Friday, August 22, 2014

Kajieme Powell Died For Two Stolen Sodas and a Danish

Believe me, I'd like nothing better than to use my Friday off to post a quirky tongue-and-cheek blog about the latest examples of Republican stupidity; and there are many.

Texas (surprise!) Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert's absurd dimwitted theory that President Obama can't protect the nation from ISIS militants because US foreign policy is being guided by "Muslim brothers" is a blog unto itself.

But the release of the cell phone video of the recent shooting death of Kajieme Powell by St. Louis police officers warrants discussion.

The news the other day that St. Louis PD officers had shot and killed another African-American man in the midst of the massive ongoing protests against the police shooting of Michael Brown almost defied belief.

If you're reading this blog, like me you heard the mainstream media quickly repeat the initial police narrative offered by the police chief at a press conference that Powell had shoplifted from a local store, was seen acting "erratic" outside the store and that a woman (allegedly) reported he was wielding a knife; which the police said he supposedly thrust at officers in a threatening manner.

But the validity of that narrative has been totally called into question with the release on Wednesday of cell phone video of Powell walking around outside the store, his confrontation with police when they arrived at the scene and his subsequent shooting.

So you decide for yourself, if you haven't seen it you need to watch this. This is a shorter version that shows the actual shooting of Powell and the subsequent reaction of bystanders and police.  Don't worry, it's far enough away that you can't see blood or anything like that, but you can clearly hear Powell dare the police to shoot him and the number of shots fired. It's not gruesome.

There's a much longer version that the shows the initial scene as the man who shot the cell phone video walked up because he heard there was a guy who stole a couple sodas and was walking around acting crazy. At first the man shooting the video is amused. You can see Powell walking around outside the store sort of talking to himself. Is he acting "erratic"? Yes. But people are just walking by or standing there watching him. The clerk from the store is just standing there looking at him.

Powell had placed the two cans of soda on the sidewalk and was just walking around them. After taking the sodas he went in and grabbed a danish or a honeybun too. But watch for yourself. Powell clearly has some sort of mental issue going on, maybe he's on something, I don't know. But he does not have a gun and he was NOT wielding a knife. And does not look threatening.

But then he walks up the street about fifty feet and a St. Louis police car pulls up. Watch what happens after that - and listen to the reaction of the bystanders in the background. Look closely, do you see Powell raise his hand and thrust a knife at the two officers?

Does it look like the officer's lives are endangered to the point where they need to pump 12 bullets into him? They were shooting him after he was on the ground; and then put handcuffs on him after he was dead. Is that the kind of nation we've become? Who's training the St. Louis Police Department?

Are two cans of soda and a danish really worth a man's life?

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