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VIDEO: Knife Up, Don’t Shoot?

VIDEO: Knife Up, Don’t Shoot?

Bodycam shows “racist murder” of Ronald Davis was self-defense.

This past September 17, a white Saint Paul, MN, police officer shot and killed Ronald Davis, a black male. Within five days, organized protests took place against police brutality, complete with professionally printed signs and “Stop Killing People of Color” banners.

This is how a “news” (actually propaganda) source, that self-identifies as focusing on “the People’s Struggle,” described the shooting:

31-year-old Ronald Davis was a father, recently married, and had just graduated school. After allegedly bumping his vehicle into the back of a cop car, he stepped out of his vehicle and Mattson gunned him down.

Sounds pretty bad, right? A black man killed by a white cop over a fender-bender!

Wondering what really happened that led to Ronald Davis’ death at the hands of a police officer? Interested in seeing the body cam video? Stand by!

So, here’s the Black Lives Matter narrative of this shooting by police:

Ronald Davis, a black male described as “a very respectful, kind person” who “wasn’t an aggressive person,” maybe, possibly, it’s merely alleged, “bumped” into the back of a cop car, and in response was “murdered” by a white police officer.

Care to guess how much of that narrative reflects reality? At least in the context of whether that officer’s use of deadly force was legally justified.

Pretty much none of it, as you might have guessed.

First, let’s consider the “alleged bumping” of the cop’s vehicle. Here’s what the front of the car driven by Ronald Davis looked like immediately after this “bump:”

Folks, that is one heck of an “alleged bump.”

And that’s probably the least important lie on the false narrative of the purported “murder” of Davis at the hands of the police.

That claim that Davis was a “very respectful,” “kind,” and “non-aggressive” person? In case you’re wondering, that description is intended to be of this person:

Yep, that’s a knife in Davis’ right hand, and the officer’s dropped flashlight in his left, as he continues aggressively charging at the officer.

How can someone describe Davis as a “very respectful” “kind” “non-aggressive” person? He smashes his car into a police vehicle and immediately rushes at the officer with a raised knife. He continues his deadly force attack despite orders to desist. He then causes that officer to fall to the ground, and ultimately compels that officer—who has reportedly been on the job less than a year—to shoot and kill him?

Meet the Ronald Davis that this St. Paul, MN, police officer met on September 17, 2019, as captured on body camera (note: there is some initial silence when the body cam is on mute, and also some profanity):

Does it still look like a “racist police murder of a person of color “event?

I think not.

To paraphrase Professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame, it would appear that the demand for “racist police murders of people of color” vastly exceeds the supply, or claims of such events would not almost invariably prove to be nothing of the sort.

An open question: Where, exactly, are all the demonstrably unlawful police murders of “people of color” in which the officer is not held legally accountable?

Frankly, the shooting of Ronald Davis goes far beyond even a suicide-by-cop event. It’s simply an attempt to murder a police officer, for reasons unknown and irrelevant. Charge at a police officer with a raised knife in a vicious sustained attack, or do the same to any innocent armed citizen, and getting shot and killed should be a reasonably expected outcome.

And that’s true no matter how often propagandists after the fact choose to describe such an attacker as a “very respectful” “kind” “non-aggressive” person.

It’s perhaps worth asking ourselves, why? Not why was Ronald Davis killed by a police officer—the reason for that is obvious–but rather why are there organized groups that are determined to falsely characterize such straightforward acts of self-defense as the conduct of a racist police force determined to murder people of color?

Cui bono? Who benefits?

The answer that that question is certainly not society generally.

I suggest that the victim here is not the murderous aggressor Ronald Davis. The primary victim is the rookie police officer attacked by Davis. The secondary victim is civilized society generally, whose public safety is routinely sacrificed on the basis of these false narratives of a purportedly racist American society.

