From [HERE] and [HERE] St. Paul police officers were justified in shooting and killing William "Billy" Hughes on the front porch of his home last August as they responded to a report of a man firing shots in the house, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office said Friday.
The use of deadly force by officers Vincent Adams and Matthew Jones was "objectively reasonable given all of the circumstances that they knew, heard and saw before firing their weapons," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi wrote in a memo describing his decision not to seek charges.
"The body camera footage that captured the death of William Hughes is traumatic and difficult to watch," he added. "This tragedy is something all of us wish had never happened." [apology is always political and always an image saver]
Hughes, 43, was killed early Sunday morning, Aug. 5. A 911 caller reported at about 2:30 a.m. that someone had fired multiple shots on the second floor of house on the 900 block of St. Anthony Avenue in the city's Summit-University neighborhood. The 911 caller then hung up without providing additional information. Cops, of course, do not hear 911 calls.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi [in photo] exonerated the officers after he stated that the use of force by “Vincent Adams and Matthew Jones was objectively reasonable given all of the circumstances that they knew.” Investigation documents sent to Choi from the BCA described police officers responding to a 911 call of shots fired.
The officers parked their vehicles some distance and moved on the house with guns drawn and flashlights shining into the dark porch before knocking on one of the two doors. Police claim they heard someone behind the second door police did not knock on say, “I’m going to kill you.” After hearing the voice, they moved back and waited in the dark on the porch.
On Adams' body cam video, he can be heard knocking on the door. The officers don't identify themselves or say police at that point.
The door opened and police switch their flashlights yelling a multitude of commands as Billy Hughes walked slowly onto the porch both his hands at his sides. The commands of “Put your hands up“, garbled over each other, followed by “put it down“. Billy raised his right hand over his head. Police then fired “21 rounds” from “7-10 feet away.”
The footage shows the officers walking up to the house in the 900 block of St. Anthony Avenue at 2:30 a.m. In the body camera video, officers Vince Adams and Matt Jones were recorded yelling “Put your hands up” as the door opens onto the unlit porch. Billy walks out as the police continue to yell at him, and he turns to face the police officers. In his right hand he holds the pistol. Both officers continue to yell for him to put his hands up. One officers changes his words to “put it down.”
Billy raises his right hand as the pistol travels up, barrel towards a police officer, before Hughes’ hand comes to rest up near his head, the barrel pointed away, with Billy showing the pistol’s profile to the police. Police then fire, killing Billy Hughes.
As Deana Waukaz stated, nowhere in the video do officers announce themselves, and since both officers had their flashlights aimed at Billy when he moved out onto the unlit porch where officers waited after they knocked on a door, it’s unclear if Billy Hughes can see the police uniforms.
Melissa Waukazo, Hughes’ half sister, said she was angered when she saw the video.
“He did have a gun, but he did what they asked him to do and … they still shot and killed him,” she said Friday.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, founder of Racial Justice Network, wrote on social media on Friday: “Do you agree with the official police narrative on what happened to Billy Hughes? This is highly disturbing to say the least.”
She added later that the “mere presence of a gun (if that’s what was in his hand) does not automatically pose a threat.” [MORE]
The memo also said the BCA traced the source of the 911 call to a man who was a friend of Hughes who'd been sharing the second floor room in the house for several months and told investigators that minutes before he called 911, Hughes had fired two shots into the wall without warning and then put the gun barrel to his friend's head asking, "How many rounds do you think are left in this gun?"
Choi said his decision not to charge the officers came after reviewing evidence collected by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and from the opinions of two outside experts asked to review the case.
"The officers' actions preceding and during the fatal encounter," he added, "are consistent with commonly-accepted police practices and training.
One of the outside experts, Mike Quinn, a former police officer who has testified for the prosecution in use-of-force cases, said the officers did "what they had to do.
"They backed up when they knew the guy was coming from that porch and tried to create some distance which would have given them a little bit bigger safety factor," Quinn said. "And certainly, they could have shot sooner."
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, a Black strawboss, issued a statement Friday saying he supports Choi's decision after a "thorough, transparent and timely investigation."
After the August 5 police shooting, protests led by local indigenous community members shut down an intersection in front of the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, and the next day rallied in front of the St. Paul Western District police station before marching to Billy’s home.
Family members have called to question the police actions saying that Billy’s life didn’t need to end that day. Some of Billy Hughes’ family feels there are questions left to be answered, and last Unicorn Riot heard they planned to move forward with a civil suit.