I know I'm a bit late for this debate, but I can't help but correct you on a few things.
Whilst one might be tempted to invoke the Darwin Prize for being stupid enough to attack an armed man with a base-ball bat, I would also dismiss the police officer for being careless and stupid.
Remember, this police officer was totally surprised by Joey. The entire thing took 27 seconds. He had to act quickly, therefore did not have much time to "use his imagination." Things happen much faster in real time than when we sit behind a computer reviewing the incident.
Let's image that he incident was accurately reported.
Breaking windows and other acts of vandalism is not a capital offence and it is not the duty of a police officer to execute a minor in a public street.
He was not shot by the police officer for breaking windows. He was shot because he had broken the driver's side window and was about to swing the bat at the police officer, showing intent to harm a police officer. When a police officer is in danger, he/she is allowed to use force one step above the attacker. The teen had a bat; one step up from a melee weapon is a firearm.
The officer was not in any real danger and there was no evidence that any person had been hurt by the boy.
As you can see in the video, Joey had already cracked the windshield pretty badly. Windshields are made strong enough so that the glass does not shatter on impact, giving the driver a bit more security. The side windows, however, are meant to shatter on impact incase a door is jammed when tipped. Joey had broken the driver's side window (as evidence shows) leaving a wide enough space to swing the bat at the officer. The officer, being in the car, was severely limited to any movement that would free him from the bat's swinging radius. The teen was standing right outside of the driver's side door, leaving the officer in a very vulnerable position had he decided to get out. The officer was in real danger.
The police officer was not in any real danger and could have driven forward, even if he knocked the boy over the boy would have not been killed.
Again, my last comment shows that the officer was in real danger. Assuming that he was able to shift his car into drive, the officer was not able to see clearly in front of his car. With his vision impaired due to the broken windshield, he may have run over an innocent, harmless bystander. It would have been more irresponsible to take that risk.
He could have exited the car from the near-side door, then attempted to arrest the boy or shot him in a non fatal way.
Again, exiting from the car would put the officer in an extremely vulnerable position. Police officers are told to shoot their firearm only to kill. They are not supposed to shoot to injure, for example: hands, arms, feet, legs, etc. They are also not supposed to fire a warning shot because of the possibility of it hitting a person as it falls to the earth. A taser would be the only other non-lethal form of stopping the teen. However, it does not always work on it's target. Different drugs can make a human almost completely immune to a taser, defeating the purpose of stopping imminent danger. The officer was unaware of any possible substances/drugs that the teen was under. Plus, if the officer misses or has a bad connection, he would have to repack his taser in order to use it again. That takes longer than a few seconds, which is more than enough time for Joey to have swung the bat at the officer.
He could have remained in the car and called for back-up. Police officers are usually not alone -where was his partner?
Again, the security of the police car was compromised as soon as Joey broke the driver's side window. The car was not safe place to be anymore. The residential areas in this part of Duluth have very hilly roads with sharp bends, while also being very narrow. With these conditions, it could take five to ten minutes for backup to arrive. In that amount of time the teen could have injured more than just the officer. Also, in many of these growing cities, especially Duluth, it is becoming less common for officers to drive with a partner. I can't exactly tell you why, but either way it is not Officer Keast's fault for not having a partner with him.
But instead he chose to attack the boy rather than take other measures. We do not need police officers who have no control of their actions.
In this case, I see no other viable way that the officer could have handled this. He did his duty by reporting to a domestic disturbance and was faced with an aggressive assailant wielding a bat. He gave warning to Joey; twice shouting: "Put it down! Put it down!" The officer was in danger, and when that happens during an incident the officer's safety comes first. That's the way they are told to handle situations. This incident certainly does not portray Officer Keast as a trigger-happy cop who wanted to kill some kid that had been smashing windows. If you read the entire article, you'll notice that the officer, after shooting the assailant only once, gets out of his car and immediately performs CPR while saying things like, "Hang in there, partner."
Let me say that I am not in any way saying that this kid deserved to die. It is a terrible tragedy that I wish would never have happened. But especially since the rate of officer injury/death has skyrocketed when called to a domestic dispute, I'm glad that the officer is the one that walked away from this instead of being dead/injured. One thing is for sure though. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have to be a police officer. The stress that they are under would be too much for me, let alone wondering if the latest dispatch call will be your last. It is because of this, and because I cannot stand people who try and tell me how to do my job when they themselves have no education nor experience on how to do it, that I will not bash and berate a police officer for the way he handled this situation. I have not been there, therefore I cannot judge.