Missoula Police Department Chief Jaeson White held a press conference Thursday addressing the recent killing of a Missoula man in an officer-involved shooting on Nov. 7.
The press conference came after days of protests for the death of Jesse James Kale Brown, 34. Monday’s city council meeting was flooded with calls for transparency from Missoula PD on the incident.
More than 30 people held signs criticizing the Missoula Police Department at the corner of C…
White said at 5:22 p.m. on Saturday someone called 911 about a partner-family member assault on the 2300 block of Sherwood Lane.
“The information being provided by the caller indicated the individual was armed with a knife and was actively involved in assaulting the victims,” White said.
When the first officer arrived at 5:27 p.m., he said the police knocked on the front door and announced, “Police!” White said when the front door was opened the officer encountered Mr. Brown, who was holding a large kitchen knife. The officer stood between Brown and the victims as they exited the building, which is when Brown threw a chair at the officer.
“The officer continued to give commands for Mr. Brown to drop the knife,” White said. “He failed to obey those commands and began advancing at the officer in an assaultive manner, with the knife. The officer discharged his taser in an effort to stop the assault on him, the taser was ineffective and Mr. Brown continued his assault on the officer. Fearing for his own life and safety, the officer fired four rounds from his department-issued weapon.”
White said the officer involved and the backup officer who had just arrived began giving Mr. Brown medical aid immediately after Brown was shot and called for emergency medical aid before Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident is under investigation by the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, along with Missoula PD’s administrative investigation on the officer's compliance with Missoula PD’s policies.
White said the officer who shot Brown has been with Missoula PD for five and a half years and has never received disciplinary actions or complaints from citizens. He is currently on administrative leave pending DCI’s investigation.
White said Missoula PD will discuss releasing the name of the officer once the DCI investigation has concluded.
The officer was wearing a body camera during the incident, and White said the footage will be released to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office after DCI’s investigation concludes.
The GoFundMe set up for Brown’s family cited the incident as a result of Brown experiencing a mental health crisis.
White said the Mobile Crisis Response Team, which will support 911 calls related to mental health, would not have responded to the call because it was not for someone in a mental health crisis, but rather an active partner-family assault.
He said if officers can reach a scene, determine someone is in a crisis and there is no current public safety threat, then the Mobile Crisis Response Team could be brought in.
The officer-involved shooting is the second in 2020 with Missoula PD. The first occurred in January.