Police Fatal Shooting Maryland Berhe
In this frame grab from body camera video provided by the Montgomery County Department of Police, taken Thursday, May 7, 2020, Montgomery County Police Sgt. David Cohen aims and shoots Finan H. Berhe, as Berhe, holding a knife, charges at Cohen, after the officer had ordered Berhe to drop the knife and get down on the ground, in the White Oak area of Montgomery County, Md. Berhe died at a hospital, police said. No officers were injured. (Montgomery County Department of Police via AP)
Previous Post
Next Post

By Micael Kunzelman, AP

Video released Friday from a Maryland police officer’s body camera captures him warning the man to drop a knife and get down on the ground before he fatally shot the man as he charged at the officer.

Montgomery County Police Sgt. David Cohen fired the first of at least five shots about one minute after he exited his patrol vehicle and confronted Finan H. Berhe, 30, in a residential parking lot on Thursday afternoon.

“Put the knife down!” Cohen screamed as Berhe ran toward him and then stopped, momentarily backing away from the officer, who was pointing a gun at him.

“Get on the ground! I don’t want to shoot you!” Cohen shouted just before Berhe started running at the officer again.

As the officer opened fire, Berhe collapsed and dropped an object he was holding.

“Man down!” a man shouted after the shooting stopped.

Police said investigators recovered a knife that Berhe was brandishing when Cohen shot him. Berhe died at a hospital, police said. No officers were injured.

Department spokesman Rick Goodale said the officer is a white man. Berhe was black, according to online court records.

Cohen was the first officer to respond to a call about a man who threw a rock at a neighbor’s window and yelled for them to call police, according to police Chief Marcus Jones and a police department news release.

The officer performed first aid on the man before he was taken to the hospital, according to Jones.

The chief said there also is eyewitness video of the incident, but that wasn’t immediately released.

Cohen, a 17-year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure after a police shooting.

Police detectives’ findings will be submitted to the Howard County state’s attorney’s office.

That office also is reviewing evidence in another recent deadly shooting by Montgomery County police.

The police department has said an officer shot and killed 21-year-old Duncan Socrates Lemp at his home on March 12. The department has said Lemp was armed with a rifle and ignored commands to show his hands, but a lawyer for his family said an eyewitness said Lemp was asleep in his bedroom when police opened fire from outside his house in Potomac, Maryland.

While the department released the bodycam video from Berhe’s shooting a day after the incident, it hasn’t released any body camera footage from Lemp’s shooting nearly two months later. Family attorney Rene Sandler said the department hasn’t acknowledged whether any bodycam video of Lemp’s shooting exists.

Previous Post
Next Post


    • Did anybody notice anything funny about the Ahmaud Arbery video in the seconds right before he disappeared behind the front of the truck. Jogging through the video it appears like it may have been spliced as he went around the truck. Am I the only one seeing that?

      • “Jogging through the video it appears like it may have been spliced as he went around the truck. Am I the only one seeing that?”


      • Would you be trying a “back and to the left” analysis of that video if the perpetrators were black and the victim was white?

        • I’m not trying to push an agenda here. It sickened me to watch it like it did most decent people. But when I jogged through it it appears that at least of second of the video just disappears as he starts around the corner of the truck.

        • “…that at least of second of the video just disappears as he starts around the corner of the truck.”

          I hate to break it to you, but if you believe that video was doctored in any way, it’s cave man easy these days to prove it, and you can bet your ass it will get discovered.

          So, lay off on the ‘conspiracy’ theories, OK? Not even the Atlanta, Ga. DA is that stupid…

      • I watched two versions of videos and did not see where the man disappeared behind a truck much less anything unusual except the idiot with knife

        • I referred to the Arbery video. The one where the two guys jumped into the truck, hunted down Ahmaud Arbery and shot him Georgia.

      • ” it’s unclear if its standard police protocol to shoot to kill in such an instance or use nonlethal force when a suspect is not armed with a gun.”

        Said a local news source. So, maybe the cop should get his own knife out and have a duel??? Idiots—

        • No shortage of out of touch second guessing these days.

          I was half expecting to hear Alla Snackbar as he ran at him.

          So glad the cop didn’t let him get too close. This will be a training video for a long time I’m sure.

