Family files federal lawsuit over man killed by St. Paul police

St. Paul police investigate officer-involved shooting
The scene of the police killing of Cordale Handy on March 15.
Tim Nelson | MPR News file

Updated: 7:10 p.m. | Posted: 2:48 p.m.

The family of a man shot dead by St. Paul police last month filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Wednesday against the city and two police officers involved.

Cordale Handy, 29, was killed by officers who were responding to an early morning domestic violence call in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood on March 15.

The suit names Officers Mikko Norman and Nathaniel Younce, who were also identified as the officers involved in the shooting.

Community members hold a moment of silence
Community members at a candlelight vigil hold a moment of silence at the spot where they believe 29-year-old Cordale Handy was shot and killed by police earlier on March 15.
Christopher Juhn for MPR News file

Civil rights attorney Andrew Stroth declined to discuss details of the federal lawsuit. Handy's mother and Stroth plan to hold a press conference Thursday morning.

"Cordale Handy was unjustifiably shot and killed by officers of the St. Paul Police Department," Stroth said in a statement. "There is a clear pattern and practice of St. Paul officers killing African American men. We intend to address this conduct and bring it to an end."

Stroth also represents a man shot to death by an off-duty Chicago police officer in January.

Two officers fired at Handy and investigators recovered a gun in connection with the incident, the state Bureau of Apprehension said.

A man who witnessed part of the incident from his apartment window said he heard a woman pleading with someone on the street and telling them, "The gun isn't loaded. Put the gun down. Please don't shoot." The woman was also telling someone to put the gun down and his hands up, the witness said.

Handy's death was the third fatal shooting by St. Paul police in a year, and officers have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the other recent cases. Handy's shooting is still being investigated by the BCA.

The three officers involved were placed on standard administrative leave after the shooting.

A St. Paul spokesman declined comment on the suit, saying the city doesn't discuss pending litigation.

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