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'Conflict of interest' leads attorney's office to hand off review of police shooting

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One of the officers involved in a police shooting Monday is related to an employee in the Ramsey County Attorney's Office – the agency that would normally review the shooting.

Because of that, the office has handed over the case to someone else to investigate, according to a news release sent Friday morning.

The names of the four officers involved in the shooting of St. Paul man Jaffort Demont Smith were released Tuesday. All four were put on standard administrative leave.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said when it learned the names of the officers, it determined there was "an actual conflict of interest in any review" of officers' actions that day.

Jeff Korus, with the St. Paul Police Department, is one of the officers involved. His father is Dave Korus, an investigator with Ramsey County, a spokesperson told BringMeTheNews.

So on Tuesday, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office requested the neighboring Washington County Attorney's Office handle the review of the case.

They've since taken over, and will work with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office meanwhile has had "no involvement" in the matter since it referred the case over, the statement says.

The officers involved are:

  • John Corcoran – 18 years with the department
  • Mark Grundhauser – four years with the department
  • Jeffery Korus – five years with the department
  • Michael Tschida – six years with the department

What the BCA says happened Monday

Smith, 33, was shot after officers responded to report of a man with a gun overnight Monday, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's account.

The bureau says:

Officers responded to Rapid Recovery Towing – an impound lot on Acker Street – around 3:30 a.m.

Based on their preliminary investigation, officials say a woman – a 49-year-old from St. Paul – had entered the business, followed by Smith. Then Smith flashed a gun and took the woman outside.

When officers arrived, they found the two near the intersection of Acker Street East and Buffalo Street. Then, police say Smith shot the woman and fled.

Officers chased Smith to the backyard of a home, where he ignored officers’ orders and shot at police. That’s when officers fired at Smith.

The woman was taken to Regions Hospital, and she’s still there as of Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators are looking into whether or not Smith and the woman had a relationship of any kind.

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