No charges in sheriff’s wounding of Jamar Hollins

Thursday, January 17, 2019

No criminal charges will be filed against a Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputy for shooting and wounding a man during a stand-off in Crystal, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.

Deputy Allen Magelssen fired a single shot into the abdomen of Jamar Hollins as he stood in the bathroom of his Crystal home with a knife in his hand within an arm’s length of two other officers, according to the report released by Freeman.

“I am relieved that Mr. Hollins survived the shooting,” Freeman said. “However, the thorough investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension revealed that the Sheriff’s deputies had few options. They were there to serve an Order for Protection upon Mr. Hollins requested by his girlfriend. That requires the officers to escort him from the home he shared with the woman in order to protect her and her children. When he repeatedly refused, officers unsuccessfully tried non-lethal force and Deputy Magelssen determined that he and another deputy were in danger of great bodily harm, so the use of deadly force was justified.”

According to the seven-page report of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, a Hennepin County District Court judge issued an Order for Protection on behalf of Hollins’ girlfriend on May 22, 2018. She had alleged she had suffered from domestic violence at the hands of Hollins. The order said Hollins was not to enter the house at 3608 Colorado Ave. in Crystal, which was the home of the woman and her children, although Hollins had been living there for a while.

The next day, Magelssen and Sheriff’s Sgt. Norman Lindsay, went to serve the order about 7 p.m. The normal procedure would be to hand the order to Hollins, give him up to 30 minutes to gather some personal belongings, escort him out of the house and make arrangements for a police escort in the future to get the rest of his property.

Deputy Magelssen called the woman as they were driving to the house. She said she was buying new locks for the doors and would be there shortly. The two men rang the doorbell and received no answer. They waited until the woman arrived and she let them into the house.

She directed the officers to the back of the upper level of the split-level house where there was a bedroom with a small, attached bathroom. The two officers stood at the doorway of the bedroom, told Hollins who they were and that they had papers for him. When he spoke, they could not see him but could tell he was in the bathroom.

Magelssen repeatedly told Hollins he had to serve him with the Order for Protection and he could set up a court date to respond to it. Hollins refused to come out of the bathroom and told them several times that they were trespassing. After several minutes of this, the deputy radioed for more squad cars in case they had to physically remove Hollins.

Officers from the Crystal and Robbinsdale Police Departments responded. Sgt. Lindsay went into the bedroom, climbed over the bed and could finally see Hollins in the bathroom. He could also see him holding a serrated knife, which turned out to be a Smith & Wesson Black Ops tactical knife. He was told several times to drop it but he refused.

An experienced sheriff’s negotiator arrived and also was unsuccessful in getting Hollins to drop the knife and to come out. Three hours after Lindsay and Magelssen arrived, officers began discussing options for removing Hollins.
 
They planned to use a “stack,“ six officers in single file. Deputy Kelly Howe would enter first with a bunker, similar to a battering ram, and a Taser. Deputy Terry Bean would follow with his handgun out. Sgt. Rick Rehman would be next with a Taser and he would be followed by Magelssen, Lindsay and Deputy Michael Kipka.

On command, the officers charged into the bedroom and then bathroom. Deputy Howe dropped to one knee in the doorway of the bathroom. Several officers ordered Hollins to drop his knife, but he did not. Howe and Magelssen fired their Tasers at about the same time. Rehman saw Hollins flailing his arms, so he fired his Taser. Hollins was still standing and backed into the shower. Howe shouted “Taser ineffective.”

Magelssen pulled his gun and saw Hollins trying to pull the Taser’s wire leads out of his body and saw him swiping the knife back and forth. Hollins was only about an arm’s length away from Magelssen and Howe and with the other officers in the small bathroom, it was impossible to back out.

Magelssen fired his gun. Hollins dropped to the floor and the knife fell from his hand.

Paramedics were already on the scene when Hollins was shot and they quickly took him to North Memorial Health Hospital. He was released from the hospital on June 21 and refused to talk to the investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Freeman and three other senior county attorneys reviewed the evidence in light of Minnesota law on police use of deadly force and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Graham v. Conner. Deputy Magelssen’s use of deadly force was justified. Hollins had been served with a valid Order for Protection requiring that he leave the property to protect his girlfriend and her children. The officers could not leave the property until he did.

Hollins posed a threat to the officers by holding the tactical knife in his hand and for three hours refusing requests to drop it. That constituted resisting arrest, especially when he repeatedly said he would not come out peacefully or leave the house. The officers in the house tried negotiating, including bringing in a family member and then using non-lethal weapons. All the efforts failed and Magelssen’s use of deadly force “was objectively reasonable in the face of the danger of death or great bodily harm,” Freeman’s report concluded.

Report from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office regarding the shooting of Jamar Winston Hollins on May 23, 2018

BCA link to entire redacted case file