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A St. Paul Police officer shot and killed a man who seemingly came out of nowhere to attack the officer in Minnesota. After rear-ending the squad car, the man, wielding a knife, inexplicably charged the officer, who fired in self-defense.
Despite the clear-cut case for self-defense by an officer, several in the local residents protested following the shooting. They called for an end to police shootings, noting another incident where a police officer shot a black man. However, in this case, the recently release officer body cam footage shows the officer had little choice.
“When we make mistakes, the St. Paul Police Department has a proven record of taking responsibility,” said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell in a news conference, reported policeone.com. “However, this is not one of those times.”
St. Paul Police Attacked
The incident began innocently enough. Footage shows officer Steve Mattson get out of his vehicle after being rear-ended. That’s when the suspect, 31-year-old Ronald Davis, ambushed the officer immediately. You can hear the shock in Mattson’s voice as Davis makes his first run with the knife.
Though shocked, Mattson quickly retreats, and warns the man several times to drop the knife. The officer falls to the group and pops back up again, before he finally engages the suspect with his sidearm. The suspect held a flash light in his right hand and a knife in his right hand.
Mattson “had no choice but to defend himself against an immediate and violent attack,” Axtell said, reported policeone.com.
St. Paul Police released footage of the fatal shooting rather quickly, no doubt to quell the civil unrest the shooting inspired. The department clearly wanted to quickly exonerate Mattson, while at the same time recognize the complicated history between police and the black community nationwide.
“While I recognize the trauma that has been caused by a history of policing practices throughout our country that has disproportionately affected communities of color, I also cannot stand by — I simply can’t sleep at night — knowing that a good officer, and all our officers, are being assailed by people who don’t have all the facts,” Axtell said, reported policeone.com.