Earlier this month, a Denver police officer shot and killed 36-year-old Brandon Cole, who was thought to be armed with a deadly weapon—only it turned out to be a marker.
According to NBC News, the officer who fatally shot Cole has not been identified, but footage from her body-worn camera shows what immediately led up to the shooting, which occurred on Aug. 5 just before 8 p.m. in the 2300 block of West Cedar Avenue.
The Denver Post reported that the incident began after a neighbor called 911 to report a possible domestic violence incident claiming they think they saw Cole push his wife out of a wheelchair and then go after his teenage son.
When officers arrived, the woman immediately told one of them, “Don’t, don’t pull your gun out on my husband, please,” the body camera footage shows.
Cole took an “aggressive stance” and held the marker “in a threatening manner,” Clark said per The Post and one of the officers radioed that he was armed with a knife.
“Let’s go,” he shouted while walking toward toward one officer, who retreated and then fired a Taser at him. Authorities said the less lethal wepon did not work and later shots rang out.
For what it’s worth, the video, which was released Monday, does show Cole charging directly at the officer, who waited until he got within a few feet of her before she fired the two shots that killed him.
“You can see in the video that when she finally deploys her duty weapon, the person is so close to her that the view of the young child and other person are not even clear to her,” Police Chief Ron Thomas said during a news conference Monday. “Certainly that was a consideration, but there was not much time to act before she was overrun by that individual.”
Still, it’s tragic that a Black man who was, as it turned out, unarmed was shot and killed in front of his family before any real details about what was going on, including Cole’s mental health status, could be determined. One could argue that even if Cole had a knife, which he didn’t, a trained police officer with a gun had more options than to shoot to kill.
At any rate, an investigation into the shooting has been launched and Denver District Attorney Beth McCann will determine whether the officer, who Thomas said has been with the department since 2019, acted lawfully when she shot Cole.
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