Official account of fatal police shooting in Austin, Minn., disputed

Family members and community activists are disputing the official account of a fatal police shooting last week in Austin, Minn.

The man, who has not yet been officially identified, was fatally shot by a police officer in the parking lot of a gas station in Austin on Thursday night, after he left his home following a lengthy standoff.

A statement from Austin police alleges the man was shot because he confronted officers while armed with a knife.

Michelle Gross with Twin Cities-based Communities United Against Police Brutality has been in contact with the man's family, and is raising money to help them. She said Sunday that the man was having a mental health crisis and was not threatening anyone.

"It's a wrongful death situation. There's no question about it. And we are definitely saying that the police are ... lying about the situation," she said. "If they think that they're so right, they should release the body camera footage immediately."

Authorities have not said whether the officers involved were wearing body cameras, or whether they were activated. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting; the BCA did not provide updates on the investigation over the weekend.

Gross also said actions by law enforcement during the standoff that preceded the shooting caused major damage to the family's home. The money being raised was going to help them with living expenses.

"We feel strongly that this is a wrongful death. We're appalled at the conduct of the Austin Police Department that not only left a man dead but that left the household of the whole family uninhabitable," she said.

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