MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The family of a woman shot and killed by police on Highway 212 last year is suing Chaska Police.
The lawsuit says that Dawn Pfister was a hostage and was needlessly shot and killed by Chaska Police on Feb. 7, 2014.
Pfister was in a car driven by her boyfriend, Mathew Serbus, last February. Their car rear ended another vehicle, and they fled the scene. Police began a high-speed chase.
Video from a state patrol squad car and a Carver County squad car show the chase of their small red sedan.
The video from a traffic camera shows the sedan running over stop sticks, and video from a passerby shows at least one of the front tires blown out.
Moments later, the driver loses control and crashes. An officer is recorded on squad car video yelling at the driver.
“Get out of the car or I’ll shoot! Get out of the car! Get out of the car! Get out of the car or I will kill you!” the officer said.
You can also hear officers wondering if the driver is armed.
“He’s got something in his right hand but I can’t tell if it’s a gun. You draw it, I’ll kill you! Get out of the car so we can render aid if needed,” the officer said.
When Mathew Serbus finally comes out he is holding Dawn Pfister in front of him, using her as an apparent human shield. You can hear one of the officers say, “[It] looks to be a hostage situation.”
Dawn Pfister appears to follow the order to get down, only to have Serbus pull her back up. One of the officers can be heard saying, “It’s a knife!”
Pfister family attorney Bob Bennett has seen the video of the actual shooting. He says moments before she was shot, Pfister grabbed the knife from the mortally-wounded Serbus.
But Bennett says she posed no threat to officers.
“He’s on the ground. She’s on the ground with him. She sits up and … she is shot in the chest three times,” Bennett said.
The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of Pfister’s two young children.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s office reviewed the case and declined to file any charges against the officers.
Jon Iverson, the attorney for the city of Chaska, says he’s confident the court will make the same decision with this lawsuit, and the actions of the Chaska officers will be vindicated.
Mathew Serbus had a lengthy criminal history. Pfister had a prior drug arrest.