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Family of Kobe Dimock-Heisler files wrongful death lawsuit against Brooklyn Center, police officers

Mid-morning headlines from Aug. 30, 2022
Mid-morning headlines from Aug. 30, 2022 02:32

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. -- The family of Kobe Dimock-Heisler, a 21-year-old man with autism who was killed by police in 2019, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against Brooklyn Center and four of its officers.

The lawsuit alleges that the officers violated Dimock-Heisler's 4th and 14th Amendment rights, along with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The City of Brooklyn Center developed and maintained policies that predisposed officers to excessive use of force, documents say, leading to a culture that eventually caused Dimock-Heisler's constitutional rights to be violated.

Dimock-Heisler was fatally shot by police on Aug. 31, 2019. His grandfather had called police after the two had argued about a Wendy's order and Dimock-Heisler picked up a hammer and small knife. His grandfather eventually called off officers after deciding they would not be helpful, telling them to "forget it."

Three Brooklyn Center officers - Brandon Akers, Cody Turner, and Steve Holt - along with trainee Joseph Vu arrived at the house on the 5900 block of Halifax Avenue North that afternoon. The lawsuit alleges that Akers turned away a nationally-recognized officer who was an expert in handling domestic calls from the scene. 

Dimock-Heisler's grandfather informed Akers that he was autistic and was afraid of police taking him from his home. Documents go on to say that Akers did not inform the others of Dimock-Heisler's fear. Vu spoke with the 21-year-old, who became increasingly frustrated and eventually attempted to run towards the door.

Turner and Akers deployed their TASERs. When Dimock-Heisler tried to run from the electric shock, Turner yelled "Knife, knife knife," and Akers and Turner fired their guns.The lawsuit says neither of the officers warned Dimock-Heisler before using the TASER or deadly force. A knife was found near Dimock-Heisler's body.

The lawsuit says that Dimock-Heisler was "not a threat" and that Akers "acted with deliberate indifference" when he dismissed the domestic situation expert and failed to tell the other officers of Dimock-Heisler's fear of police.

In August of 2020, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he would not file charges against Akers or Turner because they had a "reasonable fear" that the two other officers were in danger, as Dimock-Heisler was holding a knife.

"We miss Kobe every day," said his mother Amity Dimock. "Our beautiful son should never have lost his life at the hands of police."

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