MINNEAPOLIS (NYTIMES) – The Minneapolis Police Department released body camera footage Thursday (Dec 31) that shed new light on a fatal police shooting the night before, the first killing by a city police officer since George Floyd’s death in the spring.
The 28-second video shows a chaotic scene in which several police cars are blocking a driver from leaving the parking lot of a gas station. As an officer walks toward the car and yells for the driver to put his hands up, the man appears to raise something to his window and a loud bang can be heard. The driver’s window shatters, someone curses and the officer ducks for cover.
About two seconds later, the officer fires a shot at the man, followed by four more. About a dozen shots can be heard in all, but it is not clear from the video who fired the others.
Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that the officers had been conducting a “weapons investigation” when they stopped the car, and that a weapon was later found inside the sedan. Mayor Jacob Frey said the driver who was killed was a young Somali man.
The police chief had vowed to quickly release the footage as a small group of protesters arrived at the scene in the hours after the shooting, saying he would not tolerate destructive demonstrations like the ones that took hold of the city for several nights after the police killed Floyd in May.
But after the shooting Wednesday night, protesters left the scene after only a few hours as temperatures dropped to single digits.
Mr Arradondo said Thursday that he believed the body camera footage showed the man firing first at the officers.
The incident began when police tried to stop the vehicle in a parking lot of a gas station and car wash, about 1 mile from where Floyd was killed. The chief said the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The video released Thursday begins with an officer stepping out of a vehicle and walking toward the driver of a white sedan who appears to be trying to flee. As the sedan pulls several feet away from the officer, the officer keeps moving toward the car and yells for the occupants to put their hands up. The gunshots can be heard after the driver puts the car in reverse and then stops.
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