High-ranking BCA official facing new scrutiny over shooting at murder suspect

High-ranking BCA official facing new scrutiny over shooting at murder suspect

High-ranking BCA official facing new scrutiny over shooting at murder suspect

A high-ranking official at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is facing new scrutiny for his involvement in a manhunt several years ago.

Deputy Superintendent Scott Mueller is accused of shifting his statements after he shot a murder suspect in 2017.

Mueller was cleared of any wrongdoing at the time, but recent depositions in a civil lawsuit raise new questions about the incident.

“I see inconsistencies and contradictions,” said Eric Rice, who filed the complaint Tuesday with Internal Affairs at DPS. Rice represents Eddie Frazier, who is serving a more than two-decade prison sentence for killing his girlfriend.

At the time of the manhunt, Mueller was a special agent for the BCA and assisted other officers in locating Frazier. He has since been promoted to second in command at the agency and is in charge of officer use-of-force cases, according to the agency’s website.

The complaint alleges Mueller used “unreasonable use of force” and gave “misleading or false statements” when he told investigators that he fired at Frazier because his car was racing directly towards him and other officers. Frazier suffered a wound in his arm.

“What grabbed my attention when I was first evaluating this case is that there were statements by other officers at the scene,” Rice said. “One of their statements says that Mr. Frazier’s vehicle is essentially sideways in the street, so not driving towards the officers but sideways. Perpendicular to them.”

Jill Oliveira, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that Mueller’s use of force “was independently investigated by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and reviewed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which declined to pursue any charges.”

But in a recent deposition, Rice said Mueller appeared to focus his explanation of the shooting on the way Frazier put his hands in the air as the reason for pulling the trigger. Mueller indicated he thought Frazier might have a weapon.

A use-of-force expert – hired by Frazier’s team – and one of the officers at the scene both said they saw no reason for deadly force, according to a deposition and expert report.

“It’s a possibility that Deputy Mueller misremembered things or somehow his recollection changed, which again, can happen,” Rice said. “But it’s also consistent with changing the justification for use of deadly force.”

DPS notes the complaint is part of an active lawsuit that the agency is actively defending.