Suspect shot dead in alley while running from police

What led to a man’s death? NCAVF asked to assist investigation

In the days immediately following protests and blocked streets and subways, leaders scrambled to investigate and communicate the results to the public as soon as possible. NCAVF was asked to help.

One officer said the suspect was pulling out a gun and he had no choice but to shoot him in the back.

Another officer said the suspect was turning to shoot and that is why the officer fired his weapon.

Evidence showed the suspect was shot in the back.

You want a recipe for protests? This was it.

A dead man shot in the back. The two pursuing officers were white; the suspect black.
Some neighbors said the fleeing man wasn’t carrying a gun.
The city was in upheaval — protesters claimed police brutality, closed streets, blocked subways.

Time was of the essence.

 

The suspect was shooting his weapon into the air and into the ground. And as officers arrived he ran away. Officers yelled to drop his weapon, and he yelled back that it was “back there.”

Local and state law enforcement agencies became involved in the investigation. The mayor of Minneapolis, the county attorney, and the governor of Minnesota closely monitored the situation.

Evidence From Two Body Worn Cameras

Two body worn cameras recorded the incident, but the video was difficult to analyze because it was very shaky as officers and suspect were running at full speed.

NCAVF was contacted by the state of Minnesota’s police oversight bureau to analyze and enhance video and audio from the officers’ cameras. They wanted an objective 3rd party to be involved in the investigation. Would details recorded by the body cameras help investigators understand the incident better?

What was the suspect yelling as he ran away?

Was he pulling out a gun in the moments prior to being shot, as the officers claimed? 

Could NCAVF analyze and clarify the evidence to help determine what led the suspect to be shot in the back?

The mayor of Minneapolis wanted to release the raw body camera video as soon as possible in order to show full transparency to the citizens, to contain rumors and speculation and help quell protests and violence. Other officials from law enforcement agencies wanted more time to interview witnesses and conduct an investigation before outside information contaminated witness memories.

 


After a very busy week at NCAVF, the forensic work was completed, and authorities of Minnesota released our work to the press. Soon after, the County Attorney announced that no charges would be filed against the officers.

Forensic investigation by NCAVF

NCAVF went through the evidence frame by frame to stabilize the two shaky officer worn videos, synchronize them to play side by side in a timeline, and clarify the audio. After that, NCAVF analyzed key moments and sequences in slow motion, exploring whether the suspect was carrying a gun and if he threatened the officers or bystanders with his actions.

In addition, NCAVF analyzed audio to understand when shots were fired, how many shots were fired, and who fired them.

 

 

In the end, NCAVF’s forensic work was released to the press, the mayor of Minneapolis held a heart felt press conference, and the County Attorney announced that no charges would be brought on the officers.

This complicated and time sensitive investigation was completed in one week, one of the quickest turnaround times we have ever faced.