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Kong v. City of Burnsville

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

December 14, 2018

Sok Kong, Trustee for Next-of-Kin of Map Kong, Decedent, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Burnsville; Maksim Yakovlev, in his individual and official capacity; John Mott, in his individual and official capacity; and Taylor Jacobs, in his individual and official capacity, Defendants.

          Richard E. Student and Steven J. Meshbesher, for Plaintiff.

          Patrick C. Collins and Joseph E. Flynn, for Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         A little before 6:30 AM, on Thursday, March 17, 2016, Burnsville city police officers encountered a 38-year-old man named Map Kong in the parking lot of a local McDonalds. Mr. Kong was seated in his Pontiac hatchback, high on methamphetamines, shaking erratically, and, most distressingly, waving around a large knife. Around seven minutes later, three of the officers shot and killed Mr. Kong. What happened during those seven minutes was captured on video, and prompted this litigation.

         Mr. Kong's family, Plaintiff here, contends that the video evidence shows police officers unreasonably using deadly force against a confused man in the midst of a mental health crisis, in contravention of the Fourth Amendment, as well as committing violations of the Fourteenth Amendment and Minnesota state negligence law. The City of Burnsville and the three officers who shot Mr. Kong, Defendants here, disagree. They argue that the video evidence shows police officers reasonably responding to a dangerous man on the verge of injuring nearby civilians.

         The Court is now tasked with deciding whether to grant Defendants' summary judgment motion, in which Defendants argue that, given the video evidence and the generous protections afforded by federal and state immunity doctrines, the Court should rule in their favor as a matter of law. Plaintiff vigorously opposes the motion, arguing that, when the video evidence is construed in Mr. Kong's favor, as it must be, qualified immunity cannot be determined as a matter of law, and the case must therefore go before a jury.

         For the following reasons, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion. Specifically, the Court grants Defendants' motion with respect to Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment medical indifference claim, but denies Defendants' motion with respect to Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment excessive force claim and Plaintiff's state law negligence claim.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In relaying the facts of this contentious case, the Court relies on three key principles. First, because excessive force claims are “judged from the perspective of the reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with 20/20 vision of hindsight, ” the Court must focus on only the information the defendant officers had available to them in the moments leading up to the shooting. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989); accord Tatum v. Robinson, 858 F.3d 544, 549 (8th Cir. 2017). Second, because this case is in a summary judgment posture, the Court must “not resolve genuine disputes of fact in favor of” Defendants, and it “must view the evidence in the light most favorable to” Plaintiff, including by drawing all “reasonable inferences . . . in [Plaintiff's] favor.” Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650, 656-57, 660 (2014) (per curiam); accord Wealot v. Brooks, 865 F.3d 1119, 1125 (8th Cir. 2017). Third, although the Court need not accept Plaintiff's version of events to the extent it is “blatantly contradicted” by video evidence, Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007), “inconclusive” video evidence must still be construed in Plaintiff's favor, Raines v. Counseling Assocs., Inc., 883 F.3d 1071, 1074-75 (8th Cir. 2018); accord Thompson v. City of Monticello, 894 F.3d 993, 998-99 (8th Cir. 2018).

         A. Factual Description of the Shooting

         This is the rare officer-involved shooting case in which the entire incident is captured on the four present officers' body cameras. As such, in describing the shooting, the Court relies principally on video evidence. The Court will supplement its description of this footage with facts gleaned from the officers' post-shooting Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) interviews as well as various deposition testimony.

         Because Officer John Mott's body camera appears to best capture the entirety of the incident, the Court will generally cite to that footage. (See Defs.' Ex. H [Doc. No. 38-6] (“Mott Body Camera”).) Still, because each of the officers' body cameras offers a unique and important perspective, the Court will cite to other footage when necessary. (See Defs.' Ex. J [Doc. No. 38-8] (“Jacobs Body Camera”); Defs.' Ex. N [Doc. No. 38-10] (“Tonne Body Camera”); Defs.' Ex. Q [Doc. No. 38-12] (“Yakovlev Body Camera”).)

         For ease of understanding, the Court will break down the shooting into four discrete segments: (1) the officers' initial encounter with Mr. Kong; (2) the officers' decision to break Mr. Kong's car windows after their commanding officer, Sergeant Maksim Yakovlev, arrived; (3) the officers' use of a taser on Mr. Kong; and (4) the officers' use of deadly force on Mr. Kong. At the outset, though, the Court again emphasizes that most of the events described below took place over the course of only seven minutes.

