Another tragedy happened last week between an encounter with a black man wielding a knife and police officers. As usual, the police did not want to harm the man, but the man wouldn’t listen to reason. The cops did not wake up that day wondering how they could hunt down another black man in America. In fact, the officers involved went out of their way to try to talk the man down from getting himself killed, but to avail. This is yet another in a series of sad stories with a lesson in it for how to deal with police who are only doing their job and who want to make it home to their families after their shift.
During the body camera video footage that was released, you can hear a DeKalb County police sergeant trying to reason with the man.
“I’m begging you,” the sergeant said to the man through a closed door. The man was brandishing a knife when officers arrived on the scene after a call was made to police about a reported burglar, WXIA-TV said.
“You’re a black man. I’m a black man. You don’t have to die today. I don’t want you to die today.” Any reasonable person of sound mind would have taken in the officer’s words and deescalated.
The officers pleaded with 35-year-old Matthew Williams no less than 47 times to drop the knife he was holding after lunging at one of them, according to the outlet.
No matter how much time they spent working with him, no matter how many times they begged him to put down the knife, it was not going to happen. Williams once again lunged at the cops, then shots were fired, and Williams was dead.
In the end, it was learned that Williams actually lived at the property. It’s not like the cops went to the house knowing he belonged there.
When police arrived at the house, a woman was heard on the body camera footage telling officers “our neighbors that lived there moved out, and the owner has vacated the home to remodel it, so nobody is supposed to be there,” WXIA reported.
The officers then came across Williams at the house.
“Hey, what’s up, man? What you doin’ around here? You live here?” one officer is heard asking him, the station said. “If you don’t live here, man, I’m just kindly asking you just to leave the property, all right?”
The body camera video shows Williams as he walks down the steps toward the police.
That’s when police said Williams lunged at one of the officers with what they described as a blue ceramic knife, WXIA said. Unfortunately, the station edited out the part of the video where Williams lunges at the officer.
One of the cops fired a single shot and missed. Williams then fled into some trees just off from the house. The officer said he believed he may have hit Williams in the shoulder.
“Drop the knife, man!” an officer shouts into the woods.
“Drop the weapon! Drop it!” another officer yells out.
“We will shoot, man, all right? We gave you ample warnings, all right?” an officer said to Williams.
According to the station, the video shows Williams went out of view and then made it back into the house. The police then went back to the front door.
“Please come out for us, boss man. What’s the problem? How can I help you?” said an officer who identified himself as Sergeant Perry with the DeKalb Police Department.
An officer is then seen kicking in the front door which was then closed again by Williams inside the house.
“I’m begging you,” the sergeant pleaded with Williams. “You’re a black man. I’m a black man. You don’t have to die today. I don’t want you to die today.”
The station said during the two-minute exchange, Williams said to the police, “I’m defending my property.”
The outlet said Perry responded, “Sir, I need you to put the knife down.”
“Let me see the knife drop,” the sergeant followed up, WXIA said. “I can get you an ambulance out here. We can talk about this.”
“I’m defending my property,” Williams said again.
After another minute, police told the station, Williams lunged at them again with the knife just as one officer was heard saying “we’re here to help you” then three gunshots were heard.
In the video, the door closed again, and officers backed away and called for a SWAT team. The man’s body was recovered from the house about an hour later, the station said.
DeKalb County Police Chief Mirtha Ramos told WXIA that Williams did live in the house, but that police didn’t know that at the time of the 911 call that was made by a neighbor who said someone was in the house who didn’t belong there.
“The police will respond to what they know at that moment,” Ramos told the station. “And we don’t what they knew at that moment besides what we see on the body cam footage.” The chief told WXIA that there are currently two investigations over the incident.
Some of Williams’ family members, who were rightfully upset, said they believe he was going through a mental health episode at the time police confronted him. One family member told the station of Matthew, “He was in a sanctuary of his own home, in his safe space. They kicked the door down, he kept repeatedly telling them this is my house.”
From what the officers said to Williams on video, they told him they were there to help him. He wasn’t listening. This is another example of someone not obeying a lawful command by police. This was one of the numerous types of tragic scenarios that police have to deal with every day in America. The video is clear. Those officers did everything they could to talk Williams down. He didn’t listen. The worst that would have happened if he complied with their orders is he would eventually be proven in the right because he did live there, at least at one time. Remember, the neighbors told police that the people who lived there had moved out and that the owner was remodeling it. Maybe Williams believed he still lived there. Either way, it’s sad what happened, but you can’t blame the police for defending themselves from being stabbed, especially after the lengths they went to reasoning with the man.
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Rich is syndicated opinion columnist for David Harris Jr. and owner of Maga-Chat.com. He writes about politics, culture, liberty and faith.
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