Family questioning use of deadly force after man shot, killed by 3 MPD officers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The man who was killed after being shot by three MPD officers was identified by TBI and family members.

Family and officials confirmed to FOX13 that the victim was Abdoulaye Thiam, 20.

ORIGINAL STORY: 3 MPD officers relieved of duty after shooting, killing man armed with knife

According to family, Thiam was originally from Africa but has lived in Memphis his whole life.

They were upset that police didn’t use a Taser to stop him, but they didn’t know why Thiam had a knife.

Family members also were not sure who called police.

Thiam was at home with his brother at the time. The Memphis Police Department was called to the house on Timothy Drive near Elvis Presley Boulevard around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said they were responding to a domestic disturbance call, but Thiam’s cousin -- Abdoulaye Ba -- said there was no disturbance.

“No, no, no,” Ba said. “It was only him and his brother, and the brother was playing PlayStation games in the room, and I don’t know what happened after that.”

His cousin said Thiam graduated from Sheffield High School and was taking courses at Job Corps to fulfill his dreams of becoming a nurse, something his family will never be able to see him achieve.

Download the FOX13 Memphis app to receive alerts from breaking news in your neighborhood.

Trending stories:

According to investigators, Thiam “confronted officers with a knife” and charged toward them when they arrived on scene.

At that point, police said the officers fired shots, hitting and killing Thiam.

Ba told FOX13 it made no sense for the officers to shoot at someone who only had a knife.

“I’m just trying to figure out why. To the TBI, they received a 911 call,” said Ba. “They show up. He has a knife, and three officers open fire. Three officers? It was clear to them he only had a knife.

“Why would you gun someone down with only a knife?”

Ba said the victim’s family is frustrated that police immediately used deadly force when Thiam’s life could have been spared with a less-violent method.

“Could they just use another strategy to calm him down? Do something better than to gun someone down. You only live once, and now they took his life.”

He wants the officers to be held accountable. All three officers have been placed on administrative leave pending TBI’s investigation.

“The police is supposed to protect us,” Ba said. “If they are killing us, who is going to protect us now?”

All three officers were relieved of duty pending the outcome of an investigation.

The officers were not injured in the incident. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Thiam was pronounced dead at the scene.

Background info:

From 2011 to 2017 there were 76 officer-involved shootings in Memphis – 23 were deadly.

In 2017, MPD officers were involved in four police shootings.

Most recently in September 2018, three MPD officers did not turn on their body cameras before chasing and shooting a man – later identified as Martavious Banks – who was left in critical condition.

READ: Attorney says man was shot in back twice by MPD officer

In the last five years – there have been 14 officer-involved shootings in Shelby County – five were deadly.