Veteran police officers from four agencies exchanged fire on April 22nd, 2020 with a 24 year old armed suspect, killing him. The officers chased the man because he allegedly stole snacks from a gas station in Mankato before fleeing the police.

Law Enforcement Officials Placed on Leave

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has identified the officers as Lt. Jeremy Brennan and Deputy James Othoudt, of the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Paul Biederman of the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office, and Officer Chris Hendrickson of the North Mankato Police Department.

All officials are placed on standard administrative leave pending charges. They were responding to a call of armed robbery at a Mankato BP gas station off highway 169 in Minnesota late in the afternoon. The clerk reported that the suspect, Austin D. Heights, had fled after picking up some snacks. He told the officers that Heights was on foot running towards the Kiwanis Recreation Area.

Heights Left Dead in the Fatal Encounter

Authorities reported that Heights had a rubber raft ready and began floating on the Minnesota River before police officers started shooting. The shootout left Heights dead at the scene. Police have recovered two separate firearms.

BCA has stated that none of the law enforcement officers had body cameras on them. However, an eye witness told the authorities that Heights had a sawed-off shotgun with him.

Officials released the dispatch radio feed late Wednesday evening. Officers were heard shouting “shots fired” two hours after the theft was reported. The officer, whose name has been withheld, said Heights fired twice before he fired back and shot him and that the body was floating.

Heights’ body has been taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy and positive identification.

Excessive Force and Police Brutality is Illegal

Extreme trauma can be caused by police violating the constitutional rights of members of public they were sworn to protect and serve. It is important to get in touch with a police brutality personal injury lawyer if rights have been infringed.

Victims that are wrongfully arrested, tased, beaten, or maced should know that they are protected by the US Constitution and federal law. The Fourth Amendment prohibits all kinds of unreasonable search and seizure involving excessive force.

Federal law 42 USC 1983 prohibits people acting under color of law to violate the constitutional rights of anyone. Police brutality personal injury attorneys can help navigate lawsuits and provide justice. No law enforcement officer should be allowed to get away with misconduct, brutality, or use of excessive force.

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