Last night on Larry Conners USA, I started discussing the discrepancies in a fatal shooting involving St. Louis City Police.
Today, it seems everyone is on the issue, but my take … is NOT what you might have seen or heard on some of the national news outlets.
This involves the Tuesday shooting .. when a man armed with a knife was shot and killed by two St. Louis Officers; the victim was black; the officers are white.
Police were called after the man stole items from a store and was walking around with a knife; he was clearly disturbed and/or on drugs. A St. Louis City Alderwoman was one of those who called police, and she was clearly worried the man was a threat.
When police arrived, the man started shouting: Shoot me! Kill me!
Police shouted several times for him to drop the knife, but he didn’t. He continued advancing and when he got within 20 feet… both officers opened fire … shooting a total of 10-12 bullets.
St. Louis Police Chief Dotson arrived on the scene and in a rush to show transparency and ease any tensions, he started repeating what some witnesses had told him; Chief Dotson was doing his best to avoid another Ferguson.
In his early statement, he said that the officers didn’t draw their guns when they first arrived, and he said the victim had gripped his knife in an overhand position. At that point, Chief Dotson raised one of his arms above his head … suggesting that was how the man approached police. He suggested the man got within maybe 3 feet of police before they fired.
As I pointed out last night… the video refuted some of what Chief Dotson said; at least one officer had his pistol out as soon as he got of the cruiser; it appears the other officer did the same, but the door blocked the view.
The most damning differences … the video does not show the man raising his knife over his head (as Chief Dotson had motioned) before he was shot … and officers started shooting when the man was at least a dozen feet away.
My point … my point … was to state… the video did show some discrepancies.
That did not mean … that the officers were wrong in their actions.
I was pointing out how witnesses see things differently, and in this case, there was video which provided a better documentation.
When national media … and local citizens looking at the video … began to see what I had discussed … many jumped to the conclusion that the shooting was not justified.
Many were asking, couldn’t police have just shot to wound … like in the arm … not to kill? That’s a movie script; officers are trained to shoot for the center mass.
Many complained .. why so many shots? In case like this, there is sometimes “tunnel vision” and even an “auditory block”, so it is possible that the officers didn’t realize the other was shooting; some will not believe anything I just wrote, but those are proven to happen in shootings.
Others were crying out … police should have used the Taser. That might have worked, but if the Taser missed or didn’t make a full connection and didn’t work … the man with a knife was going to be on top of one of the officers.
Chief Dotson said that his officers are trained to resort to lethal force when a suspect armed with a knife gets within 21 feet; that’s pretty standard training … to make sure officers go home at the end of their shift.
Based on how I think police should respond in such a case … regardless of color of the suspect or the officers … based on what I saw on the video — this appeared to be a justified shooting.
It is all possible that the suspect … wanted … suicide by cop, and this was going to end in his death because he was not going to stop.
But as with the Ferguson case; I don’t have all the facts.
That’s for investigators to gather, review and make a final determination.
This incident is unfortunate … especially in light of the Michael Brown case … but those who want to crucify every cop for every shooting … are wrong.
Each police shooting is an individual case and should be judged on the facts of that specific case; each is not to be painted with a broad brush that indicts and convicts —based on previous cases, perceptions and bias.
Larry Conners USA will be on a little late tonight … following the Redbird game. We should be on by 10Pm, so be listening for the “Signature” of the my program: News & Commentary.
You can listen on KTRS (550), and remind relatives and friends beyond our borders — all of you can listen to live, streaming audio via the internet at KTRS.com or the free KTRS phone app.
Below are the programs which aired last night August 20, 2014.
Leave A Comment