Bodycam footage shows St. Paul officer being attacked before shooting man

The minutelong video shows the dramatic moment Officer Steven Mattson leaves his car and is immediately charged by 31-year-old Ronald Davis.

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By Doha Madani

Body camera footage released Tuesday showed the dramatic moments before a St. Paul police officer shot and killed a man who charged at him with a knife after a car accident.

The death of Ronald Davis, 31, more than a week ago has sparked protests from community activists. The minutelong video showed the moment Officer Steven Mattson left his car after being rear-ended up until when Davis was shot.

As soon as Mattson exited the vehicle, Davis can be seen charging straight at him with what police identified a knife in his hand. Mattson immediately moved back as the 31-year-old man continued to swipe at him with the knife, and at one point Mattson fell to the ground.

"Get the f--- ... get away from me," Mattson yelled as he pulled his gun out. "Drop the knife. Drop the f---ing knife."

Davis kept charging at Mattson despite the gun in the officer's hand and the commands to drop the knife. Mattson appeared to fire two shots before Davis fell to the ground and the officer ran back behind his car to call for backup.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell defended Mattson after the release and told reporters that the officer had "no choice but to defend himself."

"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 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 simply do not have the facts," Axtell said.

The video's release came two days after protesters marched from the St. Paul Police Department Western District headquarters to the site of Davis' death, according to NBC affiliate KARE 11. Several people in the march said they don't believe Davis had a knife and demanded that the entire video be released.

"I look forward to moving forward together with our entire community and in good faith to achieve the outcomes that we all desire," Axtell said Tuesday.