Got him! Assault charges filed against man for starting shootout with Minneapolis police

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MINNEAPOLIS, MI – The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has announced that a Minneapolis man has been charged with first-degree assault for shooting at officers following a pursuit on January 14.

Zedrick Andrew Cooper, 36, exchanged multiple shots with officers and suffered several gunshot wounds.

According to a criminal complaint, the incident began when the Minneapolis Police Department received reports of a black male driving a black SUV pointed an AK-47 at several people at a Full Stop Gas Station on Lowry Avenue North.

When officers arrived on the scene, the SUV began to flee the scene. Officers pursued the SUV, which refused to stop for officers. As the SUV took a turn onto Dowling Avenue North, the vehicle slid across the intersection and struck a stop sign. The vehicle became stuck on the curb.

Six MPD officers approached the vehicle as the suspect continued to try to drive off the curb, spinning tires and revving the engine. The suspect refused orders from police to exit the vehicle, and an MPD officer smashed the driver’s side window with a flashlight, at which time the officer observed Cooper armed with a firearm.

In the complaint, police reported:

“(The officer) observed Defendant had a gun and yelled to his fellow officers, ‘He has a gun!’ at which time Defendant fired multiple gunshots at officers. Officers ran back to their squad cars to seek cover and returned fire.”

During the shooting, officers retreated to their patrol cars for cover. When the shooting ended, Cooper could be seen by officers moving inside the vehicle, so the MPD SWAT team was called to the scene. The SWAT team was able to extract Cooper from the vehicle.

Cooper suffered several gunshot wounds and was transported to North Memorial Medical Center, where he was treated for non-life-threatening. He is presently incarcerated in the Hennepin County Jail.

The incident was captured on a motorist’s dash camera.

Officers located a black and silver Smith and Wesson handgun with an extended magazine in the vehicle. During the shootout, two MPD squad cars were struck with will bullets. No MPD officers were injured.

Cooper is charged with three counts of first-degree use of deadly force against a peace officer and one count of ineligible possession of ammunition and a firearm.

Cooper could face over 50 years in prison if convicted.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) issued a statement Wednesday identifying the officers involved in the incident.

  • Officer Felix Alvarado has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for four years. He discharged his firearm.
  • Officer Cory Krautkramer has been with the department for seven years. He discharged his firearm.
  • Officer Aaron Pearson has been with the department for seven years. He fired less-lethal impact rounds.
  • Officer Kyle Pond has been with the department for seven years. He discharged his firearm.
  • Officer Nathan Sundberg has been with the department for seven years. He fired less-lethal impact rounds.

BCA reported that the officers involved were placed on administrative leave, the standard protocol for officers involved in shootings.

BCA reported that the incident was caught on officers’ body cams, and the video is being reviewed. BCA agents will also review each officer’s dash cameras.

Cooper has an extensive criminal history with nearly 40 convictions, according to Minnesota court records. In his most recent prior arrest, Cooper was convicted in Hennepin County on a felony threat of violence charge. A plea deal dismissed three other similar charges.

Cooper was granted a stay on a 21-month sentence and instead only served 240 days, including 160 days credited for time served.

Minnesota has a “two-thirds” law, which requires prisoners to be released after serving two-thirds of their sentence in prison. Under the law, Cooper served the remainder of his sentence on probation.

Cooper was also convicted of felony theft in 2017 but was granted probation after receiving 11 days credit for time served. Cooper also has a 2017 felony conviction for narcotics, numerous convictions for driving after revocation, three for DWI, one for trespassing, and a handful of other driving-related offenses.

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Report: Minneapolis city council tries again, preparing new plan to replace city’s police department

January 18, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MI- According to a report from the StarTribune, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, some Minneapolis City Council members are preparing a “new” plan that seeks to replace the city’s police department.

Council members Phillipe Cunningham, Steve Fletcher, and Jeremy Schroeder are working on a proposal to create a new public safety department that removes the police department as a standalone department from the city charter.

The three of them are working on their plan and expect to release it by the end of January 2020. It would then require voter approval. Cunningham told the newspaper that the proposal might place oversight of the new department on par with many other city departments.

This would give council legislative authority while the mayor would retain executive authority. Mychal Vlatkovich, a spokesman for Mayor Jacob Frey, said the mayor had concerns about “clarity of command,” but would still review the proposal once it is ready.

Frey has concerns that it would “diminish accountability by requiring police Chief Medaria Arradondo to report to 14 different elected officials with divergent public safety priorities.” Vlatkovich said in a statement:

“The mayor has deep reservations about the potentially negative impact on the delivery of vital public safety services and clarity of command in moments of crisis.”

The city and police department have come under pressure to overhaul policing since Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. Over the last several months, several council members have tried and failed to eliminate the police department. 

Their proposal to form a “new public safety unit” was blocked when the city’s charter commission declined to advance the idea to the November ballot. The new proposal could place police and other public safety programs under a new department. Cunningham said:

“This is really about bringing together different public safety strategies with law enforcement to be able to achieve better outcomes for all of the residents of our city.”

Back in August 2020, The Associated Press (AP) reported that city leaders will face a more incremental and challenging path to rebuilding the often criticized police department. However, it seems they refuse to give up. Council President Lisa Bender said in a statement:

“The Charter Commission blocking this question form going on the ballot will slow progress because of the way our city government is structured and the realities of municipal government.”

She added:

“We are still pursuing all of this other work related to investing in violence prevention and reimagining public safety. It will not happen as quickly now.”

In its first response to Floyd’s death, City Council responded by proposing an amendment to the city’s charter that would have replaced the Police Department with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.”

This new department would prioritize public health and have a director with “non-law enforcement experience in community safety services.” 

The city’s charter, which serves as its constitution, has become a focal point in many of the conversations over the months since Floyd’s death about how to change policing and public safety. 

The charter now says that Minneapolis must have a Police Department with a minimum force based on the city’s population. It also gives the mayor “complete power” over the department’s operations, but gives the City Council responsibility for funding it.

During a recent council meeting, Cunningham, Fletcher, and Schroeder said they will “give notice” of their intent to introduce a charter amendment that would create a new department to “provide public safety services, including law enforcement.”

Before the measure can appear on the ballot, it needs to go through a series of City Council meetings and a review by the court-appointed Charter Commission. This will be the second charter amendment proposed by council members since Floyd’s death. 

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