        • The question of “non-lethal force” is simply stupid. The officer had a pistol. He was charged by a man holding a knife. It looks to me that the knife-wielder was 15 to 25 feet away. — A man who is not very fit can still cover that distance in just a couple of seconds.[Go on You Tube and look up THE TUELLER DRILL.] Do you REALLY EXPECT ANYONE to be able to reholster a pistol, then pull and fire some non-lethal weapon in that short a time?
          Now, add in the stress factor the officer was under, and that the perp REFUSED to comply with NUMEROUS orders to “put the knife down.” — NO EXCUSE NOT TO FOLLOW THE ORDER THE FIRST TIME. — If the cop was wrong, the perp always had LEGAL ways to redress the issue later.
          I think you have been watching too many old cowboy movies.

      • I also thought it looked like “suicide by cop”. Very sorry this guy put the officer into that situation.

    • These types of incidents/suicides appear to be happening more often right now.

      • I suspect strongly that it’s not that more of these confrontations are happening now, it’s that now there are far more body cams and cellphone videos out there to record them.

        It’s the same with every other ‘interesting’ crime, disaster, accident, or whatever; There aren’t actually more of them, it’s just that more are being recorded, and more made available by media.

        My career had me deal with several of these; Most cops will have a few, if they stay in long enough, because they’re really rather commonplace. I was fortunate in that none of my ‘new friends with blades’ really wanted to die nearly as badly as they originally thought that they did. Others aren’t so lucky.

        • When I see it happen where I am from, in such a neighborhood, it’s not normal, it’s very unusual behavior. It’s extremely rare to get police shootings there.

          It’s only been a few weeks of house arrest and unemployment. Wait a few more months to look for the blip in suicides.

        • You should get out more, and broaden your horizons. Quite a few wealthy suburban single-family trophy home enclaves don’t have crazies with swords running about; Others do.

          Just because your neighborhood is not overrun with giant rubbery radioactive monsters, flying turtles, and really big insects, it doesn’t mean that Tokyo isn’t regularly laid waste by such things. I saw the videos, man. Your neighborhood may be next.

    • In this case it made for a happy ending.

      One less useless imbecile on the Welfare Roles.

      • Don’t go with stupid people to stupid places and do stupid shit.

        Play stupid games win stupid prizes.

        • Avoid stupid people doing stupid things at stupid times in stupid places.

        • Drilled that into my kids head from when young. Also “nothing good happens out after midnight” I think they generally getting the message though #2 son joined the Jarheads.

          Sitting on ass for 3m at Pendleton he has discovered however, that the vast majority of 18yr old Marines are morons (HOW do you blind yourself with CLP while cleaning your M16?). I told him to GO ARMY.

  1. Another one bites the dust – hey hey. One less in the gene pool to screw it up.

  2. Suicide by cop?

    Note: five shots….obviously no need for higher capacity magazines. He would have been just fine with a six shot revolver or 8 round 1911. Smirk.

    • Details are emerging. The man who was shot and killed had earlier thrown a stone at a neighbor’s window and yelled for them to call the cops.

      Suicide by cop, sadly.

      • That’s exactly what I thought when I saw the video. It looks like he was thinking before the final charge at the officer, trying to convince himself to do it.

      • I watched the footage before I read the text, and that was my thought too. After seeing that he had provoked someone to call the cops I was certain that is exactly what it was. Suicide by cop.

  3. Who brings a knife to a gunfight? Camera makes it look like he was outside the “21 foot” zone. ;|

    Suicide by cop? Let the racist circus begin. Don’t care, if you are from a galaxy far away and its first contact, run at me with a weapon I shoot. lol

    • Just so we’re clear, there IS no ’21-Foot Rule.’ The original idea behind the Tueller Drill was not that it even WAS a ‘drill,’ but a demonstration to show that at a distance of 21ft, a running person could almost always close the distance and stab an armed person before he/she could draw and fire effectively two rounds–IF those two rounds would actually stop a running person, which they most likely won’t before the stabbing is completed. In other words, a 21-foot ‘safety zone’ is not safe, because even if shot, the running person completes the attack more often than not.

      Most people trying this little exercise find that even 30ft is marginal, and 40ft a more reasonable safe distance. So, ’40’ is the new ’21.’

  4. Looked like Suicide By Cop. Don’t see that the officer had any other option.

    Take note of how much distance the attacker covered by the time the officer fired and the man was stopped. Had the attacker been closer, had the officer let him get closer or closed the distance with him, this could have been two men down very easily.

    Justified shooting, no doubt of it.

