Judge Dismisses Suit Against Officer Who Shot, Killed Victim

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A federal judge has ordered the city of Chaska to pay $1 million to the family of a woman killed by police in 2014 – and hundreds of thousands in attorney fees.

The family of Dawn Pfister sued the city, saying Pfister was a hostage and was needlessly shot and killed by Chaska Police on Feb. 7, 2014.

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Pfister was in a car driven by her boyfriend, Mathew Serbus. Their car rear-ended another vehicle, and they fled the scene. Police began a high-speed chase.

The vehicle later lost control and crashed after driving over stop sticks.

When Mathew Serbus finally comes out he is holding 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.”

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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 Hennepin County Attorney’s office reviewed the case and declined to file any charges against the officers. The federal judge also dismissed the family’s suit against Brady Juell, who was the officer who shot and killed Pfister.

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In addition to paying the family, the judge ordered the city to pay $700,000 in attorney’s fees and $50,000 in other fees.