No charges against St. Paul cops in man's fatal shooting

Community members hold a moment of silence for Handy
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 on March 15, 2017.
Christopher Juhn for MPR News file

Updated: Dec. 16, 10:30 a.m. | Posted: Dec. 15, 1:51 p.m.

The two St. Paul police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Cordale Handy last March will not face criminal charges, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said officers Mikko Norman and Nathaniel Younce were legally justified in their use of deadly force when they shot the 29-year-old as they responded to a domestic violence call. Investigators said they recovered a gun at the scene.

A report on the investigation by the Ramsey County Attorney's office said cell phone video of the incident shows Handy firing 16 shots in his apartment early the morning of March 15.

The gunfire set off the apartment's smoke detectors, and police found bullets in the walls of two neighboring apartments, as well.

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Handy's girlfriend called police as Handy left the building, and two officers followed him through the neighborhood, the report said, noting that some of the incident was captured on nearby video cameras. Officers reported nearing Handy and ordering him to the ground. Despite orders to drop a pistol he was carrying, he sat up twice and pointed the gun at police, who shot and killed him, the report said.

Handy's gun was later determined to have been unloaded. An autopsy found Handy had THC in his system, as well as N-ethyl pentylone. N-ethyl pentylone is considered a designer drug in the cathinone family that is a psychoactive substance with stimulant effects. Agitation and erratic behavior has been reported with the use of this drug," an autopsy report said.

Kim Handy Jones, Cordale's mother, said her son was a victim of poor training and police racial bias and that he shouldn't have been shot. She filed a civil rights suit against the city.

The shooting happened early in the morning on a Wednesday near the intersection of East 7th and Sinnen streets, which is just east of downtown St. Paul near Metropolitan State University.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the shooting and Choi made the call not to press charges.

Editor's note (Dec. 16, 2017): The story has been updated to include more details of the investigation.