         1. The Officers Encounter Mr. Kong in His Car After Receiving a 9-1-1 Call and Consider Their Options

         At 6:16 AM, on Thursday, March 17, 2016, a customer at the Burnsville McDonalds near State Highway 13 called 9-1-1. (See Defs.' Ex. G [Doc. No. 38-5] (“Incident Recall Report”).) The customer calmly told the operator that the police “should send a car down” because “a guy” was “jumpin' back and forth” inside his car in the parking lot, and had a “knife in his hand” that “he's been waving back and forth.” (Defs.' Ex. D [Doc. No. 38-3] (“9-1-1 Call Transcript”); see also Defs.' Ex. C [Doc. No. 38-2] (audio recording of call).) The customer then clarified that the car was not running, and that the man had been “carrying on” like this for at least a half an hour. (9-1-1 Call Transcript at 2.) The customer also noted that he was not sure if somebody else was in the car. (Id. at 1.)

         A dispatcher simultaneously relayed to police officers in the area that “suspicious” activity was occurring at the Burnsville McDonalds off Highway 13. (Defs.' Ex. F [Doc. No. 38-5] at 1 (“Transcript of Police Department Radio Traffic”); see also Defs.' Ex. E [Doc. No. 38-4] at 00:10-00:30 (“Audio Radio Traffic”).) Namely, “a male in the vehicle in the lot who is jumping up and down inside his car . . . unknown if he is alone . . . he may be waving a knife back and forth inside the car.” (Id.) Shortly thereafter, the dispatcher added that the “vehicle ha[d] been there for more than half an hour, ” and that an employee had seen the knife. (Id. at 2:09 to 2:18.) The officers did not receive information that the “suspicious” individual had directly threatened anyone at the McDonalds, or that he had committed a crime.[1]

         In response to this dispatch, Burnsville city police officers John Mott and Taylor Jacobs arrived in separate vehicles at the McDonalds parking lot around 6:22 AM. (See Incident Recall Rep.) Officer Mott had been a police officer for around eight years. (Defs.' Ex. L [Doc. No. 38-9] at 8 (“Mott Deposition”).)[2] Further, because Officer Mott had taken a “40-hour week long crisis intervention training” course five years prior, the City considered him a “Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) member.” (Id. at 30, 70-71.) Per the Burnsville Police Department's “Crisis Intervention Policy” (also known as Policy No. 423, or CIT Policy), a CIT member should be the lead officer when dealing with someone “who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis, ”[3] and should attempt to follow the “de-escalation” steps outlined by the policy, with the goal of “resolv[ing] the incident by the safest and least confrontational means possible.” (Defs.' Ex. RR [Doc. No. 38-19] at 2 (“CIT Policy”).) These steps include requesting backup officers and specialized resources, turning off flashing lights, acknowledging a person's potential inability to understand commands, securing the scene and clearing the immediate area, and, if possible, “passively monitoring the situation” and/or using alternatives to force. (Id.) Officer Jacobs had been a police officer for four years, and, although he was not a CIT member, he was familiar with the Burnsville police department's CIT policy. (See Defs.' Ex. M [Doc. No. 38-9] at 6, 37-38 (“Jacobs Deposition”).)

         Upon parking, Officer Jacobs took down Mr. Kong's license plate number, but did not request any further information connected to the license plate number. (See Defs.' Ex. J [Doc. No. 38-8] at 0:40-0:44 (“Jacobs Body Camera”); see also Jacobs Dep. at 9 (stating that, although he could have asked dispatch for additional information connected to a license plate, he did not do so in this case).) Then, because the sun had not yet risen, Officers Jacobs and Mott approached Mr. Kong's blue Pontiac hatchback with flashlights (and firearms) drawn. (See Mott Body Camera at 1:20-1:25.)[4]

         In the body camera footage, one can see steady weekday morning traffic in the background, both on the Frontage Road directly abutting the McDonalds, and, more particularly, on Highway 13, which lay a short distance from the parking lot. (See, e.g., id. at 00:50-1:00.) Further, over the course of this encounter, one can see cars turning into the McDonalds parking lot en route to the drive-thru. (See Defs.' Ex. W [Doc. No. 38-16] at 19 (“Expert Report of Forensic Video Solutions”) (noting that, over the course of the incident, 13 civilian vehicles moved in and out of the parking lot).) However, one cannot see any pedestrians walking around, possibly because of the early morning hour and the fact that the surrounding properties are all commercial/industrial in nature. (See Defs.' Br. in Support of Summ. J. (“Defs.' Br.”) [Doc. No. 37] at 5 (displaying screenshot of area from Google Maps, which the Court replicates below).)

