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Graphic video shows Mahnomen County deputy shooting armed woman

Video shows the deputy shoot five times at the 20-year-old woman, who survived.

The Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office has released dash-cam video of a deputy shooting a 20-year-old woman following a pursuit in March. 

The incident happened March 13 when Mahnomen County Deputy Dakota Czerny shot 20-year-old Shequoya Basswood, of Mahnomen, several times following a car chase after she "produced a handgun," authorities said in March. 

The BCA's investigation and preliminary report to the public said Basswood pulled out a gun and was then shot a short time later. But the sheriff's account of what happened was provided in further detail Wednesday, alleging that Czerny ordered Basswood to drop the gun and then shot her after she allegedly "turned toward Deputy Czerny, cycled the action on the firearm, and pointed it at him."

"The video begins showing Basswood and another female standing outside the suspect vehicle when Deputy Czerny ordered them to place their hands on the vehicle while he was retrieving additional sets of handcuffs from his squad car. Deputy Czerny approached the females and began to place handcuffs on the other involved female. At one point Deputy Czerny saw a gun in Basswood’s possession and began to retreat away from her, drawing his firearm, and ordering her to drop the gun. Basswood then turned toward Deputy Czerny, cycled the action on the firearm, and pointed it at him. Deputy Czerny fired his firearm, striking Basswood. The video ends at that point."

The media release from the BCA in March made no mention of threats directed at the deputy. 

There is audio from the squad vehicle, though it is difficult to be certain about what is said outside. It does sound like someone says "drop the gun" and "she's got a gun" before five shots are fired by Czerny, who then trips on a snow bank as he backs away.

Basswood, after being struck, was eventually flown to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo. She survived her injuries, but activists claim she was "left to lay on the ground for a half hour" before medical assistance arrived, and also claims a procedure to remove a bullet from her spine had to be canceled due to her detainment at Aitkin County Jail.

The Mahnomen County Sheriff Josh Guenther says the dash-cam video was released to provide "transparency" and to quell rumors, claiming "a narrative being pushed through social media from a coalition out of the Twin Cities area stating that Deputy Czerny attempted to murder Basswood."

"This coalition has created a 'Wanted' poster regarding Deputy Czerny, which raises serious questions about Deputy Czerny’s safety. The intent of releasing this video is to make the public aware of the facts," Guenther added.

The posted the sheriff referenced was posted online by the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar. It refers to Czerny as a "suspect" wanted for "attempted murder."

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Basswood told the Star Tribune she did have a gun, but was simply taking it out of her shirt as the deputy told her to put her hands on the vehicle's hood. The video does appear to show her raising it towards Deputy Czerny.

In its post, the Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office says after shooting her, Deputy Czerny "requested medical attention for Basswood and began to render medical aid to her as soon as the scene was safe."

Basswood has been charged with first-degree assault, first-degree attempted murder, fleeing a police officer, and being in possession of a gun without a permit. At the time of the incident, Basswood was wanted for an alleged assault that took place June 30, 2021, for which she was charged with second-degree riot, first-degree assault and interfering with a 911 call. 

Note: The details provided in this story are based on the police’s latest version of events, and may be subject to change.

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