(NEW YORK) — Footage from the body cameras of police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man in Burnsville, Minnesota, in March has been released.
The Burnsville Police Department released the videos Tuesday after an announcement from the Dakota County Attorney’s Office that a grand jury had found three Burnsville police officers involved in the incident “legally justified” in their use of “deadly force,” according to a news release from the county attorney’s office.
The fatal shooting happened in the early morning of March 17, after an individual later identified as Map Kong — a 38-year-old man from Chaska, Minnesota — was observed by Burnsville police officers “erratically bouncing around while aggressively waving a large dagger-style knife” in the driver’s seat of a vehicle parked at a Burnsville McDonald’s, officials said.
In body cam videos of the incident, Kong appears to ignore repeated orders by officers to drop the knife. At one point, officers can be seen breaking the passenger-side windows and deploying a stun gun on Kong. He is then seen running from the vehicle toward a highway, still carrying the knife, before being shot numerous times and falling to the ground.
“When Mr. Kong left his vehicle — still holding a large dagger — and began running toward the busy morning rush-hour traffic of Highway 13, our officers had exhausted other options,” Burnsville Chief of Police Eric Gieseke wrote in an open letter. “Fearing for the safety of our residents, they discharged their weapons.”
An autopsy showed that Kong died from multiple gunshot wounds, and toxicology tests revealed that Kong’s blood and urine tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine, authorities said. A knife and sheath were recovered at the scene, officials added.
Burnsville’s police chief said that while “the outcome was tragic,” he hoped the release of the videos and the investigation report by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would help people put themselves “in the position of these officers.”
“I also hope that you will be left with the same conclusion as the grand jury — that our officers acted out of necessity,” Gieske said.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom added in a news release, “Unfortunately, there are times when officers are placed in a situation where they must use deadly force to protect themselves and the public.”
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