    On the other story, the shooting of Lemp thru his bedroom window at 04:30, that one is suspicious. These warrants to bust into a home when people can be expected to be asleep is a formula for massive screw-ups. If the family is right and there is unreleased body camera video proving the cops shot Lemp while he was in bed, his rifle leaning against a wall out of reach of the bed, this will be another example of no-knock warrants leading to needless bloodshed.

    Will wait and see what more comes out on that one.

    • “Take note of how much distance the attacker covered by the time the officer fired and the man was stopped.”


      • Yup…precisely. It appears he finally was dropped with a round to the heart, notice his wrist and hand position, totally limp, at the end, no movement. Show this to people who always ask, “Why did they have to shoot him in the chest?” or “Why did they have to shoot him so many times?” A shot to the pelvis may have dropped him, but … when a guy is running at you with a knife clearly intending to use it on you … you shoot to STOP the threat. Period.

        • So very true.

          Additionally it is tough enough marksmanship under calm range conditions to carefully place shots to wound. There is not time for that in this real life situation. The officer had a couple of seconds to stop the threat to his own life. No time to think up a shot to wound option, take careful aim on a charging attacker rapidly closing, and squeeze off a precise shot.

          Center mass, keep firing until the attacker ceases to be a threat, then stop shooting.

          Exactly what that officer did, and exactly correct.

        • PTM,

          My best guess is the second or third shot went all the way to the attacker’s spinal column and caused him to collapse since he no longer controlled his legs.

          I say that for two reasons. First, as best as I can tell from the video and the apparent angles, the policeman’s handgun was aimed directly at the attacker’s centerline which would result in spinal column shot. Second, a perfect heart shot does not physically cause you to immediately collapse. It might cause you to collapse 10 to 60 seconds later.

          The other simple possibility: if it was truly suicide by cop, the attacker simply gave up (mentally gave up, and thus just fell to the ground) as soon as he realized that the policeman had shot him.

  5. Maybe not here…but so many are going to say things like:
    he only had a knife
    why couldn’t he shoot it out of his hand…I see it in movies all the time
    why not shoot him in the leg…why kill him
    if he was white he would still be alive
    why not use a taser…why shoot him

    • Not that shooting a charging knife wielding nut jub isn’t justified, but I have wondered why tasers weren’t used in a number of police shootings in the last couple of years. It seems they have gone out fashion.

      • When tasers work, they work very well. Unfortunately, unless everything is perfect, they don’t work at all. Then, you have a lone cop, with the suspect already too close, scrambling to put the suspect down before he reaches the cop. Textbook example of the Tueller drill even including the knife.

        • How about just put down the knife/comply with the officers orders? This thread wouldn’t even exist.

        • And if the taser doesn’t work, the cop is standing there without his firearm drawn. No bueno.

      • People who post comments like this have zero idea what they are talking about. You do not risk your life by using a Taser when being charged by a man with a knife.

      • TASER’s are not perfect, many things can go wrong with them. The clothing an attacker is wearing. The angle of impact. The locations of impact. If the TASER shot fails for any reason the officer is now standing there with a useless gadget in his hand and a dangerous attacker in his face.

        I do think police should have TASER’s and make good use of them but understand they are not always what is needed.

        • Watch the old Rodney King video. He was tased 3 times and on his feet before the beating began. If multiple officers were on the scene, maybe one could have tried a beanbag gun. Tactically, the officer could have kept a car between himself and aimed over the top. From such a position, a taser might have been an option, but the knife man was keeping his distance. As it was, the officer had no choice.

        • Knowledge of non-lethal defense policies invite perps with lethal means.
          UNLESS, the non-lethal defense is a remote controlled pillow cannon firing 40lb pillows soaked in pig fat and chickenshit.

      • A taser is not a replacement for a gun. It is not a response to a deadly threat.

        This guy is charging at you and you try to taser him; if the taser doesn’t work, which it often doesn’t, you are going to get stabbed and possibly killed. With a gun, if the first shot doesn’t work, you can hope the 2nd or 15th does.

    • “if he was white he would still be alive” When they trot this one out just send them a link to the video of the sword wielding guy in Las Vegas recently.

  6. From the linked LiveLeak article:

    “The video did appear to show Berhe with a knife, but it’s unclear if its standard police protocol to shoot to kill in such an instance or use nonlethal force when a suspect is not armed with a gun.”

