Six people have filed formal complaints with the city after a Minneapolis police officer fired on their vehicle during a downtown scuffle last weekend.
The officer, who is now facing a standard internal affairs investigation, was responding to the scene of a large brawl near Target Field around bar close early Sunday that left two men with noncritical gunshot wounds, according to police. Amid the chaos, a car trying to back away struck the officer’s squad. He then fired one round, hitting the side of the vehicle with six people inside.
Neither the officer nor the passengers were injured in the incident, authorities said.
But activists and family members of those in the car that night condemned the officer’s actions as careless, contending that he put the four women and two men at risk.
Caylea Wade, the 23-year-old driver, was trying to leave the area with her friends after a night on the town, said her father, Lou Wade. An officer told the group to reverse the vehicle and return the way they came, he said, when a squad car approached from behind and the vehicles collided. A shot suddenly rang out, striking the driver’s side door, and the occupants were surrounded.
“They weren’t suspects. It’s unfortunate that they put my girl in harm’s way,” said Lou Wade, who met with Police Chief Janeé Harteau about the incident on Monday, where he said she apologized but offered few answers. “At the end of the day, we just can’t have police officers on the force like that. I think it’s negligence.”
A police spokesman confirmed that six people were in the vehicle that night, but declined to comment on whether they were detained or considered suspects, as an investigation is pending.
The chaos began just after 2 a.m. on Nov. 20, when police responded to a report that 30 to 40 people were fighting in the 400 block of 3rd Avenue N. At the scene, officers heard gunshots and found a man who had been shot in the ankle.
During that time, another man showed up at Hennepin County Medical Center after being shot in the arm. No arrests have been made.
Lou Wade said his daughter was detained for several hours because of the collision. Her car was impounded for four days before it was returned to the family with a bullet hole.
The Minneapolis NAACP demanded punishment for the officer involved in the “unnecessary and dangerous shooting,” said Jason Sole, NAACP chapter president. “What would have happened had one of the young passengers been wounded or killed?” Sole said in a statement.
The passengers, their family members and activists from advocacy groups like Black Lives Matter and the General Defense Committee, held a rally outside City Hall on Monday. The group filed complaints shortly after, Wade said, and the family plans to meet with Mayor Betsy Hodges this week.