Finally, I can’t help but share a headline from the New York Times for an article that somehow manages to not observe that this officer’s body cam video has utterly blown the “racist police killing of Ronald Davis” narrative completely out of the water:

Activists Unconvinced by St. Paul Bodycam Video

Never change, NYT. Never. Change. #eyeroll

TODAY! New Episode: “Calling the Shots”

Today is Wednesday, meaning it’s time for another live episode of my self-defense law show “Calling the Shots” in which I analyze video footage of use-of-force events. The show airs live every Wednesday (including today!) at 3 PM Pacific time and is hosted on the Alien Gear Holsters Facebook page:

By the way, if you’re aware of a use-of-force video you’d like us to consider for analysis on this or a future show, just email a link to the video to me at: [email protected], and put “CTS” or “Calling the Shots” in the subject line.

See you at today’s show!

And remember:

You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.

Know the law so you’re hard to convict.


Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
Law of Self Defense CONSULT Program

[Featured image is a screen capture from the officer’s body camera footage.]


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well done, officer !!! thank you and your colleagues throughout this country that risk your lives to keep us safe

    That is a terrifying video. The officer is lucky to be alive.

    The attacker appears to be on some sort of drug. Nothing prompted that attack.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to EBL. | September 25, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      There was a movie in the 80s, Logans Run, where the police had incendiary bullets with a fireworks display after they hit someone. We could probably have a thin lead jacked covering a sodium metal core, which would act similar to what the movie showed. I wonder if they might help make criminals be more cautious about breaking the law?

      pst314 in reply to EBL. | September 25, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      The attacker might not have been on drugs. Might simply be a violent person.
      I wonder what we will eventually learn about his criminal background. Assaults? Robberies?

Clearly, Ronald Davis was just an innocent, helpful citizen who was trying to return the officer’s knife and flashlight to him. The officer dropped his knife out his car window, Davis saw this and picked up the knife, then was in hot but a bit overzealous pursuit of the officer, accidentally bumping into the officer’s car a little too hard in his eagerness. Excited to have caught up to the officer, Davis exited his vehicle and rushed forward, holding the officer’s knife in his hand, eager to return it to the rightful owner. Even though Davis clearly said, “Here, take your knife”, multiple times, the officer misunderstood Davis’ intentions, and shot him. A tragic but simple misunderstanding.

“31-year-old Ronald Davis was a father, recently married, and had just graduated school”

Had just “turned his life around,” becoming a “very respectful,” “kind,” and “non-aggressive” person, headed in the right direction, making all the right decisions,


wham, bam, some honky, racist cop just decided, on a whim, to gun him down, for no reason whatsoever.

The activists weren’t convinced by the video. They think the officer provoked Davis, perhaps by not getting his patrol vehicle out of the way before Davis smashed into it?

In the first pic in Branca’s post, notice how far Officer Davis had retreated to the other side of the street prior to firing his weapon, when he had no legal duty to do so.

    * Officer Mattson.

    I think the retreat was purely tactical.

    One tactical consideration: did the officer fail to go to Condition Red because he did not check his sideview mirror before exiting the vehicle? Or did the deceased hide the knife and try to appear calm and non-threatening until the officer exited?

    That bit isn’t shown by the video, but would be instructive for others. (And would help in any mens rea determination if the deceased were not the deceased.)

“The activists weren’t convinced by the video.”

Black Lies Matter. Lies, and nothing but lies is what it’s always been about for these ‘activists.’ Follow the money.

A bump … Seriously … If the airbags deployed its totaled

I will be interested to know the results of the toxicology tests performed during the autopsy only because it would offer a glimmer of hope in understanding as to what could possess someone to strike a police car with their vehicle and then bull rush an armed officer with only a knife. To the rookie police officer, well done and may you find peace and accept the necessity of your actions. To Professor Branca, again we thank you for bringing forth the facts and your analysis.

    healthguyfsu in reply to rangered. | September 25, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Toxicology tests aren’t always conclusive on an exsanguinated corpse due to gsw. Pretty clear from this video he is now a corpse, and is not and never was a victim.

