MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis police officer is facing felony assault charges for shooting at a car full of innocent people after bar close on a busy downtown street.

Officer Efrem Hamilton, 42, was charged by summons Tuesday with second-degree assault and felony intentional discharge of a firearm, Hennepin County court documents show. If convicted of both charges, Hamilton could face up to 12 years in prison and/or a $24,000 fine.

According to a criminal complaint, Hamilton was working off-duty in downtown on Nov. 19 when he attempted to respond to a large fight and a shots fired call on the 400 block of 3rd Avenue North. Over the radio, officers said they were looking for a dark-colored sedan in the busy downtown area.

As Hamilton was responding to the call, a BMW was ordered by police to back up on 3rd Avenue, the complaint states. While backing up on the one-way street, the BMW collided with Hamilton’s squad, causing minor damage.

Immediately after the crash, Hamilton got out of his squad and fired at the BMW. None of the six people inside were hurt.

“[Hamilton] jumps out, and, three seconds, later he’s discharging his gun. That’s not justified. You can’t do that,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a news conference. “The use of deadly force by police officers has to be limited to those very rare occasions when deadly force is mandated.”

Michael Hughes was one of the passengers.

“Literally right after the tap … the officer fired the shot into the vehicle,” Hughes said. “So we’re all just terrified and frightened, like what the heck just happened here?”

In an interview with officials, Hamilton said he was aiming for the driver and feared for his life. He said he thought the BMW was the suspect car.

Hamilton is not in custody. The county attorney said the officer is expected to turn himself in soon.

Comments (5)
  1. I feared for my life, true most every time I see one of those armed thugs.

  2. Upon hearing this report, I was shocked, as I know Efram. He is far from a thug; kindness and caring of others and his family are more representative of him. This situation is very uncharacteristic of Officer Hamilton. What happened is extremely unfortunate, and I thank God no one was injured. I feel for all police officers these days, including Efram, and thank them for their service. Their job is dangerous, risky, and requires rapid decision-making that can result in human error.

  3. Build a wall around downtown. Keep the black thugs fenced into north Minneapolis and downtown where they can shoot each other in peace, without police intervention.

  4. Jen Adler says:

    Absolutely appalling that he was arrested and released within a mere 81 minutes with NO BAIL. For two felony counts. He could have easily killed an innocent young person. There is no excuse for opening fire on a car that did nothing but accidentally hit a bumper. He’s a deranged menace to society. Curious how everyone else that gets arrested for two felonies is held and must post bail but not the inept police officer. Hmmm… It’s this blatant preferential treatment that feeds the societal distrust of all police officers. Not to mention they illegally held the occupants of that car at gunpoint for 30 minutes in the street, then held them without charging them at the police station for 6 more hours (without offering them bathrooms or water). And also made the completely sober young woman that was driving the car submit to blood tests and breathalyzer. The Minneapolis Police are despicable and incapable.