Died: August 19, 2014
Age at death: 25
Cause of death: Police Shooting
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
Kajieme Powell was an autistic man who walked into a convenience store, picked up two energy drinks, and walked out without paying. Then he walked back inside, picked up a pastry, and walked back out, making no effort to hide his actions. A bystander with a cell phone camera videotaped what happened next:
Kajieme puts the energy drinks down on the curb and begins wandering randomly around the sidewalk, seemingly without a destination. He's walking slowly, obviously not aggressive, and not trying to escape the scene of the crime. Perhaps he's unaware he's just committed a crime, or he's trying to figure out what to do next.
The police pull up. Kajieme has left the energy drinks on the curb and is still walking aimlessly. He turns to walk away, perhaps frightened of the police. The police start shouting rapidly at him. Kajieme steps up onto a low wall, still moving slowly and with no detectable intent to attack. He's several meters away when the police start shooting--rapid fire, emptying their guns. Kajieme collapses, and they make no attempt to perform first aid. Instead, they put handcuffs on him. The bystander says, "He's dead... he's already dead. They could have tased this man."
Kajieme was carrying a Swiss army knife. He died at the scene. The officers had tasers, but chose not to use them.
Kajieme Powell Died Because Police Have Become America’s Mental-Health Workers
Ferguson failures contrast with St. Louis shooting response
Reflections on Ferguson: Lancaster pastor returns with message of hope for change