Crime, Law and Justice

Family members mourn fallen Minneapolis police officer Jamal Mitchell

A man poses with his mom
Jamal Mitchell and his mother, Janet Raper-Edwards, pose for a photo during a cruise vacation in October 2023.
Dennis Ray Edwards Sr.

Minneapolis police officer Jamal “Molly” Mitchell had “a heart for people.”

Whether it was flashing his big smile or chatting up new people, Mitchell always tried to uplift the people around him.

“If he saw somebody on the corner with a pan, he's going to dig in his pocket and he's going to give,” said Janet Raper-Edwards, Mitchell’s mother. “He just loved people. You know, he just loved helping people. That's just how Jamal was, he always wanted to be a help to somebody.”

Mitchell, 36, was killed in the line of duty on Thursday while responding to a shooting in Minneapolis’ Whittier neighborhood. He was one of three people that died, including the shooter. At least four other people were injured.

A man poses with his family
Jamal Mitchell and his three kids during Thanksgiving in 2022 when they visited Mitchell's great grandmother Martha Green (left), grandmother Lily Raper (right) and aunt Denise Raper (bottom right) in Connecticut. They drove from Minnesota to Connecticut to see family for the holiday.
Dennis Ray Edwards Sr.

On Thursday evening, Mitchell and other emergency responders were dispatched after a report of a double shooting near 22nd Street and Blaisdell Avenue. He was shot while attempting to give medical aid to someone a block away from the incident, and later died of his injuries.

“That in itself, that’s just who Jamal instinctively was. That is a tribute to his foundation, putting others first. Living a selfless life to impact someone’s heart, to impact someone’s life,” said Denise Raper, Mitchell’s aunt and godmother.

Mitchell was born and raised in Connecticut and has six other siblings.

He moved to Minnesota about five years ago and had been living in Minneapolis with his long-term partner, Tori Myslajek. Together they were raising 20-year-old Koen, 9-year-old Jalen, 7-year-old Kaden and 4-year-old Macen, Myslajek said in a statement.

“Jamal and I created a beautiful life in Minnesota, and he was deeply passionate about helping and serving the community of Minneapolis,” Myslajek said in the short statement.

A family poses for a photo
Jamal Mitchell and Tori Myslajek pose for a photo with their children.
Courtesy photo

In 2022, Mitchell became a police officer at the Minneapolis Police Department. Raper-Edwards, who raised Mitchell and his six siblings as a single mom, said she’s proud of the man and father he came to be.

“To know that I have seven and knowing that he's a twin and I lost one, my heart is broken. And I know in time God is gonna heal it. But I am going to miss those phone calls. He would call me while he's on the way to work, ‘Mama, what you doing? And he's like, ‘Oh, look at this jerk driving’ to me, he’ll make those stupid comments like that. And I'm like, ‘Look baby, just be safe out there. Just take your time.’ He like ‘Mama I got this,’” she said with a chuckle.

“I will never have another Jamal, he's irreplaceable.”

Mitchell loved being a police officer. When he visited his mother and stepfather in Florida two months ago, they walked through downtown Disney together. Mitchell made sure to greet everyone, including anyone in uniform.

“He would talk to people as you walk by, especially a police officer. First thing he said ‘Thank you for your service. Oh and by the way, let me tell you, I'm a police officer too.’ He’d let them know that he was a police officer and they would get to talk,” said Dennis Ray Edwards Sr., Mitchell’s stepfather.

Mitchell’s family is planning a service to commemorate Mitchell in his hometown in Connecticut. They said they will miss his “gentle spirit” tremendously.

Police officers
Officer Jamal Mitchell with Minneapolis police Chief Brian O'Hara.
Courtesy Minneapolis Police Department
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