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Family Says Hatchet-Wielding Man Shot by Oakland Cop was Not a Threat

August 04, 2009  | 

Relatives of a hatchet-wielding man shot and killed by an Oakland police officer said Monday that he wasn't a threat and was simply holding a tool he uses as a handyman.

Brownie Polk, 46, "wasn't a violent guy," said his sister, Marsha Polk-Townsend. "He would never charge at police with a hatchet. He would never do it. I would bet my life on it."

But police countered that Polk ignored numerous commands and was shot because he advanced toward an officer inside an East Oakland liquor store shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday. On Monday, department officials took the unusual step of releasing pictures of the hatchet.

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