Home News Louisville police release OIS video showing officer was attacked, refuting claims

Louisville police release OIS video showing officer was attacked, refuting claims


By Claire Galofaro

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The surveillance video shows a man stagger away from a police officer and out of the frame. He charges back into view seconds later, a 7-foot flagpole reared over his shoulder, and he swings it wildly at the officer.

The man, a 35-year-old African immigrant, was shot twice by the Louisville Metro Police officer Saturday afternoon and died, sparking a debate over officers’ use of deadly force and the simmering racial tension between the police and the communities they serve.

Community activists gathered Sunday to lament that the officer turned first to his gun, rather than use non-lethal force like a Taser or pepper spray.

This photo provided by the Louisville (Ky.) Police Department shows Louisville Metro Police Officer Nathan Blanford. An African man was shot and killed by Blanford, a Louisville Metro Police officer Saturday afternoon, June 13, 2015 after police say he grabbed a flagpole and swung it at the officer. (Louisville (Ky.) Police Department via AP)
This photo provided by the Louisville (Ky.) Police Department shows Louisville Metro Police Officer Nathan Blanford. An African man was shot and killed by Blanford, a Louisville Metro Police officer Saturday afternoon, June 13, 2015 after police say he grabbed a flagpole and swung it at the officer. (Louisville (Ky.) Police Department via AP)

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad on Sunday defended the shooting, and promised a thorough and transparent investigation. He identified the officer who fired the fatal shots as Nathan Blanford, a patrol officer in the 4th division who has been with the department since 2005, and released the video of the incident, captured on a surveillance camera from a nearby store.

The man killed was identified by the coroner’s office on Sunday as 35-year-old Deng Manyoun.

His friend, Nick Holiday, told The Associated Press Saturday that he emigrated from Africa several years ago. He lived in an apartment building around the corner from the busy intersection where he was shot dead Saturday afternoon. Neighbors said he was a familiar presence in the neighborhood.

The video shows him staggering across the street, in gray pants and a white T-shirt. A car nearly hits him.

Moments earlier, a woman called from one block away to say she’d been assaulted by a stranger, Conrad said Sunday. She told police she was talking on her phone when she noticed a man lumbering toward her. She tried to ignore him, Conrad said. But he attacked her: he grabbed her purse and phone, threw them down the street then started punching her, Conrad said.

A man saw the attack and intervened.

Conrad did not know Sunday whether Blanford, responding to the assault, recognized Manyoun as fitting the alleged assailant’s description or if he just noticed him stumble into traffic and decided to stop him.

Blanford pulled his cruiser up to the curb and confronted Manyoun on the sidewalk.

Witnesses told various media on Saturday that the officer approached the man aggressively, his hand already on his gun, and alleged that Manyoun never swung the pole at him. But the video released Sunday refutes that: the officer stands still, his arms at his sides, as Manyoun waves his hands around. Manyoun turns and storms away, out of the view of the camera. Blanford starts to follow, talking into his radio, then stops suddenly and takes two steps back. He draws his gun as the tip of the flag pole emerges in the corner of the video. The pole had been propped outside a store, with a flag attached reading “open.”

Screenshot from video.
Screenshot from video.

Manyoun sprints into the frame, the pole cocked back over his shoulder. The officer cowers back against his police cruiser as Manyoun swings the pole down toward him.

Conrad described it as a “sledgehammer-like motion.” The pole appears to snap in half. But Conrad said it was two poles jointed together that split apart as he swung.

It is unclear if it actually hit Blanford. The officer was not taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries, Conrad said.

It is also unclear in the video, which has no sound, exactly when the officer fired two shots. Manyoun falls backward, stands up, still clinging to the pole, then falls again, out of view of the camera.

He was taken to the University of Louisville Hospital, where he later died.

The woman initially assaulted was treated by medics and released, Conrad said. Manyoun is believed to be the man who attacked her, he added.

Manyoun did not speak English. Neighbors worried that his struggle to communicate led to the shooting, and the chief acknowledged it likely had a hand in how the incident unfolded.

“I get that, but a full uniform, police car, blue lights, that should transcend a language barrier,” the chief said.

Chanelle Helm, a board member of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression, organized the community meeting Sunday where two dozen people gathered to question why a police officer needed to use deadly force to subdue a man believed to be drunk and wielding a pole.

Manyoun’s arrest record shows a number of alcohol-related offenses dating back to 2008, WHAS-TV reported. Manyoun was arrested on June 2 for disorderly conduct, but released the following day.

The group of activists attributed the shooting to ingrained racial bias and invoked the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” a call to action that grew out of high-profile police shootings across the county over the last year.

Conrad stopped short of saying the officer was justified to shoot, and said instead that the department’s Public Integrity Unit will complete an investigation and turn it over to the Commonwealth Attorney for review. Blanford will be questioned this week, he said. The department released his personnel jacket, which includes a number of commendations and a handful of minor reprimands, all for missing court appearances.

But the chief vocalized his support for the officer’s decision to use a gun rather than non-lethal force.

