VIDEO: Man Charges Cops With Screwdriver, Contracts Lead Poisoning
Louisville, KY – Bodycam footage of a fatal confrontation between Louisville police officers and a man armed with a screwdriver was released by the department on Monday.
Officers were called to the scene just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, after they received a report of an intoxicated, disorderly man loitering at an abandoned residence, WDRB reported.
Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Third Division Officers Devin Dawes and Matthew Aden responded to the area, where they made contact with 45-year-old Russell Bowman.
The video showed officers as they chased the erratic man a short distance through a residential area.
Officers converged on Bowman outside of a home, where he alternately paced and squared off with police.
Despite officers’ commands, Bowman refused to loosen his grip on the screwdriver in his right hand.
“Drop it!” one officer said repeatedly.
“Kill me,” Bowman responded. “You’re gonna have to.”
Three officers deployed their Tasers in attempts to subdue him, but none were effective, LMPD Major Frank Hardison said, according to WDRB.
“It ain’t working,” Bowman told the officers, as he stood, unfazed.
“Just drop it – we’re not trying to hurt you,” one officer said, while others begged the man to disarm himself.
Suddenly, Bowman focused his attention on Officer Aden, and charged towards him with the screwdriver raised above his head.
Officer Aden and Officer Dawes both opened fire, striking Bowman multiple times as he fell forward onto the grass.
Police immediately began administering lifesaving aid, but Bowman died at the scene, the Courier Journal reported.
"Under policies, officers use force that is reasonable to protect themselves and others," Chief Steve Conrad said during a press conference regarding the incident. "And [they] are justified to use a weapon to defend any person in risk of any serious physical injury."
"Police work is a dangerous job that requires difficult split-second decisions that others will judge and scrutinize for a lifetime," Chief Conrad continued. "Despite this, there are brave men and women willing to put on the uniform and do this job. As officers, we hope we never have to fire a weapon."
Both officers involved in the fatal shooting have received numerous letters of commendation, and have been with the department since 2015, the Courier Journal reported.
Bowman, a former Central State Mental Hospital patient, has been homeless on several occasions.
At the time of the shooting, he was wanted for failing to appear in court on charges of criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, WAVE reported.
His criminal history included offenses such as aggravated assault, domestic violence, public intoxication, robbery, disorderly conduct, and public urination. In 2017, he was arrested for smashing the windows out of a business with a crowbar, according to the Courier Journal.
Bowman was placed on probation for two years, after he was convicted of terroristic threatening in 2015, WAVE reported.
Over the years, he had repeatedly been found not competent to stand trial, resulting in the dismissal of numerous additional charges.
The LMPD Public Integrity Unit was handling the investigation into the officer-involved shooting, Chief Conrad said, according to WDRB.
All of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative reassignment, as per protocol, he added.
Watch LMPD’s encounter with Bowman in the video below: