No charges filed in St. Paul police shooting of armed man

October 5, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota prosecutors said Friday that they have declined to file charges against two St. Paul police officers who fatally shot an armed man in August.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office said Officers Matthew Jones and Vincent Adams were justified in the Aug. 5 shooting of William Hughes, who did not comply with orders to drop a gun before he momentarily pointed it the officers and was shot. Prosecutors found the officers believed their lives or the lives of others were at risk, and it was reasonable for them to believe Hughes was a danger.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi wrote in an email to attorneys who reviewed the evidence that the officers’ use of deadly force “was objectively reasonable given all of the circumstances that they knew, heard and saw before firing their weapons.”

Officers were called to the home by Hughes’ roommate after Hughes, 43, became angry, fired shots into a wall and pointed a gun at his roommate’s head. Body camera footage released in August shows officers were on an enclosed porch when Hughes came out of the house with the gun in his right hand. He momentarily pointed it at officers before he was shot.

In August, Police Chief Todd Axtell took the unusual step of releasing the body camera footage before the investigation was finished, saying at the time that the shooting generated “widespread rumors and falsehoods” that could erode public trust in police and place officers in danger.

Hughes was a member of the White Earth Nation, an Ojibwe band based in northern Minnesota. Relatives told investigators he’d been suicidal over a terminal illness that limited his quality of life.

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