“I think the officer felt like he was in danger of being killed or suffering serious physical injury, which would allow him under the law and under our policies to go to that option,” Conrad said. “And quite frankly, when you’ve got somebody coming at you with a dangerous instrument, I don’t know that the officer had an opportunity to transition to a less lethal option.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  1. The only tragedy is that this idiot put the police officer in the position that he had to use deadly force.

  2. Attack a Cop, Get Shot… End of Story…. And that is how it should be. F these bleeding hearts who think the cops should treat idiots like this with kid gloves…l.

  3. Attack a Cop…. Get Shot….. F all of you bleeding hearts that think the cops should treat idiots like this with kid gloves.

  4. “Neighbors worry that his struggle to communicate led to the shooting…” – really?!? In what language to you need to attack someone with a pole?

  5. Again we hear from people that have no idea what to do in those type of situations. How was the officer supposed to use mace? No time.to get it out, to many factors about it being effective. A Taser probably would.not have worked, because the probes could have been deflected by the pole or material. The guy already attacked someone just before this.

  6. From what I see, officer did what he was supposed to do in this situation. This guy was trying to hit officer with the metal poll. I would do exactly the same as officer did if someone tries to attack me with something like that regardless of sex or skin color.

  7. What ever happen to police officer in uniform, police car with lights on…. Carries equipment to defend to protect the Community he serves and himself. NOT a Target for any RACE to abuse. Police Officers MATTER !

  8. ” Community activists gathered Sunday to lament that the officer turned first to his gun, rather than use non-lethal force like a Taser or pepper spray.” —— Stop with the effing nonsense already. Swinging a metal pole at a guy`s head is “lethal-force”. Trust me, I work in an ER. Completely justified shooting. WAKE UP : YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO ATTACK COPS.

  9. It’s interesting how the article simply glosses over the fact that the “witnesses” lied about the events, claiming the man did nothing and the officer shot him for no reason. THAT is the story here. Let’s have a discussion about how race relates to that issue. Every time there’s a cross-racial police shooting, witnesses come out of the woodwork and provide false statements to suit their racist agenda. But you notice THAT doesn’t get much treatment by the media…

  10. first I want to thank this officer for being brave enough to do his duty. The officer has no obligation to retreat, but he
    Did anyway until there was no place to go and then was forced to shoot the drunk.


  11. Don’t you just love how the “witnesses” LIED about the officers demeanor and “already had his hand ion his weapon”?!?! I guess video evidence works both ways. If I were in that situation, as the officer, I’d have fired on him also.

  12. Looks entirely justified to me, the guy was non-compliant, he walks away from the officer waving his hand at him, clear indication that he is not going to cooperate. This non-lethal response is BS. The only way an officer can avoid injury or death to himself or anyone else is to eliminate the threat by what ever means he deems fit at that time. If the threat is indeed eliminated, then the method he/she used was obviously appropriate. End of story. Once again, just comply and you won’t die!

  13. The cop didn’t fire until the man started swinging at him. Morale of the story cooperate with the police and you won’t end up dead. You’re a product of your choices and clearly this person’s choices left him dead.

  14. how unfortunate, guy lived in Africa, survived ebola, survived Aids, survived malaria and tuberculosis.

    comes to America…dies of lead poisoning…go figure!

  15. Gotta love the cameras.if you lie it is going to catch up with you. After Trayvon, Michael Brown and the others good old Al, I am a liar, Sharpton started lamenting on how officers should be required to wear a body cameras. After several events that have happened recently, where the officers had those cameras, the bad guys are getting caught in their lies. Now all of a sudden body cameras are now prejudicial. Hmm could it be that just maybe some of these folks are lying and the true intent of their crimes are being seen by EVERYONE. Although this camera isn’t a body cam, it shows the officer told the truth. The woman who stood in the roadway and began filming did so after the event was over. Would love to know what her statement was. Now I ask where is the media who ran the story that the officer just shot the guy without provocation? Where is the boss of that company and why is there no apology to the officer?

  16. The deceased has been in this country for at least 7 years (arrest record went back to 2008) and he did not speak English? Something wrong with this picture? I am so tired of “immigrants” not bothering to learn our language or our culture – just want someplace to live and never even attempt to become an American. Was he here legally? Why was he still here if he had been arrested repeatedly? Perhaps if he had kept his face out of a bottle and learned English this may not have happened. Sorry for his death but the police officer had no choice – he had the right to defend himself. This man did not have a reason to attack him in such a violent manner – showed total disrespect by the way he marched off and then turned around and attacked – what did he expect or the public expect? Yes, he was black and the officer was white but forget about the color – if he was white this still would have happened – you can not and must not attack a police officer if you wish to survive. If it was just a regular guy and he was attacked this way and he shot in self defense this would not be an issue. This is not a racial issue – it is a self defense issue. But the idiots at the community center feel that because it was a white cop they have a reason to complain – sick if this crap – act civilized – be treated nice – act like an idiot and pay the price.

  17. Good! He’s off the streets! How did he get in this country anyway? The witnesses that lied about the officer, should do jail time for lying. Thank got the officer was on video, this could have been another Baltimore.


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