Platte County prosecutor finds police used reasonable force in May shooting

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Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 12:11 PM CST
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PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd found that reasonable force was used by law enforcement officers when they shot and killed a Kansas City, Kansas, man wanted for murder on May 3 after he led police on a high-speed chase across the metro.

Zahnd issued an 11-page report explaining his decision and cataloging the evidence prosecutors reviewed before reaching it. Officers shot and killed 26-year-old Mekiah Harris on May 3. Harris was wanted for murder in Kansas City, Kansas, when his vehicle was spotted near the Country Club Plaza. He fled police, evading stop sticks and eventually driving the wrong way at more than 100 miles per hour along I-435.

Harris eventually fled on foot from his vehicle near mile marker 30.6 of southbound I-435. He possessed a handgun, which an investigation later revealed was not loaded, something the report noted officers would not have been able to determine.

During a 48-minute standoff in a residential neighborhood on Ridgeview Drive in the New Bedford Falls housing development, officers repeatedly told Harris to put down his weapon and surrender, but Harris refused. Harris allegedly told officers to call his mother and pray for him and at one point said he held the handgun up to his temple.

Court documents said that Harris told officers how he wanted to be buried, requested that they tell his brother he was sorry and gave officers a timeline until he would start shooting. Video from a police helicopter revealed that Harris pointed his handgun in the direction of law enforcement officers at 10:45 p.m. and the officers still did not fire. Nearly half a minute later, Harris again aimed his weapon at a nearby officer and multiple officers then fired at Harris and killed him.

“Sadly, multiple attempts by law enforcement officers to de-escalate this situation failed,” Zahnd said. “However, Missouri law correctly authorizes law enforcement officers to use deadly force to protect themselves and others from being shot.”

The Platte County Sheriff’s Department investigated the shooting.