ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter made his first public comments Tuesday on the weekend police shooting that left a man dead, calling for the timely release of the officers’ body camera footage.
Earlier in the day, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency investigating the shooting, released the name of the man who was killed, identifying him as William Hughes.
At an afternoon press conference, Carter called for the release of the body camera footage once the BCA completes all key interviews and Hughes’ relatives have had a chance to view the video.
“I have asked Chief [Todd] Axtell to work with the BCA to ensure that these two conditions are met as soon as possible, and to release both the 911 call recording and the body camera footage to the public immediately thereafter,” Carter said.
Axtell said in a statement released after the press conference that the video will likely be released by his department in the next 10 days.
“Releasing the video any sooner could obstruct our ability to reach the truth,” Axtell said.
FULL VIDEO: Mayor Carter’s Press Conference
The mayor’s response to the fatal police shooting resembles that taken by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. After the fatal police shooting of Thurman Blevins in June, he called for the release of body camera footage once key interviews were completed and the family had seen the footage. In that case, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to pursue charges against the officers.
Also on Tuesday, the BCA released the names of the St. Paul officers who shot Hughes: Vincent Adams and Matthew Jones. They are are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure following the use of fatal force.
While the circumstances around the Sunday morning shooting remain unclear, the BCA says it happened around 2:30 a.m. at an apartment complex in St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood. Adams and Jones responded to a call of someone firing a gun in the complex and encountered Hughes on the building’s enclosed porch. At some point, the officers fired shots. Hughes died at the scene.
“Without question, our city has experienced trauma and tragedy this week,” Carter said. “My heart goes out to Mr. Hughes’ family, the men and women of the St. Paul Police Department, and all of our neighbors and community members who are grieving and processing this loss.”
Community members, and groups like Native Lives Matter, have called for more information in the shooting, including the release of body camera footage. NLM says Hughes was 45 years old, and known in the community as “Billy.”
Paulette Quinn knows how the family of Billy Hughes is feeling.
“It’s too hard to explain. I lost my son three years ago and we’re still trying to get justice for him,” Quinn said.
Her son, Phillip, was killed in 2015 by St. Paul Police during an apparent mental health crisis. Law enforcement said he had charged at the officer with the screwdriver before the fatal shots were fired.
Quinn joined dozens of others Tuesday night who raised their voices to make their message heard, carrying a sign with Billy’s name on one side and her son’s on the other.
“I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know what else to say. I can only come to the rallies and hope that someone else can get justice,” Quinn said.