This is why body cams are so important. They are much more likely to show that a cop is working professionally than to show misconduct. In a case like this one, the body cam is crucial. If Darren Wilson had been wearing one, things would have been different in Ferguson.

I wonder if he deliberately hit the cop car

Seems someone said the Cops acted stupidly and we ended up with Black lies matter.

play stupid games, win stupid prizes…

i wonder what the toxicology report will show was in his blood stream?

besides blood, copper and lead, that is.

When the facts of a police shooting prove contrary/inconvenient to the Dhimmi-crat Narrative, the Dhimmis predictably and flippantly dispense with the facts and stick to the Narrative (e.g., “All cops are racist; all people ‘of color’ who have interactions with said cops, are victims”).

It’s the Dhimmis’ total lack of honesty and objectivity in appraising many of these controversial shootings (e.g., Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, etc.), and, their total inability to ever concede any wrongful behavior and foolish, willfully-made choices on the part of the decedents, as well as their indifference to widely-available statistics on criminality and police shootings (showing that blacks make up a larger proportion of the criminal population, relative to their overall population numbers, and, proving that the slanderous allegation that there is an ‘epidemic’ of officer shootings of innocent black youth is a complete and vicious fiction) that eviscerates any modicum of credibility amongst these people. They cannot be taken seriously, and, they deserve no attention and no deference.

    tom_swift in reply to guyjones. | September 25, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    They cannot be taken seriously, and, they deserve no attention and no deference.

    They’ll get it anyway. They can always rely on white officialdom to cave. At the least somebody will be given a big pot of money, with any luck at all something in the millions; and at best, they can get some riots, and everybody gets a free TV. Crime pays when your “community” consists of a pampered pigmentation.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to guyjones. | September 25, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Blacks have over a seven fold higher per capita crime rate than average, and they are 18 times more likely to murder a police officer. Also, that is for both male and females, while black males account for most of black crime. Police have very good reason to be ready to shoot a black male. I wish this was nat the case, but that is the way things are now. I see no solution to this problem for a long time.

Obama built that.

I was a beat cop for a few years and I have never seen a more justified shoot. I am frankly shocked that my brother officer escaped injury. That guy on on top of him in a flash.

Here’s the RIDICULOUS, logic and reality-defying statement by the “Anti Police Brutality Coalition”

“It is unclear from the limited body camera footage what types of de-escalation tactics were used by Officer Mattson, why he fell to the ground, why his flashlight fell, and whether he attempted to use nonlethal force before using deadly force against Ronald Davis,” the coalition wrote in the release. “The public also has a right to demand an independent investigation in police shooting cases in Minnesota, given the relative frequency within which they have been occurring the disproportionate rate of Black men and other men of color being killed by police. Beyond that, there have been allegations of corruption within the St. Paul Police Department and the BCA for many years and those concerns have not been taken seriously by Governor Walz or other elected officials.”

Diversity breeds adversity, certainly. So does wielding a scalpel and threatening to abort someone. #SelfDefense

Neither of the videos is working or visible. Got links to where they can be viewed?

    Both videos work fine for me in a variety of browsers, including in incognito/private versions of those browsers. Also, yours is the first complaint that the videos would not play.

    Perhaps try some different combination of OS/platform/browser?

    Attorney Andrew F. Branca
    Law of Self Defense LLC

Tonight when I go to bed I am going to put myself to sleep imagining a world where all the disturbed people like this are instead finishing their PhDs in nuclear engineering, materials science and fluid dynamics and are developing a flight-ready gas core nuclear thermal rocket coupled with a third generation aerospike thrust system. I think I’d rather live in that world than this one.

Bang, bang, another Trayvon goes down. Thank you, officer.

