Minneapolis police officer Jason Anderson has been cleared in the wrongful death trial of Fong Lee. The jury at the U.S. District Court in St. Paul found Anderson did not use exessive force, and therefore no damages will be awarded to Fong Lee’s family.
Officer Andersen shot and killed Lee, 19, on July 22, 2006. Some video of the incident was captured on surveillance cameras Cityview Elementary School in north Minneapolis.
The 12-member jury deliberated for roughly six hours between Wednesday and Thursday, after hearing five days of testimony.
During his closing argument Wednesday, Assistant City Attorney Jim Moore played an image at the start of the chase, asking jurors to look in the very lower right corner of the screen as Lee begins to run from police.
He said, “It looks like a gun to him.” Moore also told jurors they may not see the gun in other images because Lee may have had it cupped in his hand.
Lee’s family had argued their son was unarmed, and alleged police planted the gun.
Before deliberating, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson instructed the jury to first decide, unanimously, whether Andersen used excessive force. If they decided he did not, they would return with their decision. If they decided he did, they had to decide if he was malicious in his use of force, and if so, how much to award the Lee family in damages.
Statement from Police Chief Tim Dolan
Officer Andersen acted with courage and integrity in fulfilling his duty to serve and protect the people of Minneapolis. Unfortunately, in return, the department and Officer Andersen have had to endure highly inflammatory accusations that have unfairly caused hardship for him and his family. We are pleased that Officer Andersen has been vindicated, and now hope that we can all move forward and heal as a community.