Minnesota Police Chief Say Cop Had ‘No Choice’ But to Kill Knife-Wielding Man, Activists Say Otherwise

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Recently released body cam video shows the moment a Minnesota officer was forced to defend himself against a suspect who charged at him with a knife.

The 60-second clip, released by the St. Paul Police Department this week, shows 31-year-old Ronald Davis running toward the officer wielding a large knife seconds before he’s shot dead.

Ronald Davis Shooting
Ronald Davis, 31, was shot and killed Sept. 15 after charging at an officer with a knife. (Photo: St. Paul Police / video screenshot)

As reported by CBS Minnesota, the incident occurred at a city intersection Sept. 15 when authorities said Davis rear-ended Officer Steven Mattson‘s patrol car, then threatened him with a knife.

The deadly shooting sparked outrage among local activists, who questioned authorities’ narrative of the incident. St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell has defended Mattson’s actions, however, saying the officer had “no choice but to defend himself.”

“While I recognize the trauma that’s been caused by a history of policing practices throughout our country, that have disproportionately affected communities of color, I cannot stand by –- I simply can’t sleep at night –- knowing that a good officer, and all of our officers are being assailed by people who don’t have the facts,” Axtell said after releasing the video.

The footage begins with Mattson getting rear-ended by the suspect. As he steps out of his cruiser, Davis is seen lunging at the officer with a knife in hand.

“Get the f–k… Get away from me,” the officer is heard shouting. “Drop the knife. Drop the f—king knife.”

Davis ignores Mattson’s commands, however, and continues chasing across the street. The cop gives one final warning before firing at least two shots at the suspect, killing him.

“Shots fired. F–k!” Mattson exclaims before running back to his cruiser to request back up.

The video did little to quell speculation and concerns among activists who protested the shooting. They’re now demanding an independent investigation into the shooting, saying their stance on the matter in unchanged.

“The video footage that was released actually leaves us with more questions than answers regarding the circumstances that led to Ronald K. Davis being shot by police,” activist Nekima Levy Armstrong told CBS Minnesota, adding, “We don’t see the full scope of what happened.”

On Tuesday, Axtel said he hoped the release of the video would help in “moving forward together with our entire community and in good faith to achieve the outcomes that we all desire.”

The incident remains under investigation.

Watch more in the video below.

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