Police officer sacked over shooting of unarmed, naked suspect hiding in rubbish skip – reports

An officer who shot and injured a suspect who emerged naked from a rubbish skip in Minnesota has reportedly been fired.

Todd Axtell, local police chief of St Paul, Minnesota, said he had taken “swift, decisive and serious action” against the officer involved, who has been identified by state investigators as Anthony Dean.

Mr Axtell released bodycam footage of Saturday’s confrontation at a news conference on Tuesday, showing the black man being shot at, tasered, and set upon by a dog.

Footage showed the naked man on the ground
Image:Footage showed the naked man on the ground

Officers were searching for a suspect in connection with a series of crimes, including sexual conduct and rape, when they came across the naked man hiding in a large bin.

In the footage, a female officer attempts to coax him out and on to the ground.

The man, who authorities have identified as 31-year-old Joseph Javonte Washington, gets out and an officer shouts “don’t run!” before shots are fired.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, said Dean shot Washington, who was unarmed.

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According to local media outlets the Minneapolis Star Tribune, St Paul Pioneer Press, and CBS Minnesota, all citing unnamed law enforcement sources, Dean has since been fired.

Mr Axtell did not confirm those reports at his press briefing, but said: “When I asked myself if the officer’s actions on Saturday night were reasonable and necessary, the only answer I could come up with is no.”

Todd Axtell, the Police Chief of St Paul, Minnesota
Image:Todd Axtell, the Police Chief of St Paul, Minnesota

The president of the St Paul Police Federation, a union, defended the officers involved, saying they were trying to apprehend a “violent and dangerous felon”.

Paul Kuntz said: “The officers worked to arrest the man using many de-escalation techniques. This was a difficult situation for everyone involved.”

The union declined to confirm whether Dean had been fired, but all of the officers involved – none of whom were hurt – are confirmed to have been placed on standard administrative leave.

Washington has been charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of kidnapping, and one count of second-degree assault in connection with an alleged attack several hours earlier in Lakeville.

It is not known whether Washington had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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