Khaleel Thompson, an 18-year-old who's been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, remains hospitalized two weeks after being shot multiple times by Crystal police officers.
On Tuesday night, about 30 of the young man's friends, family members and protesters marched into the Crystal City Council meeting seeking to have their voices heard.
Naomi Thompson, Khaleel's mother, told council members, the mayor and other city officials that her son's friends called police the night before the shooting and "made it clear he was mentally ill." The friends told police Thompson was talking about wanting to die, but instead of helping him, the officers just left.
"Why did they leave?" she asked. "Why did they not help him? Why did they not take him in?
"The cops say they were in imminent danger; they put themselves in danger," she said. "His life matters."
Thompson was among a dozen people who repeatedly asked the council for answers. None were forthcoming, but Mayor Jim Adams told the crowd, "We are here to listen."
The protesters demanded that police release the dashboard video, body camera footage and ballistics report from the shooting on the morning of May 24. The protesters also want the four officers involved to be charged, and they seek "more resources for those experiencing a mental health crisis." Several said they don't trust the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and want a truly independent investigation of the shooting.
According to the BCA's account of the incident, officers confronted Thompson in Bassett Creek Park about 9 a.m. He pointed a pellet gun at the officers, after being told to put down the weapon. One of the officers fired nonlethal rounds before the other three opened fire, hitting Thompson in the brain, spinal cord and abdomen.
Protesters said Thompson was shot more than 18 times.
"Hunters don't shoot an animal 18 times," said protester Curtis Avent.
Naomi Thompson said after the meeting that her son has a tracheotomy tube and has limited mobility. He is getting physical therapy in hopes of improvement. Every time she visits him in the hospital, she said, she leaves in tears.
"His life is never going to be the same," Thompson said.
Other speakers at Tuesday night's meeting talked of their fear of the police.
"Who are we supposed to call when we need help?" several people asked.
Bill Hart of the General Defense Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World said police officers have to be held accountable.
"Either you hold them accountable," he said of the police, "or we will, by any means necessary. A badge cannot be a license to murder," he said. "If you're afraid of black skin, find another job."
The four officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The BCA has neither completed its investigation nor forwarded its report to the Hennepin County attorney's office for consideration of charges against the officers, a spokesman said Tuesday.