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Newly released video shows Denver police officer fatally shooting a man holding a marker, which police say the officer believed was a knife

By Rebekah Riess, CNN

(CNN) — The Denver Police Department released body camera video Monday of an August 5 incident in which one of their officers shot and killed a man who, police say, the officer believed was armed with a knife. Officers later learned the man was holding only a marker, according to Denver police.

On August 5, around 8 p.m., Denver police received a 911 call from someone reporting a domestic violence incident, saying a man “had possibly pushed his wife, who was in a wheelchair, out of the chair and onto the ground,” Denver Police Cmdr. Matt Clark said in a news briefing Monday.

Clark said the caller reported she had not seen any weapons and didn’t know if the woman was injured, but provided a detailed description of the man, whom she identified as “Brandon,” and reported Brandon was “possibly under the influence of alcohol.”

The caller also reported the man was going after his teenage son and yelling could be heard in the background of the call, police said.

Police released body camera footage of the incident from two officers who were on the scene at the time of the shooting, including footage from the one who shot the man. Neither of the officers’ names have been released, but police referred to one officer as a man and the other as a woman.

When the two officers arrived a few minutes after the 911 call, body camera video shows a woman sitting on the street against a curb, leaning back on her hands on the sidewalk, with an empty wheelchair nearby. Soon after, the woman can be heard saying, “Don’t pull your gun out on my husband please,” and one of the officers asks if she needs medical assistance, to which she responds that she needs an ambulance.

Body camera footage shows both arriving officers then focus on a man, who is heard repeatedly yelling, “Let’s go!” and, “F**k that!”

According to police, the female officer behind the man “observed him holding an object in his right hand that she believed to be a knife. The officer described observing the subject moving the object back and forth from his back area to his front holding it in a threatening manner.”

The male officer raises his Taser in view of the camera, the footage shows, apparently aiming towards the man, and then the man starts moving in the direction of the male officer in front of him. The officer starts moving away backwards while saying, “Listen to what I’m saying, Brandon.”

Clark said the officer attempted to deescalate the situation by calling the man’s name and “speaking calmly with him.”

Body camera video shows the man then turning his attention toward the female officer, who repositions herself behind a vehicle as the man starts moving toward her, and then comes between the officer and two bystanders, including a child, on the sidewalk.

Just as the man turns toward the sidewalk where the bystanders are, the footage shows, the male officer discharges his Taser device from the street, but according to Clark, “it appears that only one of the two probes struck the moving subject and as a result, the Taser did not have an effect on the individual.”

In the video, the female officer can be heard telling the man to “stop” twice immediately before the male officer fires his Taser. As the man continues to move closer to the female officer, she backs away and says, “Don’t!” and then fires her gun twice, as he falls to the ground from the shots and drops the object from his hand.

“Through the investigation, it was determined that the object Mr. Cole had in his hand during the interaction with the officers was a black marker,” Clark said at the news conference. Police cited “several independent witnesses” who, they say, believed the man was “armed with a weapon” as he approached the female officer.

According to Clark, officers “immediately called for an ambulance and began rendering aid,” and the man, identified as 36-year-old Brandon Cole, was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The officer who discharged her weapon has been with the Denver Police Department since 2019 and has not been involved in a previous police shooting incident, Clark said. She will complete the department’s reintegration program before returning to a patrol assignment, according to Denver police.

According to a statement from the Denver District Attorney’s office, they will review the case once Denver Police, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and the Colorado State Patrol complete their investigation, which is customary.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation told CNN their investigation of the case has already been turned over to the Denver DA’s office. CNN has reached out Colorado State Patrol for comment.

According to Clark, “investigators are still working to understand the nature of the interaction” between Cole and the woman prior to the arrival of officers, including how she ended up out of the wheelchair.

“We’re not able to determine whether or not an actual domestic violence incident had occurred involving the wife or the son,” Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas added. According to Denver Police, the wife elected not to provide a statement to investigators at this point.

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