Grand jury clears 2 St. Paul officers who fatally shot man

A metal detector is used.
A metal detector is used at the site of an officer-involved shooting in St. Paul, on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News file

Updated: 5:55 p.m. | Posted: 5:45 a.m.

A Washington County grand jury has declined to indict two St. Paul police officers who fatally shot a 24-year-old man earlier this year.

The decision clears St. Paul Police Department officers Jeremy Doverspike and Dan Peck of criminal charges related to the death of Marcus Ryan Golden.

Marcus Golden on a family vacation
Marcus Golden on a family vacation in Orlando for the New Year.
Courtesy Golden familiy

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who handled the case, said the evidence that the officers acted correctly was clear and compelling.

On Jan. 14, police were called to a St. Paul apartment building on reports that Golden was making death threats. Police said Golden was in a truck in the building's parking lot and refused to get out of the vehicle. Police said Golden instead drove directly at the officers, who shot and killed him.

Police say a loaded handgun was later found within Golden's reach in the SUV.

A lawyer representing Golden's mother said the family hasn't received the investigation results that they've requested, but would like to review them.

The St. Paul NAACP had earlier called for an independent investigation into the shooting. In a statement this afternoon, branch president Jeffry Martin said the grand jury's decision not to charge was "distressing," and "does not mean a crime was not committed in St. Paul, Minnesota, nor does it mean we are done fighting for Marcus Golden."

Orput said the incident was a tragedy for both the Golden family and the involved officers' families, but that it shouldn't be confused with other high-profile incidents across the country where police were accused of using excessive force.

"We've been reading in the papers for the last year, almost on a daily basis, incidents of police using excessive force on minority folks, citizens. This is not one of those cases. I know folks want to pigeonhole it into that, but it's not."

St. Paul Police Department spokesperson Steve Linders said the department's internal affairs division will now open its own investigation into the incident. The officers were put on standard administrative leave for three days following the incident and then returned to duty. The officers will remain on duty as the internal investigation proceeds.

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