         (Image Omitted)

         When Officers Mott and Jacobs reached the vehicle, they encountered a very agitated Mr. Kong. Specifically, Mr. Kong was seated in the drivers' seat with the windows rolled up, and he was rocking back and forth while slashing a large knife through the air in front of him, as if he was fighting an invisible person. (See, e.g., Mott Body Camera at 1:40-1:45.) In an interview taken hours after the incident, Officer Mott aptly described Mr. Kong's motions as “frantic” and “abnormal.” (Defs.' Ex. JJ [Doc. No. 38-18] at 7 (“Mott BCA Interview”); see also Defs.' Ex. KK [Doc. No. 38-18] at 11 (“Jacobs BCA Interview”) (stating that, when he first saw Mr. Kong, he “looked like he was in some sort of distress”).) At their depositions, both officers also stated that, at the time, they thought Mr. Kong was under the influence of methamphetamines or bath salts. (See Mott Dep. at 21; Jacobs Dep. at 10.) Nonetheless, both officers also contended at their depositions that, at the time, they did not believe this was a “mental health situation, ” in which the aforementioned CIT policy would apply. (See Mott Dep. at 21, 64-70, 72-73; Jacobs Dep. at 14, 25-26, 38.)

         With their firearms and flashlights pointed directly at Mr. Kong, the officers immediately (and repeatedly) began yelling at Mr. Kong to “drop the knife” and show his hands, but to no avail. (See Mott Body Camera at 1:20-2:10.) Officer Jacobs also informed Mr. Kong that he was under arrest. (Id. at 1:34.) Although Officer Jacobs did not tell Mr. Kong what he was under arrest for at the time, at his deposition Officer Jacobs clarified that he could have arrested Mr. Kong for “disorderly conduct, threats of violence . . . obstruction.” (Jacobs Dep. at 10; see also Defs.' Br. at 23 (providing statutory citations).)[5]

         About 30 seconds after Officers Mott and Jacob first approached Mr. Kong, a third Burnsville city police officer, Officer Lynrae Tonne, arrived. (See Mott Body Camera at 2:10 (car pulling up), 2:40 (joining officers).) Officer Tonne had been a police officer for around 18 years, and, like Officers Jacobs, was familiar with the CIT policy, but not a CIT team member. (See Defs.' Ex. P [Doc. No. 38-11] at 6, 30 (“Tonne Deposition”); Defs.' Ex. LL [Doc. No. 38-18] at 3 (“Tonne BCA Interview”).) At Officer Mott's direction, Officer Tonne parked her squad car immediately in front of Mr. Kong's vehicle. (See Mott Body Camera at 2:10-2:12.)

         Because verbal commands and pointed handguns were not causing Mr. Kong to drop the knife (or having any effect on him at all), the three officers began discussing alternative options. In between continued shouts of “drop the knife!”, Officer Mott suggested “bust[ing] a window” and “tas[ing] him, ” to which Officer Jacobs said, “we can hold off a little bit here, but we can bust the window and tase him if you want.” (Mott Body Camera at 2:30-2:48.) “If he gets out, ” Officer Jacobs added, “I'll go lethal.” (See id. at 2:48-2:50; Jacobs Dep. at 11 (explaining that, to police, “go lethal” means having one's handgun out and ready to fire).) The officers then contemplated how best to surround Mr. Kong's car so as to taser him without risking “cross fire, ” which prompted Officer Mott to comment, “this is going to go badly either way.” (Mott Body Camera at 3:22.) At one point, Officer Jacobs observed that Mr. Kong might have a gun in the car, too. (Id. at 4:56.)

