As St. Paul police officers Jeremy Doverspike and Dan Peck ordered Marcus Golden to put his hands where they could see them, they noticed his right hand — then his whole body — drop out of view. Then, "all of a sudden," Golden popped his head up and gunned his sport-utility vehicle toward Doverspike, who fired two rounds as it came close enough to hit his gun, records show.
Seconds later, early on Jan. 14, Golden was dead — shot in the head and arm by officers who said they thought he was trying to run one of them down. A loaded handgun was found in the car after Golden was shot.
In May, a Washington County grand jury cleared the officers of wrongdoing when it declined to indict them. On Thursday, St. Paul police released the case investigative files — including photographs, search warrant details and dash cam videos. Those files corroborate accounts given by the officers involved in the moments and hours after they fired into Golden's green GMC Jimmy in an apartment parking lot shortly after 2 a.m.
The files contained dash cam videos, but none that captured the shooting itself. While such cameras are automatically activated when lights and sirens are on, or when a squad car hits a high rate of speed, or when the officers themselves activate them, police files provided no video evidence of the moments leading up to Golden's death.
"Ofc Doverspike said he had no time to activate his camera because how fast everything took place," Sgt. Bobby Donahue wrote.
The death of Golden, a 24-year-old black man, came against a backdrop of national rage over police shootings of black men across the country. After the shooting, the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP and an attorney for Golden's mother called for a civil rights investigation. But police said at the time, and again when the grand jury declined to indict the officers, that officers feared for their safety and were justified in shooting Golden.
Doverspike told a homicide investigator that "he absolutely feared for his life when this incident was happening."
Peck told investigators he saw Doverspike lose his balance as Golden hit the gas and appeared to steer straight toward Doverspike. Peck said he believed Doverspike "was being run over."
According to the documents released Thursday, other investigators said that tire tracks and footprints in the snow, as well as statements from other officers who arrived at the scene as the incident unfolded, support Doverspike's and Peck's accounts. Police had to reach into the car after it crashed to turn it off; the wheels were still spinning and Golden's foot was jammed against the accelerator, the records showed.
The incident began when police were called to an apartment building near the State Capitol on a report of a man sending death threats via text message and were told that the suspect was known to carry a gun. They arrived to find Golden sitting in the SUV, parked in the parking lot. The files made public Thursday also included records that showed Golden had bought two handguns at a Monticello pawnshop. Police executing a search warrant at the house where Golden lived found a box for a handgun under his bedroom dresser.
His former girlfriend told police that he had sent her pictures of himself waving a gun and threatening her life in the hours before the fatal encounter.
Golden had a history of troubling and threatening behavior, according to court records.