Officer Nathan Blanford, a 10-year veteran of the force, responded to a 911 call reporting an assault. He found Deng Manyoun.
Both The Washington Post and USA Today showed surveillance video footage. The video, taken from Smoker’s Smoke Shop, shows an intoxicated Manyoun stumbling through the intersection as Officer Blanford pulls up. Blanford approaches; Manyoun leaves the frame for a second and comes back with a flagpole. Manyoun takes a swing at Blanford; the officer fires off two shots.
Manyoun was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3 p.m. Officer Blanford has been placed on administrative leave while the Public Integrity Unit investigates.
USA Today quotes Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad:
“I believe looking at the video, he (Blanford) did not have the opportunity to transition to another option. It would appear to me based on my viewing of the video that he felt threatened, that his life was in danger; there’s a man swinging an 8-foot metal pole at him. You see in the video he’s coming down in what I would describe as a sledgehammer-like motion towards the officer.”
Activists disagree. Chanelle Helm is quoted in the same USA Today article questioning the use of deadly force. Said Helm:
“You’re telling me you can’t defeat a person with a flagpole who seems to be intoxicated? An officer is supposed to be trained to protect people. He lost all type of control.”
According to USA Today, Manyoun was one of the “Lost Boys of the Sudan.” He first emigrated to Nashville in 2001 before settling in Louisville in 2009.
We’re Going to Need a Bigger Hat: I tell you what — our friends at Actors Theatre are doing something right; they seem to be popping up in the national spotlight every couple of weeks.
And here’s an attention grabber: The Chicago Tribune reports Roy Cockrum, the $259 million Powerball winner from Tennessee, just donated 1.2 of those millions to Actors Theatre. The money is designated to help out the apprentice/intern company.
This is the third such company Cockrum has supported; he’s given money for productions at both Steppenwolf and the Goodman theaters in Chicago.
I like this Mr. Cockrum. And since he appears to be such an avid theatergoer, I’d like to personally invite him down to the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival this summer, right here in Central Park. Shows are free at 8 p.m. most every night, with food trucks and pre-show entertainment to boot. “The Taming of the Shrew” opens tonight, directed by the amazing Amy Attaway, who happened to run that very same apprentice program at Actors Theatre, to bring things full circle.
Silver Linings: One of the big reveals of last year’s monster Sony hack — not to be confused with the other hacking we covered last week — was that a mega star like Jennifer Lawrence still made less money per movie than her Y chromosomed counterparts.
Further, that hack uncovered e-mails from Sony CEO Tom Rothman questioning the an upcoming $20 million payday for “Passengers,” a big-budget original science-fiction piece co-starring “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurrassic World” star, Chris Pratt.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, those questions continued for Rothman, as he mulled whether or not his two stars could open a film with a budget that large and have the studio make its money back. Forbes asks that very same question with its article, “Are Chris Pratt And Jennifer Lawrence Movie Stars?”
But that all changed this month. Now the movie is greenlit and set to begin production, in no small part due to the success of Pratt’s opening of “Jurrassic World” and an angle that the movie could be sold as “’Gravity’ with romance,” according to an “insider.”
“Passengers” tells the story of a man who wakes up from cryo-sleep too early and decides to wake up another of his companions to keep him company rather than die old and alone. At one point, the movie was a Reese Witherspoon and Keanu Reeves vehicle and then Rachel McAdams — who is perfect in everything ever — was attached until it stuck around in development limbo until landing at Sony.
And now to that other part: Lawrence will make a reported $8 million more than her male costar, according to The Guardian.
Our hearts go to the people of Charleston, South Carolina following the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a Wednesday night bible study.
The New York Times quotes the Rev. George Felder Jr of New Hope A.M.E. Church:
“We cannot make sense of what has happened, but we can come together.”
Godspeed to the victims; peace and strength to their families and the community.
See you next week.