Crime, Law and Justice

Family calls for release of video of police shooting of Tekle Sundberg

Andrew Tekle Sundberg March
A resident of Tekle Sundberg’s apartment complex looks on as family members, friends and community members gather for a rally and march to demand justice for Sundberg on July 16, 2022.
Tim Evans for MPR News

Emotions ran high at a Saturday rally and march calling for justice for Andrew Tekle Sundberg, who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police after a six hour standoff.

Arabella Foss-Yarbrough, who lived near Sundberg confronted the rally. She said bullets Sundberg fired during the standoff came through the walls of her apartment, nearly killing her and her children.

"I'm a woman of color. If I would have lost my life would you do this for me?" she said.

Andrew Tekle Sundberg March
Arabella Foss-Yarbrough, a neighbor of Tekle Sundberg, who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police in mid July, confronts family members and protesters on Saturday outside of the apartment complex where she and Sundberg lived.
Tim Evans for MPR News

Sundberg’s father, Mark Sundberg offered support for Foss-Yarbrough.

"My heart goes out for that woman, she went through a very traumatic event with those bullets coming through her house, that will affect her for the rest of her life, it'll affect her children for the rest of their life,” he said.

Officers responded about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after a report of shots fired inside an apartment building on the 900 block of 21st Avenue South, a couple blocks east of Cedar Avenue and just south of Interstate 94.

Responding officers encountered more gunfire as they arrived at the scene. They evacuated people in the building and requested a SWAT team.

Authorities haven’t said yet what led the snipers — later identified as officers Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine — to shoot Sundberg following about six hours of police trying to negotiate with him to end the standoff.

Sundberg, known by friends and loved ones as Tekle, his Ethiopian name, was experiencing a mental health crisis during the standoff, according to his family.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday confirmed that Sundberg died from multiple gunshot wounds.

“We know Tekle is an imperfect human, as we’re all imperfect humans,” said Cindy Sundberg, Tekle’s mother. “And he did not deserve to be picked off like an animal from a rooftop.”

Attorney Jeff Storms said the family has received little insight into what happened.

"People take action. People take active affirmative steps, and we were told none of those active affirmative steps,” Storms said. “And so at this point no one has any idea as far as I know, I'm assuming there's a significant amount of video that exists, it's just not being shared with any of us."

Storms said the family anticipates receiving more information and possibly being able to see police worn body camera footage early this week. In a statement posted on social media, the Minneapolis Police Department said the City Attorney’s Office began working on the family’s request on Friday.

“With more than 50 officers involved over the span of more than six hours, there are hundreds of hours of body camera video and audio to review,” the statement read. “Consistent with legal requirements and protocol, Minneapolis Police Department personnel are working through the process to redact elements of video, such as identities, that will be viewed in the short term.”

“Following the offer made to have Sundberg’s family to view the video, plans are in process to allow for those videos to be publicly released. It is not expected that all hundreds of hours of video will be immediately released, as this will take much more time to examine.”

The department has provided all body-worn camera and other video to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The bureau on Saturday also issued a call to the public to submit any video residents may have captured, such as a social media video that shows the shooting.

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