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Just released dramatic body-cam footage depicting a Jacksonville, Florida, woman lunging at officers with a knife apparently underscores the reasoning that led authorities to conclude that the encounter was a justifiable police shooting.
Arriving on the scene to back up Officer Elizabeth Mechling, Sgt. J. C. Nobles, reportedly shot the suspect four times after she appeared to disregard commands to put the knife down and rush toward him.
See the videos embedded below containing the footage released by the state’s attorney’s office to get a sense of what occurred outside the residence.
The suspect, identified by local media as Leah Baker, 29, initially stormed out of her front door and stabbed Officer Mechling who knocked on the door after being dispatched to a call about a roommate dispute.
“I’ve just been f****** stabbed,” Mechling radioed to the 911 dispatch center.
Baker at first appears to comply with a command to drop the knife.
Refusing commands to get on the ground, however, Baker picked it up again.
Officer Mechling, who had backed away from the suspect, fired two shots, but missed. “Shots fired,” she reported to the dispatcher.
According to News4Jax, the struggle continued after Sgt. Nobles open fire in the incident that occurred on the evening of April 11, 2020.
“While Baker is still on the ground, a police K-9 grabs hold of her leg and she begins punching the dog. An officer can be heard yelling ‘stop hitting my dog,’ and then another officer rushes in and gets the knife away from Baker. The K-9 drags Baker a short distance into the street, officers handcuff her and paramedics arrive to treat her. She died at the hospital.”
Baker’s family has indicated that she suffered from mental health issues. Baker’s mom made it clear that she doesn’t condone her daughter’s actions, but implied that Florida hospitals have not been helpful in providing care for her daughter, who leaves behind a nine-year-old daughter of her own.
Photo of the knife that the suspect possessed. pic.twitter.com/h7F0S9eL3j
— Jax Sheriff’s Office (@JSOPIO) April 13, 2020
Prosecutors in Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties in the Jacksonville area have implemented a new policy that allows the release of body-cam footage in any officer-involved shooting within 30 days unless it would unfairly influence a pending case.
According to Action News Jax, the suspect had in the past been temporarily detained for mental health reasons under a 1971 Florida law known as the Baker Act and also was previously arrested for domestic violence.
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