         Still, for roughly another three minutes, the officers did not take further action against Mr. Kong. Instead, they held their ground around the car and watched Mr. Kong occasionally burst into frantic fits of gyrations and knife waving, as he had been doing since the officers arrived. (See generally Id. at 3:20-6:20.) At no point did Mr. Kong attempt to exit the car or engage with the officers. Perhaps because of this, Officer Tonne stated, “he's contained for now, so let's just wait until other people get here.” (Id. at 4:10-4:16.) However, the officers did not discuss this “containment” option, or any other tactical decisions, at length.

         Moreover, during this three-minute pause Officer Jacob called for a “stage medic” and then moved his squad car behind Mr. Kong's vehicle, so that Officer Tonne's car and his car would block Mr. Kong in from the front and back. (Id. at 5:40; see also Jacobs Body Camera at 3:54; Audio Radio Traffic at 10:04.) Although there was no discussion at the time as to why Officers Jacobs called for a medic, at his deposition Officer Jacobs stated that “staging medics [at the scene] is something I commonly do . . . if I see somebody that's under the influence of what I believe to be methamphetamines.” (Jacobs Dep. at 15-16.) He also expressed concern about “a potential victim in the car.” (Id.)[6]

         Around the same time, Officer Mott requested that any additional units “completely block off traffic coming into the McDonalds parking lot.” (Mott Body Camera at 5:50-5:54; Audio Radio Traffic at 11:24.) However, neither officer appeared to confirm when medics and/or additional units would arrive.

         2. After Sergeant Yakovlev Arrives, the Officers Decide to Break Two of Mr. Kong's Car Windows to See If Anyone Else Is Inside

          This momentary lull in activity concluded when Sergeant Maksim Yakovlev arrived on the scene. (See Tonne Body Camera at 3:50; see also Incident Recall Rep. (noting that Sergeant Yakovlev (“Stat BV/45S39”) arrived at 6:30 AM).) Sergeant Yakovlev had been a police officer for 13 years, including a sergeant for four of those years, and was familiar with the department's CIT policy. (See Defs.' Ex. S [Doc. No. 38-13] at 6-7, 30 (“Yakovlev Deposition”).)

         After parking his brightly-lit squad car at the Frontage Road entrance to the McDonalds (albeit without completely blocking off the entrance), Sergeant Yakovlev approached his fellow officers and asked whether Mr. Kong was “cutting himself or what, ” to which Officers Jacobs replied “no, he's just swinging the knife around.” (Jacobs Body Camera at 5:40-5:45.) Officer Jacobs then assessed the situation for Sergeant Yakovlev: “So, our options so far, he's contained, we can bust the window and pop him with a Taser, 'cause if he hops out of that car . . . .” (Id. at 5:45-5:55.) Officer Mott added that, while it looked as though Mr. Kong was by himself, they could not see the backseat. (Id. at 6:03-6:05.)

         In response, Sergeant Yakovlev suggested that the officers “figure out if he's by himself there first.” (Yakovlev Body Camera at 1:55-2:00.) After circling around toward the passenger side of Mr. Kong's car (the side of the car farther away from Frontage Road), and finding those windows just as fogged up as the ones on the drivers' side, Sergeant Yakovlev and Officer Mott instructed Officer Jacobs to “bust out [Mr. Kong's] back window” with his baton, while still “watch[ing] the cross-fire.” (Id. at 2:30-2:30.)

         As the officers surrounded the Pontiac even more closely, Mr. Kong continued to frantically gyrate back and forth in his seat, knife in hand. (See Mott Body Camera at 7:00-7:20.) The officers did not discuss what they would do if Mr. Kong was, in fact, alone in his vehicle, or what they would do if Mr. Kong “hopped out of the car, ” as Officer Jacobs had alluded to a moment earlier. Rather, as Officers Jacobs began swinging his baton into Mr. Kong's car window, the three other officers stood in an L-shaped formation around the car, guns aimed at Mr. Kong.[7]

