A St. Paul man fired gunshots at Minneapolis police officers patrolling near Lake Street early Saturday morning after they had fired a “less lethal” round at him, according to attempted murder charges filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court.
No officers were struck in the incident, which occurred about 4 a.m. near Lake Street and 14th Avenue S. in the wake of protests for George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police on May 25.
Floyd’s killing was captured on video that went viral on the internet, setting off protests in dozens of U.S. cities and around the world. All four officers at the scene of the arrest were fired and one, Derek Chauvin, who is white, was charged last week with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Jaleel K. Stallings, 27, was charged Tuesday with two counts each of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault for allegedly firing at police.
Stallings was also charged with one count each of second-degree riot and dangerous weapons. He was arrested Sunday and spoke briefly with police, the charges say.
“Stallings asked if anyone had been killed,” the charges said. “Stallings was told no. Stallings then said he wanted to speak with a lawyer and the statement was ended.”
The shooting followed days of protests that turned violent and destructive at times as some people burned and looted numerous businesses across Minneapolis, St. Paul and nearby suburbs. The Third Precinct police building was torched Thursday night during the protests.
According to the complaint: Minneapolis police were working across the city Saturday to enforce a curfew ordered by Gov. Tim Walz. About 11 p.m. officers near Lake Street and 15th Avenue S. were pelted with rocks, debris and bottles of bodily fluids.
Officers in SWAT vests and helmets were near Lake Street and 14th Avenue S. around 4 a.m. when they encountered a group of people in a parking lot. Several people fled, but Stallings allegedly walked toward police from behind a pickup truck. Several SWAT officers were in an unmarked white van flanked by two marked squads.
Stallings ran toward the truck’s driver side door and crouched, the charges said.
An officer reported that he had fired a 40-mm “less lethal” round, commonly called a rubber bullet, at Stallings, concerned that he was going to throw debris or rocks at police. It’s unclear if Stallings was struck.
“Almost immediately, Officer A saw three to four gunshot muzzle flashes from Stallings’ chest toward law enforcement,” the complaint said. “One round sparked and ricocheted in front of officers.”
The officer feared that a colleague in front of him had been struck. A second officer said he saw Stallings fire three to four shots. The shooting was captured on the officers’ body camera footage.
Stallings ran and hid behind the truck, where he was arrested.
“Officers treated this as a deadly force situation as they believed Stallings was still armed and could kill them,” the complaint says.
Unsure where Stallings’ gun was, “Officer A” kicked Stallings to “gain control,” the charges say.
Stallings tried to get up and resisted as “Officer A” used force to make the arrest, the complaint says.
An AK-47 style Mini Draco Style pistol was found nearby, according to the charges.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets and defied an 8 p.m. curfew that was in effect last weekend. They have demanded that charges be filed against all four officers at the scene were Floyd was killed.
The four officers — Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng — were fired soon after the killing, which was filmed by a bystander. The video captured Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Lane and Kueng, who were not visible in the video, also held him down. Thao was shown in the video standing watch and interacting with bystanders.
Floyd told officers several times that he couldn’t breathe and called out “mama,” before going unresponsive.