A Duluth police officer is justified in the shooting death of a teenager. Jeffrey Keast shot and killed Joseph Carl, 17, in Norton Park August 5.
Wednesday, Keast was cleared of any wrongdoing as video of the incident was made public.
Dash cam video shows Carl attacking officer Jeffrey Keast's patrol car the night of August fifth.
Keast is heard saying, "He's hitting my squad car with a bat."
Moments later, Carl's bat shatters the driver's side window, inches from Keast's head. A single shot from Keast's gun. Fired as Carl had the bat cocked, ready to swing again. Evidenced by the location of the gunshot wound, underneath Carl's left armpit.
"This is a deadly force situation," said Police Chief Gordon Ramsay at Wednesday's press conference. "This is what we train for. And he did what was appropriate."
Ramsay explains how Carl was earlier dropped off at home by Keast, when the 17 year old was caught drinking.
"This is a scenario officers deal with nightly. There was nothing unusual to this point."
But, not long after, a series of 911 calls came in, describing smashing. Keast responded, finding the young man he dropped off earlier in the night. Before ultimately firing, Keast attempted to de–escalate the situation.
Explains Ramsay, "He actually backs up from the time of initial contact with Carl, 210 feet before he sideswipes a jeep and can't move."
One question was why Keast didn't simply slide out of the way of the bat. But, looking inside the cruiser, he's tightly crammed in with a variety of equipment. He really had no where to go.
"Especially," says Ramsay, "with as quickly as this is unfolding."
And, after the shooting, keast administers cpr, desperately trying to save the young man he'd just shot. You can hear officer Keast telling him, "hang in there, partner."
Ramsay says 60 percent of officers who take a life while on duty either don't return or leave police work within five years. Officer Keast returns to patrol on Friday.
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