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Monday, August 25, 2014

Updates on Police Killing of Kajieme Powell

Monday  Still very little--that I've seen--new on this or on the life of Powell himself.  Someone posted photo of his grandmother or mother seemingly speaking to the press but I have not read a single word of that.  Media have left story behind.  Mike Brown at least has a life fully explored and outspoken relatives.  Powell: nada.

But here's a good new piece from The National Interest asking if maybe his suicide-by-cop had a deliberate political message.    Hard to judge since--we know so little about Powell. 

Yet another media host, this time Melissa Harris-Perry at MSNBC, stresses too much that St. Louis cops were more "transparent" and downplaying the lies they told early on. Those on her panel stronger. 

Saturday  Former police chief of Tallahassee, Fla. hits police actions in this killing--says one could have tased him while the other kept gun on him because he was still good distance away.

Finally, the St. Louis Dispatch with first few details on Powell's life, though just recent months (other reports have his mother passing away not long ago).  Seemed "smart" and "quiet" and "courteous."  

Friday 1:30 p.m.  Antonio French, local alderman, so tough and eloquent on the Brown shooting, on CNN just now and continues--as he has since it happened--to advise accepting that police acted within their rules, man had weapon, and will not be prosecuted. 

I noted what this writer says from the start:  Powell looks back in video to see people behind him who might get hit if police fired on him there-- and so deliberately walked far to left to get them out of line of fire.  This shows 1) he really was ready to die 2) had perhaps more concern for human life at that point than the two cops who plugged him.  

8:30 a.m.  Writer at The Economist, of all places, calls for prosecuting the two police officers for needlessly shooting Powell.

Jake Tapper of CNN goes to scene of shooting and actually measures how far Powell likely was from nearest cop when shot and comes up with greater distance than we and others estimated--at least 16 feet from closest cop and more from the second one.  Police chief had claimed two to four feet.  Tapper's piece better than nearly anyone else on TV so far although too much focus on accepted police protocol (without mentioning other options such as taser, temporary retreat, etc.)

Thursday 9:40 p.m.  Oddly, given the Maddow segment (see below), a piece just up at the MSNBC site is one of the most critical of the police on a mainstream site today.  And first to quote a new witness, who says, as video shows, that Powell was just walking with hands at side and didn't seem like "a threat."

NYT w/ a useless report, actually claiming that from video you can't tell if Powell has arm raised with knife. (See my full report from yesterday.)

Rachel Maddow opens show with this on MSNBC.   Starts with several parts of video.  Times incident from moment cops drove up to 23 seconds.  Like others, she praises "transparency" of police and for putting out video themselves (even though they had no choice as it was about to come out). But she does not  point out right away that he also gave much false testimony.  

Also she ticks off three questions they asked the department this morning and answers--even though everything they asked about had already come out.  Then hails the "transparency" again as reason there hasn't been much community protest there.  She then interviews a local radio host, Kenneth Murdock.  He says community upset about police acting like "soldiers" and need for dash camera in all cars--and points out, which Rachel did not, that police lied about Powell hold knife up as he moved toward cops. 

7:25  Erin Burnett on CNN rolls part of tape again.  St. Louis defends police fully again.  Powell made "bee line" for officers.  "Point of no return."  Van Jones (whose father was a cop) says "probably legally justifiable" but "probably avoidable."  Guy with mental health issues "can be talked down."  Not enough training for police and too many weapons.  Repeats again that "probably legally justifiable."  End of story, I guess?

2:15 p.m. CNN just now with latest defense of police from ex-cop policing "expert."  Says "they had to use deadly force."  Says what if taser doesn't work.  Couldn't "negotiate." Shooting in limb might not stop him.  Must shoot "until threat negated."  Then host runs tape of police chief, hails police expert.  The usual.  No questions about false police accounts. (CNN last night showed clearer tape that they were given perhaps by guy who shot it.)

It's revealing (though host doesn't pursue, naturally) that ex-cop says Tasers can be effective up to 15 feet.  Powell closer than that to one cop so theoretically accuracy might be pretty good.

Note:  Police Chief Sam Dotson continues to fully defend shooting with such as "They used lethal force in a lethal force situation." Seems a bit prejudicial for any in-house investigation....

Earlier Thursday:  I first raised questions about the shooting of Kajieme Powell in St. Louis, near Ferguson, on Tuesday and then I was first, I believe, to post on a blog and analyze the cell phone video that emerged, yesterday afternoon.  I updated for the rest of the day and critiqued the very weak coverage on CNN and MSNBC all night (with Chris Hayes, among others, dropping the ball).  Now I'll continue to follow today.

It's really gone viral, with NYT (although in limited way) now covering on its site.  And the paper's conservative columnist @DouthatNYT just tweeted a string of comments critical of the police as shown in video, such as : I think it's impossible to watch the video and not see a policing disaster....I have never been directly menaced by a lunatic with a knife. I also have not been trained, on the public $, to handle situations like that." 

The contradictions in police account that I raised remain unresolved. This piece at The Atlantic is all over the place but includes some valid postings by others and link to Ezra Klein piece grappling with it.  I still have not read one word about his background, beyond him telling some at the scene that his mother recently died, and that he had moved in with grandmother.  I've also not seen any signs of street protests in the neighborhood, but maybe not covered much.

New Republic piece seems to think police followed policy-but policy is "insane."


TimeSnow said...

Any link to the interview with Powell's neighbors? Thanks!

beckypb said...

