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Crime, Law and Justice

Marchers call for justice one week after fatal police shooting in St. Paul

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Protesters march down Hamline Avenue in St. Paul on Sunday. They were speaking out against police shootings -- including the shooting of Ronald Davis by a St. Paul police officer on Sept. 15.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

Several dozen protesters marched through St. Paul's Midway neighborhood on Sunday to protest police shootings — including the fatal shooting of a man by a St. Paul police officer one week earlier.

Shouting chants including "2,000 stolen lives — we refuse to close our eyes," the march followed University Avenue and Lexington Parkway before reaching the corner of Thomas Avenue and Griggs Street, where Ronald Davis was fatally shot on Sept. 15.

"It seems like every weekend, every week ... someone is being killed by the police. Enough is enough; something has got to change," said Loretta VanPelt, an organizer with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar. She called for community control of police departments, and thanked the marchers for "continuing to come out and continuing to fight for justice."

Davis, 31, of Little Canada, died after being shot by officer Steven Mattson. Police have said Mattson was stopped at the corner of Griggs and Thomas when a car driven by Davis struck the squad from behind.

Marchers hold a vigil at a memorial for Ronald Davis at the corner of Thomas Avenue and Griggs Street in St. Paul on Sunday. Davis was fatally shot by a police officer on that corner on Sept. 15.

Authorities said Davis confronted Mattson with a knife and ignored demands to drop it. At one point during the encounter, Mattson fatally shot Davis. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is handling the investigation.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said Friday that body camera video of the incident will be released to the public on Tuesday, after the pertinent parts of the investigation are complete and after the Davis family has had an opportunity to view the footage.

Monique Cullars-Doty took part in Sunday's march. She's the aunt of Marcus Golden, who was fatally shot by St. Paul police in 2015.

A memorial for Ronald Davis, who was fatally shot by a St. Paul police officer on Sept. 15, includes posters, notes, flowers and a framed photograph.

She expressed concerns that the footage released Tuesday may be edited or manipulated.

"We know one thing is true: The police are going to hold that thin blue line when it comes to a person of color," she said. "We wish we could all get the justice that Justine Damond got, but that's not the case."

Cullars-Doty said she wants to see police shooting probes be independent of the BCA, citing other jurisdictions that bring together independent panels of highly trained experts to investigate such incidents.

"The BCA basically co-signs whatever the police are doing and supports that system," she said.