Witnesses Dispute Police Account In Fatal Shooting of Black Minneapolis Man

Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Badue called for the attention of the crowd gathered at North 48th Avenue and Camden Avenue North before leading a prayer in response to an officer-involved shooting which took place hours earlier Saturday, June 23, 2018 in Minneapolis. Police in Minneapolis say officers shot and killed a man who was firing a handgun as he walked down a city street. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota state authorities are investigating after Minneapolis police shot and killed a black man they say had been firing a handgun as he walked outside.

Roughly 300 people gathered for a Sunday afternoon protest at a police station and a vigil near the north Minneapolis shooting scene was set for the evening, the Star Tribune reported. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting, said in a statement that it will release the names of the officers who shot their weapons after “both” have provided interviews.

“At the end of the day, we know that no matter what transpired in the moments leading up to the shooting, we know with certainty that the outcome is a tragedy,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. He didn’t march in a Sunday parade celebrating gay pride to focus on the shooting.

Authorities said two calls to 911 reported that a man was firing a handgun into the air and the ground. The bureau said he was sitting on a curb with a woman when police arrived, and then ran from officers while holding a black and silver gun.

Minneapolis police pursued and then shot the man, who was pronounced dead Saturday at the scene. The BCA said officials recovered a black and silver handgun from the area.

The bureau said officers’ body cameras recorded the shooting, but squad car cameras did not. Both officers are on administrative leave.

Agents are interviewing witnesses and participants in the incident. The bureau said it would perform a “thorough investigation” and turn over the findings for review to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

Some witnesses have disputed the police account of the shooting, saying the man did not have a gun.

Among the witnesses who said the man did not have a gun was Eva Watson. She told the Star Tribune that the man was starting to comply with officers when police shocked him with a Taser. Watson said he then started running and yelling, “Don’t shoot!” and she then heard more than a dozen shots.

“He didn’t have a gun or anything,” Watson said. “He was just sitting there. He got killed for nothing.”

Katya Kelly, the sister of the man’s girlfriend, said he had a bottle in his hand as he and his girlfriend walked to her house. The Minneapolis NAACP wrote in a Facebook post that witnesses said he had been drinking out of a cup. The group called for body camera footage to be released.

“Honestly, I don’t know what’s going through the community’s minds, but I do know that we continue to be traumatized one time after another,” Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Badue said, according to Minnesota Public Radio. “It’s extremely unfortunate, and we just want answers.”

The man is the 30th person killed by police in Minneapolis since 2000, according to the Star Tribune.

The head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis didn’t immediately return a telephone message requesting comment from The Associated Press.

Minneapolis has been rocked by the past fatal police shootings of 24-year-old Jamar Clark in November 2015 and 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July 2017.

Demonstrators congregated Sunday outside the Fourth Precinct police station, which was the site of protests following Clark’s death. Activists earlier in the day halted the Twin Cities Pride parade in Minneapolis to protest police shootings.

Back to top