         3. The Officers Twice Taser Mr. Kong, Who Is Still Sitting Inside His Car

         At this point, everything began to move very quickly. Immediately after Officer Jacobs successfully smashed Mr. Kong's passenger-side windows, Officers Tonne and Mott again began yelling at Mr. Kong to “drop the knife!” (See Mott Body Camera at 7:40-7:45.) At the same time, and without further discussion, Officer Jacobs exclaimed “taser, taser, ” and fired his taser at Mr. Kong. (Id. at 7:45; see also Jacobs Dep. at 22, 39 (asserting that “taser, taser” functioned as a warning for both Mr. Kong and his fellow officers).) Although Mr. Kong made various high-pitched, distressed squealing noises in response to this activity, the taser did not cause him to either drop his knife or cease bouncing up and down in his seat. (See, e.g., Mott Body Camera at 7:42, 7:55.) Further, although Mr. Kong had not moved to exit his vehicle at this point, Sergeant Yakovlev, standing near the front of the car, closest to Mr. Kong, repeatedly said “he's coming out” and readied his firearm. (See Yakovlev Body Camera at 2:56-2:58; see also Forensic Video Analysis Ex. Rep. at 17 (noting that Sergeant Yakovlev stood about ten feet from Mr. Kong's car).)

         About ten seconds later, as Officer Jacobs prepared to fire a second taser round at Mr. Kong (presumably because the first one did not have the desired effect), Mr. Kong swung his knife closer to the broken passenger-side window. Mr. Kong then fell back in his seat as the second taser shot hit him. (See Mott Body Camera at 8:03-8:07; Tonne Body Camera at 5:38-5:40; see also Defs.' June 1, 2018 Letter [Doc. No. 56] (providing further detail on this point).) Defendants describe this moment as an “assault” on Officer Jacobs, in which Mr. Kong “violently swung and lunged his large knife out of the broken passenger side window at [Officer] Jacobs.” (Defs' Br. at 13; see also id. at 23 (citing Minn. Stat. § 609.221, subd. 2 (first degree felony assault on a police officer).) Plaintiff, by contrast, interprets Mr. Kong's motion as part and parcel of the “the erratic arm motions he had been making prior to the taser deployment, ” or, “at most, ” a defensive reaction “to the taser cartridge and/or wire at the moment the taser is deployed for a second time.” (See Pl.'s Br. in Opp'n to Defs.' Summ. J. Mot. [Doc. No. 48] at 10 (“Pl.'s Br.”))

         4. The Officers Shoot and Kill Mr. Kong as He Attempts to Flee His Car

         In either event, right after the second taser round hit Mr. Kong, Mr. Kong stumbled out of the driver-side door and fell to the pavement. (See Yakovlev Body Camera at 3:15; Mott Body Camera at 8:06-8:08.) However, he quickly stood up, knife in hand, and began running north toward Frontage Road, away from the officers and away from the McDonalds. (See Yakovlev Body Camera at 3:16-3:21; Mott Body Camera at 8:09-8:12.) One onlooker from inside the restaurant, a McDonalds employee named Guadalupe Sandoval, stated that, when Mr. Kong fled his car, he looked “scared.” (See Defs.' Ex. Y [Doc. No. 38-17] at 14 (“Sandoval Deposition”) (explaining that, after the officers tased Mr. Kong, “he opened the door scared and ran”).)[8]

         Then, without further discussion or warnings, Officers Mott, Jacobs, and Yakovlev shot Mr. Kong from the back and side, ultimately firing at least 23 bullets within a span of three seconds. (See Dakota Cty. Mem. at 7 (number of bullets); Forensic Video Solutions Ex. Rep. at 25 (timespan).) 15 bullets hit Mr. Kong, killing him instantly. (See Dakota County Memorandum at 8; see also Mott Body Camera at 10:00-10:05 (finding no pulse upon checking Mr. Kong's body).) Officer Mott later stated that this was the first time he had discharged his weapon in the line of duty. (See Mott BCA Interview at 14.)[9]

         At the time of the shooting, the video evidence shows a tan civilian vehicle exiting the McDonalds, driven by a woman named Patricia Unterschuetz, around 30 feet northwest of Mr. Kong. (See Forensic Video Solutions Ex. Rep. at 17-18; Yakovlev Body Camera at 3:11-3:13.) Indeed, one of the officer's bullets lodged into Ms. Underschuetz's back bumper as she pulled out of the parking lot. (See Defs.' Ex. BB [Doc. No. 38-17] (“Pictures of Bullet in Ms. Unterschuetz's Vehicle”); Defs.' Ex. X [Doc. No. 38-17] at 20-23 (“Unterschuetz Deposition”) (explaining that she did not realize a bullet hit her car until later that day).) Moreover, steady traffic on Highway 13 is visible in the background, as are a few cars driving along Frontage Road. (See, e.g., Mott Body Camera at 8:12-8:20; Tonne Body Camera 5:55-6:05.)

