BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (March 19, 2020) – Officials with Minnesota’s largest police union applauded a Washington County jury for finding a Washington County deputy not guilty for using deadly force against a suicidal man who refused to put down his gun and later displayed threating movements.
But Sean Gormley, executive director with Law Enforcement Labor Services, says the case against Brian Krook should never have been tried in the first place.
“This was a terrible tragedy for the family and friends of Benjamin Evans—and extremely traumatic for the responding officers,” he said.
“But we need to stop trying to make criminals out of police officers who are asked to respond to dangerous, no-win situations involving persons who don’t put down their guns.” he said.
The suicidal man refused more than 50 police commands to drop his weapon over the span of 39 minutes. The incident occurred April 12, 2018.
At trial, Deputy Krook testified he observed what he thought were dangerous movements by the individual and warned the lead police negotiator who was on the scene. Moments later, Krook fired his weapon when he detected the individual’s gun turning toward the direction of officers.
“It’s unconscionable that Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and his team put a cop on trial for making a difficult decision, based 100 percent on his training,” said Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police & Peace Officers Association.”
“Unfortunately, this whole legal process was tainted from the beginning when prosecutors assembled a hand-picked grand jury and chose to ignore a key expert whose opinion about what happened didn’t match their agenda,” he said.
“These critical incidents are an officer’s worst nightmare,” said Gormley. “Deputy Krook made a decision to protect his life and those of his fellow officers,” he said. “That doesn’t make him a criminal—not in a million years.”