The parents of a man killed during a standoff with Minneapolis police pleaded with law enforcement Wednesday to release body-camera footage showing what prompted officers to shoot their son a month ago after six hours of failed negotiations.
Standing alongside a group of activists in the lobby of Minneapolis City Hall, Mark Sundberg, father of 20-year-old Andrew Tekle Sundberg, said police and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have failed to provide them with footage clearly showing what happened in the final moment that led to police snipers firing the two fatal shots.
"One minute. Give me one minute in detail, and I think we can figure this out," Mark Sundberg said. "We want information — we need some information — and they're just not giving it to us."
Mark Sundberg said the family also wished to see footage from officers entering the apartment directly after the shooting.
Minneapolis police went to Sundberg's apartment in the 900 block of 21st Avenue S. late July 14 after a neighbor called 911 to report multiple gunshots being been fired into her unit, where she lived with two infant children. Minneapolis police spokesman Howie Padilla said at the time officers took steps to "peacefully resolve the situation," including calling the parents to the scene to help talk to Sundberg, but he refused to cooperate.
The incident is under investigation from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, per standard protocol in a police shooting. The city released some segments of body-camera footage last month. One of the clips showed two snipers saying "gun" before firing the two shots, but the camera angle does not show Sundberg.
At the news conference Wednesday, activists called for a third-party investigation into the shooting and disputed the police version of events. They showed photos from the scene featuring bullet holes over a shattered mirror.
"He was shooting himself in the mirror" and not intentionally at his neighbor, said Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality. "Tekle was — very sadly —very mentally ill," which is why she said he was acting erratically.
"He should have been treated the way that any medical health crisis should be treated," Gross said, and "not as a law enforcement matter."
The neighbor, Arabella Foss-Yarbrough, told police she knew Sundberg, who lived in the apartment next door, but not by name. He'd given her unwanted attention, she said, and she'd ignored him. She didn't know if that's why he shot at her wall, she said.
Gross also played video footage taken by a neighbor showing about nine and a half minutes before police fired. Sundberg is seen shirtless, hanging out of his second-story apartment building, appearing to record police with his cellphone. Sundberg breaks out the glass window.
"Does he got a knife?" asks the unidentified person filming. Then two shots ring out from the snipers, and Sundberg falls limp.
Gross and other activists say Sundberg doesn't appear to be holding a gun in the video. But the dark and grainy footage makes it unclear what object is in Sundberg's hand.
Gross also questioned why police didn't use other nonlethal ammunition, like tear gas, to flush Sundberg out, and she criticized officers on scene for not allowing Sundberg's father inside the building to try to talk him down.
Minneapolis police did not comment for this story, but in a previous statement, Padilla said "it would have been irresponsible of MPD to introduce any civilian physically into a dangerous and unpredictable situation in which many gunshots had already been fired through apartment walls."
Police have also said that with more than 50 officers involved over more than six hours, there are hundreds of hours of video and audio to review and that the department is working to follow legal protocol.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
Sundberg's mother, Cindy, also spoke at the news conference about her son's love for cooking and plants.
"He was strong, he loved his family," she said. "He was searching and he was growing, he was learning. Our family is broken. Things will never be the same."