         However, apart from the officers and the McDonalds' customers and employees in the store, all of whom Mr. Kong was moving away from at the time of his death, no pedestrians are visible in the video. (Accord Mott Dep. at 38 (confirming that, at the time of the incident, he did not recall Mr. Kong running toward “any pedestrians not in vehicles”).) Further, although Defendants argue that Officer Mott and Tonne's body cameras show Mr. Kong “sprinting toward [Ms.] Unterschuetz with a long knife in his right hand, ” (Defs.' Letter June 1, 2018 Letter at 2), when one views the videos in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, it appears that Mr. Kong is simply running in the direction of Frontage Road, and away from the officers tasing him, rather than at Ms. Underschuetz's vehicle in particular. (See, e.g., Mott Body Camera at 8:10.)

         Still, in both their BCA interviews and depositions, all four officers contended that when Mr. Kong ran from his car, knife in hand, he posed an imminent threat of “great bodily harm or death” to both themselves and the surrounding public. (See Defs.' Br. at 17 (collecting record citations).) For instance, Officer Mott stated that, even if Mr. Kong was not poised to attack any one person or car, deadly force was justified because “there was cars constantly coming and going, ” including “traffic just basically across the parking lot on Highway 13.” (Mott Dep. at 37; see also Yakovlev Dep. at 21 (stating that, regardless of Mr. Kong's intent, Mr. Kong had the “opportunity and means” to harm “people that are on Highway 13 and the Frontage Road and in that general area, including my officers”).) More specifically, Sergeant Yakovlev worried that, “if [Mr. Kong] would've got close enough to that traffic, then he could either carjack a car or stab somebody or run in the traffic and get hit himself.” (Defs.' Ex. MM [Doc. No. 38-18] at 20 (“Yakovlev BCA Interview”).)[10]

         Ms. Sandoval, the aforementioned McDonalds employee, and Kimberly Starinskis, a McDonalds drive-thru customer who exited the premise seconds before the shooting, also said that, at the time, they feared for the safety of everyone around Mr. Kong. (See Sandoval Dep. at 15, 19; Defs. Ex. HH [Doc. No. 38-18] at 23-24 (“Starinskis Deposition”).)[11]

         5. The Aftermath

         Almost immediately after the officers shot Mr. Kong another Burnsville police officer, detective Sergeant Gast, arrived on the scene, followed by three more police officers in the ensuing minutes. (See generally Yakovlev Body Camera at 3:40-10:00; Yakovlev Dep. at 12-14; Incident Recall Rep. (showing that Sergeant Gast arrived at 6:31 AM, followed by other officers at 6:34, 6:38, and 6:46).) Some of these officers were from the neighboring Savage, Minnesota police department, which Sergeant Yakovlev had radioed for assistance after Mr. Kong's death. (Id.)[12]

         Medics arrived about five minutes after the shooting, at 6:35 AM, and carried away Mr. Kong's body. (See Yakovlev Body Camera at 9:44; Incident Recall Rep.) A post-mortem toxicology test confirmed that Mr. Kong was under the influence of amphetamines and methamphetamines at the time of his death. (See Dakota Cty. Mem. at 8.)

         Per County policy, the Dakota County Attorney's office empaneled a grand jury to consider filing criminal charges against Officers Jacobs, Mott, and Yakovlev. (See Defs.' Ex. NN [Doc. No. 38-18] (“Dakota County Press Release”).) However, on June 21, 2016, the County Attorney announced that the grand jury had concluded that the officers' use of deadly force was justified under Minnesota law. (Id.)

         B. Procedural History

         1. Claims and Defenses at Issue

         A few months later, on October 26, 2016, the court-appointed trustee for Mr. Kong's next-of-kin, which include Mr. Kong's “two sons, his parents, and his nine siblings, ” filed this lawsuit. (See Compl. [Doc. No. 1] ¶ 4.) In it, the trustee (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) asserted Section 1983 claims against Officers Mott, Jacobs, and Yakovlev (hereinafter “Defendants”) for (1) use of excessive force against Mr. Kong, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and (2) deliberate indifference to Mr. Kong's objectively serious medical needs, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also asserted a state law negligence claim against ...


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