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Brother of Idaho man killed in officer-involved shooting criticizes deescalation tactics of deputies

48-year-old Michael Trappett was shot and killed by Clearwater County deputies in January. KREM 2 obtained the body cam video showing the incident.

CLEARWATER COUNTY, Idaho — The following story contains disturbing details and body cam footage from an officer involved shooting. Viewer and reader discretion is advised.

KREM 2 has obtained the deputy body cam video showing the moment a Clearwater County man was shot and killed in front of his elderly parents.

48-year-old Michael Trappett was drunk and armed with a knife. Prosecutors deemed the shooting was justified while Trappett's family insists he was only a threat to himself.

It was a dark, cold January night when Clearwater County deputies responded to a situation at a home in Orofino, Idaho. A woman reported that her son was drunk, armed with a knife and threatening to harm himself.

For the next 22 minutes, deputies searched cars and several outbuildings, but Trappett was nowhere to be found. They eventually went back to the house and spoke with Michael's worried mother. Moments later, Michael appeared, visibly intoxicated and cursing at the deputies. 

Deputies repeatedly yelled at Michael to drop the large kitchen knife in his right hand, but he refused. Deputies followed him to the back side of the house. Body cam video shows one of the deputies getting close to Michael. He turns around and is shot 15 times.  

Based on the video, it appears Michael died soon, if not immediately after the shooting.

Michael Trappett's oldest brother, Bill, says his body was still there when he got to his parents house four hours after the shooting.

"It was way excessive," Trappett said. "15 shots and he wasn't even turning around and he wasn't even fighting them."

The angle from the female deputy's body camera isn't as clear, but you can see Michael stop and hold up the kitchen knife.

"She was not trying to deescalate," Trappett said. "And if you look where the male officer was, he had significant distance between him and where my brother was."

Bill says his brother struggled with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. He's clearly drunk while talking to deputies, but Bill insists he was only a threat to himself. He thinks deputies need more deescalation training.

"They should have had plenty of training to deescalate it," Trappett said. "I mean there is absolutely no reason that he should have been shot."

Both of the deputies involved have been cleared. The Latah County prosecutor deemed the shooting was justified. Bill says his parents will never be the same after seeing Michael shot and killed in front of them. They blame themselves for his death since they called the police that night.

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