The FBI supposedly use 21 feet as the distance that they use their gun to disable an attacker with a knife. It is obvious why from this video. The cop was just getting out of his car with no expectation of violent conflict when this guy charged him. I am still amazed at the fact that he is alive. But the 21 feet rule is based on a person with his gun holstered and having enough time to react to a charging knife wielder. I don’t think it is enough! The attacker was enraged and without knowing why, any explanation for this attack is not going to happen.

    I was going to use the 15 Foot Rule, but 21 works. This body cam footage is Exhibit #1 in why that rule exists.

    But, the officer (despite being obstructed by his vehicle door) did what he was supposed to do and tried to gain distance. It worked well enough to keep him from lethal contact with the knife. And it worked well enough to give him time to conduct a response to the threat.

    Kudos, officer. I hope this is the worst you ever encounter.

Voice_of_Reason | September 26, 2019 at 6:41 am

i cannot recall an ACTUAL unjustified police shooting of a black man since 2015, when Slager shot Scott.

the vast majority are race-baiting hoaxes where the”victim” was attacking the cops.

if you attack a cop, getting shot is a clearly foreseeable outcome.

    the jury didn’t think so. in his first state trial they did not reach a verdict. it ended in a hung jury. it’s likely he plead guilty to the fed crime because obama and co. threatened to bleed him dry. maybe he didn’t want to bankrupt his wife and new baby.
    remember, there was much of that encounter we did not see. and we were never told why the deceased run to begin with.

There are to very importnt things to take away from this incident.

The first is that the attacker was poorly trained or untrained. A trained attacker would have closed with his victim, locked him up with his body and free hand and stabbed him, repeatedly. This clown runs up and begins a wild, slashing attack. The officer did what he was supposed to do, get out of the way, create distance as you draw your weapon and then engage the target. Telling the attacker to stay away from you and/or drop his weapon is always a nice touch.

The second thing is to arm yourself, in public, and train to defend against attack. The victim here could just as easily have been a suburban housewife, a deliveryman or an attorney. It was fortunate that it was a LEO, who was armed and trained [more or less] to defend himself.

    MajorWood in reply to Mac45. | September 26, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    The first 98% of self-defense does not involve a gun. It is situational awareness. I have friends who are Viet-nam era Seals and they are still walking point.

    If we don’t hear any more reporting on this we can likely assume that it is all damning evidence against the dead perp.

I think the officer’s last word on the video pretty much says it all.

As said in the insurance industry, with respect to the perp, better dead than maimed.

It was fortunate that it was a LEO, who was armed and trained [more or less] to defend himself.

this was a BLITZ attack–first with a motor vehicle then followed up with an edged weapon–this officer is less than a year on the job–believe his response/presence/self-control were excellent–perhaps not textbook but damn sure successful

fortunately the incident occurred in daylight–had it been at night, the outcome could have been very different

    The LEO’s reaction was very good. However, if his attacker had actually known what he was doing, was trained in the effective use of a knife, his attack would have been very different. And, the outcome might well have been very different. Now, the LEO had probably received some training in defending against a knife attack. The basic defense against a knife attack, where the primary defensive weapon is a pistol, is to break contact, create distance and use the pistol for defense. The purpose of training is to develop reactions which will keep you alive, without having to ponder your actions.

    My points were, that, in this case, the attacker did not use the most effective attack against the officer. This gave the officer the advantage. The second point is that this victim was trained to defend against this type attack. Most people, outside of infantry veterans and LEOs, have no such training. And, that is a problem. Crazy people abound. Some of them react in violent ways, for little of no reason. And, some of them as simply homicidal. We common people should be armed and trained to provide some effective defense against unwarranted attack.

    “this was a BLITZ attack”

    And yet some mainstream news institutions euphemistically said that the dead perp merely “confronted” the officer with a knife.

This is a typical “Hate Crime”, as reported by the MSM.

Most low information fools think that Davis died because of “racism”. so the mission was accomplished.