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Caught on cam: Innocent man shot dead by police officer who mistook marker pen for knife

Tragedy strikes as an innocent man is fatally shot by a police officer who mistook a marker pen for a knife.

Edited By : Mayank Kasyap | Updated: Aug 19, 2023 18:49 IST
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Screengrab of video showing the fatal shooting incident in Denver. (Photo Credit: Youtube/@DenverPoliceDept)
Screengrab of video showing the fatal shooting incident in Denver. (Photo Credit: Youtube/@DenverPoliceDept)

Denver: The United States witnessed a heart-wrenching tragedy as an innocent man, Brandon Cole, 36, lost his life at the hands of a police officer who mistakenly believed he was armed with a knife. The shocking incident, captured in graphic body camera footage released by the Denver Police Department, has sparked outrage and questions about the use of force.

A deadly misinterpretation

On August 5, a 911 call was made to Denver police reporting a domestic violence incident involving Mr. Cole, his wife, and his teenage son. The call described a distressing situation, where a neighbor alleged that Mr. Cole was pursuing his son after pushing his wife out of her wheelchair. However, the incident took a tragic turn when responding officers misread the situation.

Unveiling the tragic scene

The body cam footage reveals a tense confrontation. Mr. Cole’s wife is seen sitting on the street next to a wheelchair, begging officers not to use force on her husband. The video captures the moment when Mr. Cole, clearly agitated, moves toward an officer, shouting “Let’s go.” Despite attempts to use a stun gun, the officer fails to immobilize Mr. Cole.

Fatal shots fired in the blink of an eye

As the situation escalates, the video captures the heartbreaking moment when Mr. Cole, holding what appears to be a marker pen, is fatally shot by an officer. The mistaken belief that he was wielding a knife led to the officer firing two shots in quick succession. The marker pen falls to the ground as Mr. Cole collapses.

Grief and investigation

Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas expressed deep sorrow, labeling the incident a “tremendous tragedy.” He defended the officer’s actions, explaining that the proximity of Mr. Cole to the officer created a chaotic and confusing scene. However, Chief Thomas also affirmed that the district attorney will assess the legality of the shooting and determine whether the officer should face criminal charges.

Seeking answers

As the heartrending incident continues to spark debates about police procedures and the use of force, the city and the nation are left mourning the loss of an innocent life. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the complex challenges faced by law enforcement in high-pressure situations, and the pressing need for comprehensive reviews of protocols to prevent future tragedies.

First published on: Aug 19, 2023 06:49 PM IST

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