MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says he will not prosecute a Minneapolis police officer for the fatal shooting of Mario Benjamin last August.
The announcement comes after an extensive investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Freeman says, "the evidence presented to our office does not support filing charges against officer Jason Wolff."
On August 2, Minneapolis police officers were alerted that ShotSpotter technology detected a gunshot near the intersection of 25th Avenue North and Emerson Avenue.
On scene they found a woman lying in the middle of the street.
Law enforcement says Mario Benjamin was hovering over her motionless body. Investigators later learned that the woman was his former romantic partner and the mother of his two children. All four of her children were at the scene when the shooting happened.
Police say the woman was planning to relocate to North Dakota with her four children. A fight erupted between her and Benjamin on that Friday, and he fired a gun at her twice, striking her in the upper right chest once.
The gunshot caused a spinal cord injury that temporally paralyzed her from the waist down.
When police had first arrived on scene they initially thought that Benjamin was assisting the woman.
Benjamin soon stood up while they attended to her, "and they realized a tan pistol was in his right hand -- concluding that he had shot the woman."
Officers then told him to drop the gun, but their commands were ignored. Wolff fired six shots at Benjamin, striking him at least five times, a release says.
Toxicology test results later revealed that Benjamin had amphetamine, methamphetamine, naproxen and THC in his system at the time of the shooting.
Freeman released a statement following the announcement:
"We have determined that the deadly force used by Minneapolis Police Officer Jason Wolff was not criminal and was objectively reasonable and necessary in order to protect himself, Minneapolis Police Officer Davis, the woman, and her children. Mario Benjamin was a dangerous individual. He senselessly shot his former partner in front of their children. The gunshot wound left the woman paralyzed from the waist down for a significant period of time. He also refused to submit to repeated police requests to drop his weapon. The evidence mandates that we not file charges."
"I want to extend my deepest sympathy to the woman and her children during this difficult time. The shooting by Benjamin caused tremendous grief for everyone involved. Officer Wolff's actions saved the woman and protected her children."
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