Jere Downs and Phillip M. Bailey, USA Today, June 14, 2015
Moving to quell criticism of the fatal shooting of a black man by a Louisville Metro Police officer a day earlier, Police Chief Steve Conrad on Sunday released video of the incident and identified the officer involved.
Conrad said Officer Nathan Blanford acted in self-defense when he shot Deng Manyoun, whom the chief said had a “dangerous instrument.”
The surveillance video taken from the Smoker’s Smoke Shop shows Manyoun stumbling across the street as Blanford pulls up in his squad car.
It shows the officer getting out of the car and talking to Manyoun, who walks out of the frame but re-emerges with a flagpole and swings it down near Blanford, striking the squad car.
Blanford, who drew his revolver as he appeared to watch Manyoun’s actions off camera, then fires his weapon and Manyoun falls to the sidewalk outside the shop, near the intersection.
Blanford, 40, who is white and has been with the department since 2005 remains on paid administrative leave pending an investigation of the shooting, police said.
Police said Manyoun, 35, was shot twice. Deputy Jefferson County Coroner Robert D. Jones said Manyoun died of gunshot wounds at University of Louisville Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3 p.m.
Conrad said it was his understanding that Manyoun did not speak or understand English. But he defended Blanford’s actions, saying the officer did not appear to violate department procedures.
“I believe looking at the video, he (Blanford) did not have the opportunity to transition to another option,” Conrad said. “It would appear to me based on my viewing of the video that he felt threatened, that his life was in danger; there’s a man swinging an 8-foot metal pole at him. You see in the video he’s coming down in what I would describe as a sledgehammer-like motion towards the officer.”
Meanwhile, activists who met Sunday afternoon to discuss the incident questioned Blanford’s use of force.
Organizer Chanelle Helm said she and others want to know why Blanford “did not use other weapons on his belt,” such as “a Taser, mace or his baton.”