    What crappy writing! As much as we all know there are unfortunate issues with some bad-apple LEOs, law enforcement everywhere are taught to shoot to stop the threat, not with the primary goal of “killing”. And if the writer of that LiveLeak page thinks a large, agitated man charging you with a long bladed knife in his hand is not a deadly threat warranting a deadly defensive response from the LEO in the video, he/she needs to leave that site and get another job.

    • If it truly isn’t clear, the police should clearly state their officers are justified in shooting when someone tries to kill them with a knife.

      • And it shouldn’t be a secret! It should be broadcast every time such an incident happens, over and over, it should be taught in school from about the 3rd grade, and every year at least once. If you attack a cop, he will shoot you all to pieces until you quit. Regardless of your skin color.

    • ““The video did appear to show Berhe with a knife, but it’s unclear if its standard police protocol to shoot to kill in such an instance or use nonlethal force when a suspect is not armed with a gun.”

      Anyone who is a Democrat knows only guns cause death.

      …and recent deadly viruses are only lethal when carrying illegal concealed .9mm guns…

    • “but it’s unclear if its standard police protocol….”

      Means “we are entirely ignorant on this subject and aren’t going to bother educating ourselves.”

  7. From Live Leak “The video did appear to show Berhe with a knife, but it’s unclear if its standard police protocol to shoot to kill in such an instance or use nonlethal force when a suspect is not armed with a gun.” I think this statement gives us an idea of how much different some people think firearms are than any other weapon. It is also as if a big guy with knife running at you is not a threat that justifies the use of the unholy death machine that is the gun.

    • Exactly. They are so proud that their programming is *working* as planned.

      No one would die if there were no guns…

  8. Hmmm, five rounds…seems just about right to stop the threat in this event.

    • Enough to stop a large charging man, but not so much as to be blamed as a zealous “mag dumper”. Just about right.

      • Yea, you mean like a typical NYPD “mag dump”.

        Unlike the NYPD, there were no bystanders or other officers wounded by the Sergeant’s defensive gunfire…only the guy with a knife in his hand rushing the officer .

      • 5 rds or 50, doesn’t matter. He stopped firing when the threat collapsed. He showed awareness by turning on his microphone, calling for backup and demanding others go inside. Then he showed compassion by performing CPR while waiting for paramedics. Nicely done.

        • That was primarily my point. Whether the situation required only one shot or the entire magazine, the LEO continued firing only until he perceived the threat to his own life was no longer present, and thus stopped to reassess and OODA. That’s the opposite of a (as Montana Old Guy put it) “NYPD mag dump”.

          Any time a cop has to draw his weapon and fire on another human being is an unfortunate thing. From what I observed in the cam footage, he acted superbly and with self-control.

  9. No other choice for the cop unless he let knife guy continue to wander around putting innocents at risk. Alternatives, like pepper spray, tasers or bean bags, that are less likely to be lethal, are unreliable. They are too dangerous to try unless the cop has backup armed with a gun. Even without the knife, a suspect this big would be a handful for one cop to control.

  10. Person 1, wielding a weapon with lethal potential, charges Person 2. Person 2 stops person 1 with his weapon. Fair for cops or civilians. Done.

    • Correct. And is there still anyone out there who questions the necessity for body cams?

  11. Would like to know what their standard issued rounds are and what he was carrying.

    • Looks like a G17…no idea on which rounds they are authorized to carry for duty ammunition.

  12. Why complicate matters with suicide by cop guesswork and cop white perp black crap? Cop gets called to a disturbance. Video: Cop spots perp with a knife. Perp refuses orders to put down knife. Perp advances with knife. Perp gets shot. Perp puts down knife forever. Case Closed.

  13. Officer Cohen showed great restraint right up to the time that he no longer had any choice but to shoot. He’s a great role model for all police.

  14. Clearly suicide by cop.

    I feel bad for this cop. Its going to suck for him for a while.

    If you want to kill yourself. At least have the balls to do it yourself. Don’t drag others into your own problems.

  15. Justified, plainly. and to all the idiots saying the officer should have used non-lethal options, fuck them. No one wants to get stabbed.

  16. It was RACIST, he didn’t have to shoot him! He could have shot him in the hand.


  17. Shit writing in the article. Police do not “shoot to kill” they shoot for center mass to ensure they hit the target . Watch the vid, he shot center mass placing rounds on the attackers chest.

