No charges will be filed against the Austin policemen who allegedly shot Kokou Christopher Fiafonou, a 38-year-old Togolese, last December.
According to US media reports, Olmsted County District Attorney Mark Ostrem, whose office reviewed the case, wrote in a letter to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Monday that the evidence does not support the criminal charges against the officer Zachary Gast or one of the other officers involved in the shooting.
“In this case, the facts conclusively establish that Officer Gast acted reasonably in choosing to use lethal force,” Ostrem wrote.
The Mower County District Attorney’s Office has asked Olmsted County to review the case to avoid any conflict of interest.
According to the same sources, Austin Police Chief David McKichan declined to comment and referred to an Austin Police Department press release announcing the decision.
Fiafonou died of multiple gunshot wounds around 9:30 p.m. December 23 after a showdown with the police that lasted more than 24 hours.
According to Ostrem’s letter, police responded to a call on the afternoon of December 22 following complaints about a man walking through traffic with a knife. Officers say they found Fiafonou holding a knife and tried to engage him, but Fiafonou retreated to a nearby apartment in the 1200 block NW. 4th ave.
At the apartment, police tried to negotiate with Fiafonou the next day, occasionally firing pepper spray and less-lethal ammunition, but to no avail, Ostrem wrote.
Fiafonou drove to a Kwik Trip gas station the following night, where he confronted officers following him in the parking lot, armed with a “long knife”, Ostrem said. His letter says Gast shot Fiafonou seven times after repeatedly warning him to drop the knife, stop, or get to the ground.
Although Austin police did not have body cameras at the time of the shooting, Ostrem wrote that video evidence collected from the store and squad cars “paint very clearly the final minutes of the encounter.”
The victim, who according to corroborating information, had a mental disorder, was from the Republic of Togo.
Source : icilome.com