MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — No charges will be filed against five police officers who fatally shot a man who livestreamed himself being chased by police, then got out of his car and threatened officers with a knife, a Minnesota prosecutor announced Monday.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the officers from the Minneapolis suburbs of Edina and Richfield were justified in using deadly force against Brian Quinones-Rosario in September because the 30-year-old man threatened them with a knife and refused to drop it.
His younger brother said at the time that Quinones had been having suicidal thoughts.
Quinones' wife, Ashley Quinones, reacted angrily to the news and posted a series of profanity-laced messages on Facebook. In one, she wrote in all capital letters: “False reports, false statements, and the ultimate cover up.”
According to Freeman's report, Quinones intentionally committed traffic violations on Sept. 7 to get police to stop him, and he knew he was being pursued. The report says once Quinones got out of his car, he “moved aggressively” toward the officers with the knife and created an “immediate and apparent threat of death or great bodily harm.”
Richfield Officer Dylan Schultz used a stun gun on Quinones but it did not stop him. All five officers — Schultz, Edina police Officers Nicholas Pedersen and Benjamin Wenande, and Richfield police Officers Macabe Stariha and Joseph Carroll — fired their weapons. Eighteen shots were fired; seven hit Quinones.
Freeman said the officers’ use of deadly force was “necessary, proportional, and objectively reasonable” in the face of the threat and no charges are warranted.
The video livestreamed on Facebook of the final minutes of Quinones' life shows him calmly driving a car and listening to music, running at least one red light. Quinones, who is from Puerto Rico but had lived in Minnesota for many years, can be seen glancing in the rearview mirror, and sometimes rapping along with the music before he gets out of the car with what appears to be a knife.
Before starting the livestream, he posted on Facebook, "So sorry."
Squad car video released Monday shows Quinones driving erratically as he is followed by Pedersen. Quinones eventually stops and Quinones walks toward Pederson with what looks like a knife raised in his right hand and the blade pointed at the officer. Pedersen backs away with his gun aimed at Quinones, shouting "Drop the knife! Drop it! Drop the knife!”
The prosecutors' report says Quinones clenched his teeth and said, “Do it! Do it!" as he walked in front of Pedersen.
Video recorded by Schultz's squad car shows Schultz running toward Quinones and using his stun gun. Quinones turns and moves toward Schultz. The prosecutors’ report says Quinones shouted “Kill me, kill me!” though The Associated Press could not make that out in the video. It appears that the initial shots are fired while Schultz is deploying his stun gun, and two second later officers fire again, multiple times. Quinones falls to the ground and drops the knife.
Toxicology tests revealed Quinones was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The report says Quinones’ wife was at the scene. She told police she had been following him and that she believed he was suicidal.
In one of her posts on Facebook Monday, Ashley Quinones wrote in all capital letters: “Your reports contradict themselves ... Were we watching the same video??? Also, I was there!!! You cant lie to me!!!"
Quinones’ shooting sparked a protest and raised questions about whether police were too quick to shoot, and whether they could have used another means to stop him or help him if he was in crisis.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has had several police-involved shootings in recent years that have sparked angry protests, including the 2016 killing of a black driver, Philando Castile, by a police officer in the Twin Cities suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile's girlfriend streamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting live on Facebook.