Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man, was killed on Tuesday by a police officer in St. Louis .
The shooting cameÂ shortly after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead inÂ Ferguson, by a police officer as well. The St. Louis shooting further triggeredÂ protesters in a community angeredÂ over police aggression.
In a video shot on a witness’ cellphone, 25-year-old Kajieme PowellÂ isÂ seen pacing while he apparently waits for police officers to arrive outside the store.
Soon, they do, and within a minute Powell wasÂ already dead on the street, shot 12 times by the two responding officers. Many of the shots were fired asÂ the killed manÂ hit the sidewalk. He then lays there, occasionally moving, for another 30 seconds and doesn’t appear to receive any aid from the police who fired the shots.
St. Louis Public RadioÂ saidÂ that the killedÂ was suspected of stealing energy drinks and donuts from the local store.
Witnesses later told news organization “River Front Times”Â that Powell hadÂ mental health problems.
“Both officers fired at least five shots from their weapons,” Robert Addison, a man who says he witnessed the killing, told the paper. “I thought it was excessive. Shooting him multiple times like that? He was going down from the one shot. They opened up on him.”
St. Louis Police Chief Sam DotsonÂ told reportersÂ that the killed 25-year-oldÂ had been acting “erratically” and had even threatedÂ the officers with a knife, yelling “kill me now” from a distance of approximately three to four feet. After the suspect refused to drop the knife, officers fired.
“Officer safety is the No. 1 issue,” the police chief said, defending the shooting. “Every police officer that’s out here has a right to defend themselves.”
“The pace of information released in the Powell shooting is in stark contrast to the Michael Brown case, in which the slow trickle of information released by police sparked protests in Ferguson,” reports Mashable. “On Tuesday, protesters quickly gathered at the scene of the Powell shooting, chanting the same “hands up, don’t shoot!” slogan from the Ferguson demonstrations.”
“I donât think any of us can deny that the tension not only in St. Louis but around the county and the world because of the activities in Ferguson over the last 10 or 12 days certainly has led to us making sure that we got this right and answered as many questions as we could as quickly as we can,” Dotson said on Wednesday, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
âAnd for much of the day, it appeared as though tensions were cooling. Police had cordoned off parts of the downtown area and were allowing people to peacefully protest, and demonstrators marched up and down the streets with an air of positivity. But the peaceful demonstrators, who haveÂ lamented their violent counterpartsÂ keeping the town in the national spotlight, were met by a younger, rowdier group at about midnight. A human chain of peaceful demonstratorsâincluding pastors and community leadersâbriefly kept the more raucous protesters at bay, with the help of a line of police in tactical gear,â reportsÂ Time.