Minneapolis officer charged with assault for firing at car after minor accident

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Minneapolis police officer was charged with second-degree assault for shooting at a car with six people in it after it accidently struck his squad car while backing up, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Efrem Hamilton, 42, of Minneapolis also was charged with intentional discharge of a firearm in the Nov. 19 incident. The date of his first appearance has not yet been set.

“Police officers have a difficult job,” Freeman said. “Yet, in this case, Officer Hamilton fired a shot at a car full of people just three seconds after getting out of his car. This is unacceptable behavior by a police officer, endangering the lives of innocent people, and we have filed the appropriate charges.”

According to the criminal complaint, Minneapolis police were called to a fight with shots fired near 408 Third Ave. N. about 2:15 a.m. The officers first responding to the scene put out over police radio that a gray four-door Cadillac may be involved and it was going the wrong way on Third Avenue, headed toward Washington Avenue.

Officer Hamilton was working off-duty at the PourHouse at 10 S. Fifth Street when he heard the shots fired call and drove to assist, although he never radioed that he was responding, the complaint states.

As other responding officers were stopping the Cadillac, a gray/black BMW driven by a 23-year-old woman was following the instructions of the first responding officers and was backing her car down Third Avenue. While doing that, Officer Hamilton pulled his squad car into the middle of Third Avenue and came to a stop. The young woman backed her BMW into the officer’s squad car, causing minor damage but no airbags deployed, according to the complaint.

Officer Hamilton jumped out of his squad car and without giving any verbal commands, fired a shot at the BMW. There were six people in the car. The shot hit the BMW in the rear driver-side corner near the trunk opening. No one was injured in the shooting, the complaint states.

Hamilton Criminal Complaint