It’s incidents like these that leave me astounded that not every police and sheriff’s department provides body cams to its officers. A week ago, a St. Paul police officer shot and killed Ronald Davis, who the officer said had attacked him after Davis rammed the officer’s patrol car. Protesters took to the streets to call for justice, though dispatch audio indicated the officer shouting “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” It was poised to be another touchpoint for a story about a black man being killed by a police officer, and several people claimed they didn’t believe the official story that Davis had a knife.
The video was released Tuesday, and it’s dramatic. The officer gets out of his car after he’s struck, and is immediately set upon by Davis. The video shows Davis attacking the officer, knife in hand, knocking him to the ground. The officer gets up and tries to get away, with Davis continuing to pursue him. The officer shouts for him to drop the knife, and ultimately fires when he fails to comply. The video shows that the officer had a grave reason to fear for his safety, and conclusively shows that his actions were justified. Why Davis attacked him is unclear, and the loss of life is certainly a tragedy, but the video gives a lot more insight into what happened, and prevents a false narrative from going any further. I would urge all law enforcement agencies to follow this practice, and supply body cams and other recording devices for officers.
You can watch the video but are forewarned that it is violent and contains mature content:
Still no word on the official investigation.
It has been called to my attention that a petition has been started to ask Pam Bondi and the Attorney General’s office to investigate a possible cover up. Crimcourts has long advocated having the case investigated by an outside agency, if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
The petition is here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/investigate-the-officer-involved-shooting-of-tommy
Crimcourts coverage: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/?s=kollman
Deputies Trestka and Cote have been cleared by the State Attorney’s Office for the shooting of Carlos Charles last June. According to reports, Charles escaped an attempted arrest, tied up deputy Cote, and struggled with deputy Trestka’s gun, which discharged. Apparently deputy Cote was able to free himself, and shot Charles as he struggled over the firearm with Trestka. Originally it was reported that one of the deputies was injured, but it’s unclear if he was struck by a bullet or received other injuries. The article indicates that the State Attorney’s office conducted an investigation, though it doesn’t make clear if it was their own investigation, or if they merely reviewed another agency’s investigation. LCSO generally handles most investigations themselves, and turns them over to the SAO for review. The facts as laid out in the report certainly suggest that the shooting was justified.
This story is all the more relevant now as the Tommy Kollman shooting drags on, well into its third month at this point. If that case proves to be as complicated, or more complicated than this one, it could be many months before details are released in that shooting. I urge LCSO to hand that over for outside investigation, if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
It’s not unusual for a death investigation involving law enforcement to take several weeks. I have heard a lot of rumors, but most of it still speculative. I have certainly heard enough to know that there was a lot more going on than a routine traffic stop: obviously. I still encourage authorities to have it reviewed by an outside agency. One rumor that has persisted is that the deputy who was involved int he shooting, was the deputy who had arrested him a few weeks prior. Those charges were dropped a few days before the shooting. So far, nothing has been confirmed, and everyone has to be patient.