Yesterday ((Thursday) afternoon on The Situation Room - CNN, Brianna Keilar had conversation with Tom Fuentes at a big screen (one with the capability to mark illustrate with one's finger) with the video frame by frame. It's probably posted on The Situation Room show page on CNN's website.

TimeSnow said...

Thanks a lot - I'll try and find it... :)

J Oberhaus said...

Antonio French is so wrong about this. As an St Louis alderman, he is an advocate for the City of St Louis, and that puts him squarely on the wrong side of truth and the plain facts. St Louis may choose not to discipline and prosecute these officers, but without a doubt, the Powell family will initiate proceedings and the City will settle without a trial. These officers are culpable, at the very least, of LYING in their official report. There is just no argument that Powell posed any risk to them. To claim they feared for their lives???

Mammy said...

I want to know why the media is getting away with calling Kajieme Powell "mentally ill," which they have done from the very first reports ... based, I take it, from the official police statement, which, interestingly, is based upon the 911 call from the alderwoman next door in the barbershop ... which brings up the next question I have: how in the world could that caller have reported, as she did, that the guy had a knife in his pocket, in addition to a knife in his hand? And okay, here's another observation: the cellphone videotaper starts out by verbally indicating that he was called to the scene, that he knew what was getting ready to go down. It doesn't help that he seems not a bit surprised when the police start firing on Powell. I haven't seen any interviews of that guy. When I first saw the video, in the hour after it was posted online, I thought that Kajieme Powell had basically martyred himself (NOT suicide by cop). But some of the other available details are making me wonder if it was some kind of a set up. I'm going to review the footage again, because another detail I remember is hearing a woman's voice, off-camera, saying something about rubber bullets. I'm just trying to mention things here that I haven't been seeing widely addressed.

TimeSnow said...

And the conspiracy theories rear their head.

He's been called mentally ill because of his behaviour on film and because of interviews with his neighbors and other people in the community that knew him.

As far as being a martyr.... Who even knows what you mean by that....??

Anonymous said...

Not only has this story been left behind, tonight Dianne Sawyer referred to the Michael Brown killing as 'young man shot in broad daylight' and omitted his being an unarmed teenager shot six times.

Later, her on the scene reporter stated that people are seeking justice for 'both young men involved in this shooting' equivocating the suffering of the policeman with that of his victim.

D.B said...

I made a detailed analysis of the cell phone video of the killing of Kajieme Powell, please watch.


Anonymous said...

D. B, I watched both of your videos, version 1 and version 2. You make some interesting points, that some things in that video are just "off", but I can't put together what you are trying to say. What is your conclusion? Was the filmmaker, along with maybe some of the other people who appear in the video, working with the police? Was Kajieme Powell shot with rubber bullets, and therefore not really dead? Where's his autopsy? What was the purpose of this video, if it is not what it seems? Did the police stage all of it, and if so for what purpose? I can't figure out how to put all of what you are saying together. What are you proposing that it all means, if staged? Who's behind it? My head hurts now. This sounds like conspiracy theory stuff, but watch D.B.'s videos and you will see he has lots of valid points, especially NO BLOOD and some of the things the filmer and bystanders are saying.

tadams0620 said...

I believe I've positively identified Kajieme Powell's Facebook page. His birth name appears to be Antoine Powell. Not sure if this has been discovered by others.

FB site - https://www.facebook.com/antoine.powell2

A comment left by one of his friends on Aug 21:

"Toy Toy Wright: R.I.P Kajieme I will always remember the good conversations we had about religion, politics, injustices past n present. I always thought U had a good grasp on whats going on to be so young. I always believed that u would go into politics. Sleep in peace brother.

August 21 at 4:30pm"

In looking at this young man's public FB content, he does not come across as someone with a mental illness. He was a curious young man and a world traveller. He had an interest in politics, civil rights, and in the fervor following Ferguson, I believe he set out to make a statement, sadly a fatal one.

He shoplifted the convenience store twice (as the first seemingly went unnoticed by the owner, or didn't achieve the outcome of the police being called). He set the items on the curb and, pacing, waited for the police to arrive.

An individual in the phone recording can be heard saying "Brother, this ain't how you do it, bro."

When the police drew their weapons, he noticed that the line of fire included the bystanders behind him. He changed positions and continued advancing.

It's obvious to me, Kajieme had a plan, likely born out of frustration with the current events.

Greg Mitchell said...

Tadams,you may be right but why do you think so? Yes, he did live in NY not long ago etc. Any more? And I can't access the friends' comments, how does one do that?

ladybug hug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ladybug hug said...

You guys are so freaking stupid. I can't believe you think this young man had a plan to be shot, or camera man had a deal with the police. Only ignorant white people, or blacks who have never lived in a black neighborhood would state such dumb remarks. It’s apparent this young man had issues. No one truly knows what his issues were. Now, being an African American my take from the video would be that he put down the items as to say yeah I took it. Next as far as charging the police. I think that was mental part of him trying to be brave, and arrogant not knowing his fate. I doubt he wanted to be killed. Also, if you have a high tech computer you can see he was not holding a knife, nor a gun. The knife was in his pocket and you can see the police take it from out of his pocket. You people are just stupid. The camera man was just as shocked; to the point he did not know how to react. I would have reacted in the same way as in disbelief that this just happened in front of me. It would be hard for me to believe

Anonymous said...

Greg, I drive by the site on occasion for work. Last time I was there a cop was posted in his cruiser on permanent watch I guess, with a memorial to Powell. Do you have any new info on Martyrdom? His Facebook has been deleted.