    Kudos to the officer, he handled the situation properly and exhibited excellent shot placement.

    Now, the “black community” (whatever that is) is going to crawl out of the woodwork and claim the officer caused all of this to happen.

  18. The cop appears to back up as he shoots, that’s doable if you know there are no obstacles behind you giving the hollow points more time to work.

    Contrast this with the two friends of pwrserge who went looking for trpuble.

  19. All this video pointed out to me was the need for 2 way radio communication that does not require the use of your hand(s). Hold on mister knife wielding bad guy. I need to key my mike.WTF?

    • Tactical teams often have touchless communications but it’s impractical for patrol. The radio channel would be a complete mess if there’s more than a couple units on-duty.

      I can’t speak for every system but the one I’m familiar with has a “little red button.” In a critical event you can hit the little red button and your mic goes hot until it is turned off. Everyone can hear you (and no one else can broadcast except dispatch).This can be useful if you’re in a fight on the ground and need to call for backup but can’t hold the button down.

      But here it would be unnecessary. He had units coming at code three from when he said “step it up.” From that point until when they get there it’s just him and the suspect. Further broadcasting would just tie up the radio and probably distract him when he needs to be paying attention to the threat.

      There’s a saying I’ve heard from pilots when it comes to dealing with emergencies in a plane: fly the plane. Nothing is more important. Yelling “mayday” into a radio might be dramatic for the movies but it’s not particularly useful. If you don’t have time to talk… don’t.

      • “There’s a saying I’ve heard from pilots when it comes to dealing with emergencies in a plane: fly the plane.”

        Same for regular flying.

        There are *lots* of fatal crashes because the pilot gets distracted by something small (like futzing with the GPS, for example, or resetting a circuit breaker) and is completely oblivious to their impending crash.

        There are things that can help with avoiding that, like a gadget sounding a tone every (however many seconds) to do an instrument scan. That gets you eyes outside of the cockpit…

    • You’re right, apparently being black in America means charging a cop while brandishing a knife. Thank you for highlighting this for us.

  20. He pulled out the knife to help the officer cut the cheese and got shot for it

  21. Never bring a knife to a gunfight! Stupid is as stupid does. Seriously, the guy in this story was very lucky to be able to access his gun before he got “run thru,” because the odds favor the BLADE in most CQB battles. Just look up the Tueller Drill/Doctrine.

  22. can somebody tell me why they don’t just tell them to drop it once, before they shart shooting? how many times do they have to tell them the same thing?

    • On the assumption that you are not being sarcastic, I’ll answer.

      Before you shoot someone, given that you possess the advantage of time, distance, and/or readiness (preferably all three), the humane thing to do is give them every possible chance to save their own life before you are forced to take it. Sometimes it takes one command, sometimes a hundred. Sometimes it takes gentle conversation, sometimes shouted orders. Sometimes it only takes an obviously-aimed firearm. EVERY situation is different.

      With the advantage of time, distance, and readiness, it costs nothing at all to make repeated ‘requests’ for compliance.

      It also makes you look AWFULLY good to the witnesses, the inevitable videos, and later to the coroner’s jury.

    • When is someone with a knife an imminent deadly threat? If it’s a guy with one leg hobbling around at a hundred feet in the middle of a park with no one around him, is he a deadly threat? What about a guy in a wheelchair… going downhill?

      We can talk about stuff like the “20ft rule” but it’s all arbitrary. While the guy was backing up, might the officer have had justification to shoot? Well, depends on a jury. The officer in question obviously felt that he did not NEED to shoot at that point. When the guy charged, suicidal as though he might have been, things became much more clear.

      A good cop doesn’t look for a reason so he can kill someone, he makes sure he has justification if he needs to. He said exactly why he wasn’t shooting: he didn’t want to.

    • @carl

      Great idea…do you really want RoboCop in every uniform?

      I would rather repeat my instructions to try and gain compliance than to immediately use lethal force on someone who may be in a mental fog (drugs, anger, drunk, deaf, stupid, emotional, etc). Remember that every encounter has it’s own unique circumstances…this is where officer judgement, demeanor and training are critical.

  23. He was going to start junior college in the fall. He was a ge tale giant. He died doing what he loved. He was turning his life around. He was in a rap group that was showing promise.

  24. Beats watching Netflix.

    He definitely saved the already overburdened Maryland tax payers a few bucks.

Comments are closed.