The Shooting And Death Of Ronald Davis.

We have been critical of the actions of police in certain instances here at Raised on Hoecakes. Generally speaking, those criticisms involve corrupt officers who are supported by the “thin blue line” of other officers and police unions. At some point we hope that officers say that the corrupt cops hurt the reputation of the good cops, casting all police in the same light. That’s a problem to us and we wish it would stop.

However, not all of the actions of police are wrong and unwarranted even when their actions result in the death of a civilian.

Take the case of Ronald Davis of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Davis, who was 31, was shot and killed by St. Paul Police Officer Steven Mattson on September 15, 2019. Davis has been described as gentle man who gotten married, was a father and just graduated school. He was a “gentle person” who was “always polite,” according to a site called Fight Back News!

This is how the same site describes what happened:

After allegedly bumping his vehicle into the back of a cop car, he stepped out of his vehicle and Mattson gunned him down.

Because of the outcry from the community on this incident, the police released the body-cam footage of the incident from Officer Mattson.

EDITOR’S NOTE: NOT SAFE FOR WORK! Video includes language and violence.

(The police radio traffic can be heard here.)

Mattson is barely out of his car when Davis charges at him with a knife, refuses to stop charging and Mattson, in fear for his life as anyone would be, draws his weapon and shoot.

If one were to hang one’s hat on some sort of “excessive force” or “wrongful acts” by the police, this would not be a case to do that on unless you have an agenda that doesn’t include the truth.

For example, here is the image of Davis’ car after the “alleged bump” which started the incident.

That’s more than a “bump.” That’s a “ramming.”

Yet as we said, that image doesn’t fit the narrative of “activists” who have made this statement:

“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.”

There is no mention of Davis’ actions at all in that statement. The “activists” want to know why Mattson did not use “nonlethal force” (because he was being attacked with lethal force) and why “de-escalation tactics” were not used ( there was no time to do so.)

Even if one wants to claim that Mattson needed to use some sort of “de-escalation tactic,” notice how far Mattson has retreated from his vehicle while Davis is still coming forward:

Yet the main questions have to be “why is Davis attacking a police officer out of the blue? Refusing to stop? And continuing to attack no matter what?”

We may never know those answers, but one thing is clear: this is not on Officer Mattson. The death of Davis is completely on Davis. We can’t think of anyone who would have reacted any differently to being attacked by an out of control, knife welding maniac.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell released this statement:

“For more than 30 years, I’ve built my career on a foundation of trust, truth and transparency. That’s not to say that I, or any member of our department, is perfect. When we make mistakes, the Saint Paul Police Department has a proven record of taking responsibility. However, this is not one of those times.

And while I recognize the trauma that has been caused by a history of policing practices, throughout our country, that have disproportionately affected communities of color, I also cannot stand by—I simply can’t sleep at night—knowing that a good officer, and all of our officers, are being assailed by people who don’t have the facts.

This video is difficult to watch, and my heart goes out to the family of Mr. Davis. I deeply understand that anytime a loved one is lost, it’s tragic—regardless of circumstance. The only solace I can take from this incident is that Officer Mattson was not seriously injured or killed. But I do know that his life will never be the same.

I remain hopeful that quickly releasing this video will allow us to move forward with mature discourse about how such tragedies can be prevented in the future—without having to wade through the waters of irresponsible accusations of murder, calculated cries of injustice, and threats made against an officer who had no choice but to defend himself against an immediate and violent attack.

Officer-involved shootings are serious and must be dissected and analyzed so that we can understand and address their causes. Continuing to swim in a sea of lies and distorted facts will only keep us caught in the undertow of distrust.

Wearing a badge does not automatically make you wrong any more than standing in the street with a megaphone automatically makes you right.

I look forward to continuing to move forward together, in good faith, to achieve the outcomes we all desire.” (emphasis ours)

We should say the reverse of the Chief’s comment is true as well. “Wearing a badge does not automatically make you right any more than standing in the street with a megaphone makes you wrong.”

Just as it is shameful for the police to support and back each other when the facts don’t support them, it is equally shameful when so called “activists” refuse to acknowledge wrong doing from civilians.

Mattson is a young cop and we suspect that this incident will impact him in more ways than one.

What should happen is that the community should rally around Mattson and support him as it was not Mattson who caused the death of Davis.

Davis did.

2 Responses to “The Shooting And Death Of Ronald Davis.”

  1. Thomas Gaume says:

    The intent of Davis becomes quite clear if you look at the event as a whole. Davis first use of deadly force was attacking Mattson with a motor vehicle weighing thousands of pounds. When that didn’t work he grabbed his knife and attacked.

    No one can truthfully say how they would react in such situation, but I doubt I would have had the same level of restraint shown by Officer Mattson.

    I’m just glad that the good guy in this story went home safely to his family. Permanently damaged, but alive, thank God.

    I’ll pray for both the soul of Davis as I don’t know his mental state or condition. I also pray that Mattson can find peace after this and will continue to serve his community, because without the Officer Mattson’s of the world there would be nothing left bu chaos.

  2. Percy says:

    It is always a tragedy when a human life is lost.

    From the body cam video it does appear that the officer used a lot of self restraint before bringing lethal force to bear. I think standard police training still uses the 21′ rule, if someone with a knife gets within 21′ they should draw their weapon, which the officer does. They should then only use their weapon if the subject then tries to approach and displays threatening behavior and fear for their life (or the lives of others) which this subject does several times. The officer looks like he actually tripped trying to retreat out of a dangerous situation which put him at more of a disadvantage. I commend the officers use of restraint, even while he was put in a life threatening position several times during the altercations. Unfortunately, I’m seeing more and more videos where because of all the negative press law enforcement officers almost seem reluctant to use deadly force and are putting themselves in very dangerous situations. In this case it appears that the use of deadly force would be justified the minute the officer stepped out of his vehicle and saw the suspect at close range charging him with a raised knife.

    Either way, it’s sad for both parties when this stuff happens and hopefully the investigation will yield some clues on how we as a society can prevent it in the future.