Police say officers twice tried to tame the man in Center City with shots from a Taser electronic stun gun before he lunged at them with the knife, yelling, “Kill me! Kill me!”
The five officers shot him down in a fusillade. He was the second man killed by police gunfire this year.
Police yesterday disclosed few new details about the 2 a.m. confrontation, which was captured by surveillance cameras outside the Robert N.C. Nix Federal Building on Market Street near Ninth. The assailant, said to be in his 30s, has not been identified.
Experts say police, in their account of what happened, appear to have complied with the law justifying deadly force. Officers are permitted to fire when they believe a suspect presents an “imminent” threat to themselves or bystanders.
“Frankly I’m surprised to hear the Philadelphia police have Tasers, and it’s good to know they have alternatives to deadly force,” said L. George Parry, a former federal and state prosecutor who helped draft the Philadelphia Police Department’s use-of-force guidelines in the 1970s.
“The Philadelphia department usually stays with old standbys.”