Charges will not be filed against Brooklyn Center police involved in Kobe Dimock-Heisler fatal shooting

Wednesday,

No officers will be charged in the fatal shooting of a Brooklyn Center man last summer, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

The two Brooklyn Center police officers who fired six shots at 21-year-old Kobe Dimock-Heisler had a reasonable fear that two other officers and Dimock-Heisler’s grandmother were in danger of death or great bodily harm as the young man attacked with a knife, county prosecutors concluded.

“We are saddened by the death of Mr. Dimock-Heisler and we have extended our sympathies to his grandfather and grandmother who have raised him since age six,” Freeman said. “However, the four Brooklyn Center police officers who initially responded to the scene used de-escalation tactics and seemed to have calmed down Mr. Dimock-Heisler. Even when he sprang from his chair, grabbed a knife and attempted to stab one of the officers, three officers fired their Tasers, with no effect. Then, and only then, did they fire their guns.”

According to the Report of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office Regarding the Use of Deadly Force Against Kobe Dimock-Heisler on Aug. 31, 2019, the incident began when Dimock-Heisler and his grandfather went to a Wendy’s restaurant for something to eat earlier in the afternoon. The young man, who suffered from mental illness and also was on the autism spectrum, became angry that an employee had gotten their order wrong. He began to yell at the employees and his grandfather told him to stop yelling.

The argument continued and when they arrived back home, Dimock-Heisler retrieved a Cuisinart knife with a serrated edge and a hammer and told his grandfather to apologize for what he said at the restaurant. The grandfather, who was scared, managed to get away, slip into a back bedroom and call 911, according to the prosecutors’ report, based on a detailed investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

At approximately 4:20 p.m., officers Cody Turner and Brandon Akers responded in separate cars to a report of a domestic with a hammer and a knife at an address in the 5900 block of Halifax Ave. N. As they were driving to the house, Akers pulled up a report of another incident at that address six months earlier and Turner remembered he had been the responding officer where Dimock-Heisler had stabbed himself in the stomach.

As they approached the door, the grandfather came out and told them the situation had calmed down. However, the two officers, along with officers Stephen Holt and Joseph Vu, who were riding together in another squad car, explained that they were required to go into the house to assess the situation. Officer Vu patted Dimock-Heisler for weapons and found none. Officer Vu had him sit in a chair in the living room, with his grandmother in a facing couch. She also gave the hammer and knife, which Dimock-Heisler had used to threaten his grandfather, to Officer Turner. Officers Turner and Akers went back outside to talk to Dimock-Heisler’s grandfather.

Officer Vu calmly spoke with Dimock-Heisler and got him to pull up his shirt and reveal where he had cut himself after his grandfather ran into the back bedroom. He said he had been placed on a 30-day mental health commitment previously and he did not want to go back. Officer Vu tried to divert his attention and de-escalate the situation by saying they had made no decision on what would happen to him.

After putting his face in his hands and crying, Dimock-Heisler suddenly sprang up and started to run towards his grandmother. Officers Holt and Vu moved to stop him and the three knocked over another couch in the room. Officers Turner and Akers heard the commotion and came in from outside. Officer Turner used his Taser on the young man, but it had no effect. Officers Holt and Akers fired their Tasers which also failed to slow down the man. At about that time, Dimock-Heisler was able to reach into the couch and retrieve another knife that was hidden there and tried to stab Officer Vu who was hanging on to his lower legs.

At that point, Turner and Akers each fired their semi-automatic handguns three times each, striking Dimock-Heisler in his chest and neck.

All of the officers had activated their body-worn cameras which captured video of the incident. Raw video shows a very quick and chaotic scene once Mr. Dimock-Heisler sprang from his chair. Personnel from the BCA reviewed the videos and were able to slow down the videos from officers Akers and Turner to better see what transpired during the incident. Those videos, along with all other videos and investigative data disclosed today, are in the data link provided by the BCA and posted on the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office website. They are labeled “Officer Akers BWC Analysis Video” and “Officer Turner BWC Analysis Video.” All videos have been redacted in some part as required by Minnesota law.

County Attorney Freeman and two veteran prosecutors reviewed the investigative file in addition to Minnesota law and U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the use of deadly force by police officers. They concluded that Officers Turner and Akers satisfied the conditions in Minnesota law because it was necessary to protect themselves and their partners from apparent death or great bodily harm.

“Both officers saw Mr. Dimock-Heisler attempting to stab Officer Vu with a knife,” according to the report. “Officers Turner, Akers and Holt attempted to subdue Mr. Dimock-Heisler with tasers to no avail. With all less lethal options exhausted, officers Turner and Akers were justified in resorting to deadly force.”

Hennepin County Attornery's Office Report (PDF)

BCA Redacted Files