports, ME, ballistics and laboratory reports, 911 calls and dispatcher recordings and 3D spatial analysis of the scene. Investigators also conducted additional interviews. 

Click here to read the full report.

On August 19, 2014 at approximately 12:15 pm, Powell entered a convenience store in the 8700 block of Riverview Boulevard. Two clerks later stated they watched him take several items from the store (two energy drinks and a snack item) and walk out without paying. When one of the clerks confronted Powell, he reportedly became agitated and threatened to kill him. Two witnesses called 911 and reported the incident, saying Powell was “threatening” and “aggressive.”

The owner of a next door business called 911, and once on the phone, reported seeing Powell pull a knife from his sweatshirt, gesture with it and put his hand back in his sweatshirt. According to the Circuit Attorney’s investigation, at no point in any of the 911 calls did anyone report Powell appeared to be suffering from a mental breakdown.

Two officers arrived on scene in a marked police vehicle and encountered Powell on the sidewalk with his hand in his sweatshirt. As he approached the officers, they commanded he remove his hands from his pocket and drop the knife.

Powell yelled at the officers multiple times to shoot him, and the officers had their guns drawn. Between the 911 call and the arrival of the officers, a witness arrived on scene and began filming with their cellphone, which captured the entire interaction. Powell advanced on officers with his knife drawn and was told multiple times to drop the weapon. In the video, he advances toward one of the officers, and is shot.

Officers then cuffed Powell, who appeared to still be moving, as is standard police procedure, according a Jennifer Joyce's office.

Spatial analysis determined Powell was 15 feet away from the officer when the first shot was fired, and continued another 10 feet. He was eight feet away from the officer when stopped, as the officer backed up during the encounter. The initial statement made to the public was that Powell was within three to four feet of the officer. However, the 3D spatial report concluded that at the time of the first shot, Powell was moving quickly and could have made contact with the officer within 1.2-2.4 seconds.

The ballistics reports revealed each officer fired six times, and Powell suffered 13 entrance wounds and five exit wounds. One of the entrance wounds was determined to likely by a re-entry wound, meaning a bullet entered, exited and re-entered his body. According to the medical examiner, none of the shouts would have been immediately fatal, meaning Powell could still have been moving when the police cuffed him. Officers recovered a nine-inch, wood-handled knife from Powell on the scene, and DNA analysis matched Powell. His DNA was also found on one of the sodas recovered from the scene outside the convenience store. No calls to 911 indicated Powell was suffering from a mental illness or ailment, and the officers did not approach the scene with any such information.

A police officer is allowed to use deadly force in making an arrest only when the officers believes the use of such force is immediately necessary and reasonably believes one of the following:

  1. The subject has committed or attempted to commit a felony
  2. The subject is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon
  3. The subject may otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay

The CAO report determined that, under the above criteria, the two police officers acted within the confines of the law in using deadly force. Powell advanced on the officers with a knife, and according to spatial analysis reports, was close enough to pose an immediate threat to one of them. 

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