MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Protesters marched against police brutality Friday, nearly a week after an officer shot a man in St. Paul.
The group met outside one of the city’s police stations, then took their message to the streets.
A St. Paul police officer shot Joseph Washington at least twice last Saturday. Body camera video shows Washington had gotten out of a dumpster and ran toward officers, naked and unarmed. Officers also deployed tasers and a K9 on him.
Washington was a suspect in a home break-in and in an earlier domestic incident. He’s now been charged with criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and assault as he recovers from his injuries in a hospital.
“It’s not about whatever happened prior to the situation,” said Toshira Garraway Allen, who’s lost a loved one to police violence and was one of the protest’s organizers. “The police don’t need to add to the pain and suffering in the community.”
Don Williams, who’s also lost a family member to police violence, said, “This man didn’t deserve to be shot.”
A source tells WCCO St. Paul Chief Todd Axtell fired the officer who shot Washington, but that didn’t satisfy many of the protesters.
“I don’t have faith he did it for the right reasons,” said Chara Blanch, one of the protesters. “I believe he probably did it because of public pressure, because he knows people are sick and tired of this being the reality over and over again.”
Protesters occupied the intersection at University and Lexington for more than half an hour as the light rail waited to pass and police vehicles with emergency lights on were stationed on all four sides.
“You better watch us get this justice that we deserve,” Allen said.
The police officer’s lawyer says Washington claimed he had a gun, and the officers’ understanding at the scene was that Washington had also used a knife during a rape earlier that night.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and the Washington County Attorney will review the case.
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