Mistaken, White Cops Had No Idea if Black Man was an Armed Suspect when They Shot Mark Henderson Moments after He Exited Motel Door, City of Woodbury Reaches Settlement


From [HERE] The city of Woodbury has agreed to settlement terms in a civil lawsuit brought by Tawana Henderson, the mother of a Black man shot and killed by three Woodbury police officers in 2012. Although the city has agreed to the terms of settlement, it has yet to be finalized.

At an April 10 Woodbury City Council meeting, city attorney Mary Tietjen reported on a March 27 closed session during which the city accepted the terms of the settlement.

"At that closed session, the City Council received information regarding the proposed settlement terms relating to the case and agreed that moving forward with the final settlement of the case would be in the best interest of the parties and the public," Tietjen said.

The terms of the settlement included the dismissal of charges against officers Natalie Bauer, Stacey Krech and Anthony Ofstead with prejudice without cost to any party, according to documents filed April 10. "Dismissed with prejudice" means the charges are dismissed permanently.

Bauer, Krech and Ofstead are all currently employed with Woodbury Public Safety, Police Commander John Altman said.

The settlement follows a November 2018 decision by the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stating a jury trial should determine the outcome of the lawsuit filed by Henderson. That decision reversed a previous ruling by a U.S. District Court judge following a February 2017 appeal in the case.

The lawsuit alleged wrongful death, excessive force and indifference of the civil rights of Mark Henderson.

Henderson, 19, was one of several people attending a party at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury in 2012 when another man, Demetrius Ballinger, pulled out a gun, robbed the guests and held them hostage.

According to police, a suspect was holding several people hostage and assaulting some of them. When Woodbury Police and the Washington County SWAT team converged on the room.

Henderson ran from the motel room and was initially fired at by officers, after which they said he dropped to the ground. But after seeing movement from his right arm and torso, they said, the officers fired at him 17 more times. Henderson was struck by 12 bullets and died shortly after. Officers fired at Henderson believing he had a weapon, but no weapon was found on him. No information was provided regarding why the police thought the black man was armed. Police saw someone come out the door and fired.