Before the gun, what options do police have? - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Before the gun, what options do police have?

As the public began to digest the body cam video LMPD released, some wondered what other options there are for officers before the gun. (Source: LMPD) As the public began to digest the body cam video LMPD released, some wondered what other options there are for officers before the gun. (Source: LMPD)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Sunday evening, two Louisville Metro Police officers -- Matthew Aden and Devin Dawes -- shot and killed 45-year-old Russell Bowman after he lunged at Aden with a screwdriver in his hand.

Police were called to Textile Ave in the Pleasure Ridge Park neighborhood Sunday to investigate a man dispatchers called "intoxicated and disorderly."

There, police were met with Bowman, who eventually led police to a driveway in the 4600 block of Crawford Avenue, where he confronted them with a screwdriver.

Police tried to tase Bowman several times before he lunged at Officer Aden. The moment Bowman lunged, both Aden and Dawes fired their service weapons, killing Bowman.

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Monday night, WAVE 3 News got to learn more about Matthew Bowman.

Bowman's brother declined an on-camera interview, but explained his brother was likely under the influence of drugs. He said the drugs made him unrecognizable and unpredictable -- a combination that proved to be deadly.

LMPD released the body camera footage from both officer Aden and Dawes. In the video, it's clear both officers attempted to talk Bowman down. They both told Bowman more than 24 times to stop or drop his weapon.

WAVE 3 News Safety and Security expert DeShawn Johnson said it's rare to see so many opportunities given before fatal shots are fired.

"The subject still approached the officers in a threatening manner," Johnson said, watching the video.

In the video, it's clear that before officers opted for their lethal weapon, they attempted to tase Bowman unsuccessfully. Johnson said he's not surprised because tasers are often unreliable.

"In order for the taser to be effective you have to have the prong -- it has to be inside of the body," Johnson said.

Some are wondering what other options there are for officers before the gun.

As former law enforcement officers, both Johnson and Councilman David James agree that hand-to-hand combat to wrestle the screwdriver out of Bowman's hand was not an option.

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"Their confidence level in their hand-to-hand techniques may not be at a high level where they could engage in that and survive that situation," James said.

"You're taught hand-to-hand combat, but you're also taught if a suspect is holding a weapon, would you want to engage in hand-to-hand combat with a weapon?" Johnson said. "First of all, these officers have no idea who this person is."

Dawes and Aden have both been put on administrative reassignment pending outcomes of the Public Integrity Unit's investigation.

Bowman's brother said Monday afternoon that he wants to take this opportunity to plead for more resources for those who are battling drug addiction.

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