Muted response to officer involved shooting lends itself to justice
On Wednesday evening 7/13/22, Minneapolis Police were called to an apartment building at 904 21st Ave So. on a report of a man, later identified as Andrew Tekle Sundberg, 20, shooting a gun in the building. When the police arrived, Sundberg began firing rounds through the wall and door of the apartment he was in. Officers worked to evacuate building residents while containing Sundberg in the apartment. SWAT and Crisis Negotiators were called to the scene.
Negotiations with Sundberg worked towards a peaceful surrender and included bringing Sundberg’s parents to the scene to communicate with him. Unfortunately for all involved approximately 6 hours into the standoff, for reasons that are not yet public, Sundberg was shot and later died at Hennepin Healthcare, HCMC.
KSTP quoted an anonymous witness as saying this of the police response:
A check of Minnesota court records does not show a criminal history or civil commitment history for Sundberg, though this remains inconclusive.
MPD has reported that two SWAT officers fired at Sundberg, and that the BCA is conducting the follow up investigation into the officer involved shooting. Sundberg was black, and the two officers are reportedly white.
KSTP has reported that the two of officers who fired were also on the SWAT detail that resulted in the officer involved shooting death of Amir Locke in February 2022, though neither officer fired rounds in the Locke case.
The case has elements that have in the recent past led to protest, and sadly to political pandering. Calm appears to be prevailing.
As of this morning there have been no comments by Governor Walz, Attorney General Ellison, Senators Klobuchar and Smith, or County Attorney Freeman. There have been no marches or protests announced by BLM or Communities Against Police Brutality.
Mayor Frey made the following statement, which included recognizing the diligent work of the police:
The muted and controlled response, up to this point, is a positive development — one that is more, not less likely to provide for actual justice. The calm will allow for a proper investigation without the undue political influence that has been a part of recent investigations.
Sundberg and his family deserve that, the public deserves that, and the officers who had to use deadly force to resolve the incident deserve that.
Officers don’t go to work hoping to use force, let alone deadly force. Officers who continue to answer calls for service not only risk their personal safety, but also put themselves at increasing risk of losing their livelihoods, getting criminally prosecuted, or worse. They deserve a calm, fair, impartial investigation, void of any political influence. They deserve due process.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the clear message coming from political leaders in recent years. Even when facts have been clear, many have failed to support officers in these extremely difficult situations. Case in point, Attorney General Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Freeman issued a joint statement after determining the two officers in the Amir Locke case acted within the law. Their statement was simply inappropriate.
We must support our police officers and reject political pandering and the undue political pressure that has permeated recent officer involved deadly force cases. True justice and a healthy criminal justice system depends on it.