St. Paul Police Body Cam Video Shows Officer Being Attacked
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - A body cam video released today by the St. Paul Police Department shows a man with a knife lunging at an officer after crashing into his squad car.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell made the video public a little over a week after the fatal officer-involved shooting occurred on September 15th. The camera recorded Officer Stephen Mattson exiting his damaged squad car and almost immediately 31-year-old Ronald Davis is seen entering the screen holding an object that was later confirmed to be a knife and lunging at the officer. Officer Mattson is heard on the recording repeatedly ordering the man to drop the knife before he opened fire and fatally wounded Davis. The entire video runs for only 13 seconds. (WARNING-EXTREME VIOLENCE)
Chief Axtell says the video shows "an officer who had no choice but to defend himself against an immediate and violent attack." He went on to say that his heart goes out to the family of Mr. Davis and that the only solace he takes from the incident is that the officer was not seriously injured or killed.
Axtell stated his hope that quickly releasing the video will allow for a mature discussion about how to avoid such tragedies in the future without "having to wade through the waters of irresponsible accusations of murder, calculated cries of injustice, and threats made against an officer." He also added that he recognizes the trauma caused by a history of policing practices that have disproportionately affected communities of color, but he cannot stand by "knowing that a good officer, and all of our officers, are being assailed by people who do not have the facts."
There have been a series of protests in the aftermath of the deadly officer-involved shooting organized by the man's family, Black Lives Matter, and other community groups in St. Paul.