August 09, 2018 06:29 PM
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has released body camera footage from the St. Paul police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man in October of last year, as well as surveillance video from the area.
The release comes on the same day that the Ramsey County Attorney's Office announced the use of force by two officers was justified.
John Choi's office announced that decision Thursday afternoon.
The Oct. 5, 2017, shooting killed 28-year-old Phumee Lee. The two officers involved were identified by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as Officer Daniel Gleason and Officer Jordan Wild.
In an email memo, Choi said, "While the loss of life is tragic, I agree with your recommendation that the use of deadly force by St. Paul Police Officers Wild and Gleason was justified pursuant to law and no criminal charges are appropriate."
According to the BCA, officers were called on Oct. 5 to a residence in the 400 block of Earl Street.
There, they were able to locate a woman who said she was shot at while calling 911. The woman was not injured. St. Paul police said the woman reported Lee fired two shots at her, and five children were still inside the home.
After making sure the children were safe, officers began searching for the suspect.
According to the BCA, officers located Lee walking south of the home on Earl Street. Lee ignored officers commands to stop and fled.
When officers caught up with Lee, he pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the two officers, according to the BCA. Multiple shots were fired. However, no officers were hit.
The body camera footage from both Gleason and Wild shows officers pursuing Lee on foot, demanding to see his hands and ordering him to stop several times before opening fire. A silver handgun is then seen lying on the ground as officers approach. Officers are also heard stressing keeping the body cameras running.
A surveillance photo from the scene appears to show a flash from Lee's handgun as he faces officers.
In an interview with the BCA, also released Thursday, Gleason said he felt Lee was a threat to the safety of officers and others in the area.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell issued a statement following the announcement of the county attorney's decision Thursday:
"This tragic incident shows just how dangerous being a police officer can be," the statement read. "Incidents can turn on a dime, forcing officers to make split-second decisions to protect themselves and others.
"While no one is celebrating today, and my heart goes out to Mr. Lee’s family, I am deeply grateful that the officers involved can take another step toward healing from being forced to confront life-threatening danger.
"I’m also grateful that our community now knows the truth: Mr. Lee’s actions forced officers to protect themselves and others. Too often, in tragic situations like this, some people rush to judgment, come to conclusions not based on facts, and succumb to their emotions, which can sometimes interfere with reality.
"In my 30 years of serving as a police officer, I have never met an officer who wants to take another person’s life. But in the face of incredible danger, sometimes there simply is no other option."
Updated: August 09, 2018 06:29 PM
Created: August 09, 2018 12:52 PM
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