6 people demand Mpls. officer be fired after he shot into their vehicle

The police officer fired one shot after the car hit his squad.
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People rallied at the Hennepin County Government Center Friday afternoon to demand action be taken against the Minneapolis police officer who fired a shot into a vehicle full of people last month.

Both police and the people involved have similar stories: the group's car collided with Officer Efram Hamilton's squad car early on Nov. 19, then the officer fired a shot at the vehicle.

No one was injured, but the six people in the car say this incident was close to being deadly. They insist it never should have happened in the first place.

Michael Hughes, who had been riding in the back seat, said the group was just trying to have fun. But that was interrupted by the crash and gunshot. Then officials had the group go to City Hall to be interviewed by investigators, even though they weren't involved in the large bar fight police had been investigating.

"[Law enforcement officials] were treating us like we were suspects in the whole situation," Hughes said.

When Caylea Wade – who was driving – was asked what she thinks should happen to the officer, she said he needs to be fired. The rest of the young adults who'd been in the car with her chimed in, saying the same thing.

According to the Facebook event, the group has some demands from the City of Minneapolis.

First, they want police to stop shooting at innocent people. The group also asks Mayor Betsy Hodges to fire the chief and officer involved. They want all information – including video footage – to be released, along with an apology and payment for damages to the vehicle.

The group said they've scheduled a meeting with the mayor next week. Still, they marched to her office to deliver the demands early.

What happened

A police officer who shot into a vehicle of bystanders during a late night brawl is still on leave, as the investigation into his actions continues.

The single shot was fired a little after bars closed at 2 a.m. on Nov. 19, in downtown Minneapolis, police said at the time. A report of a fight, comprising 30-40 people, drew officers to the 400 block of 3rd Ave. N. Two people had been injured by gunfire and officers heard shots fired.

During the commotion, a vehicle full of passersby hit the side of an officer's squad, police said. The officer responded by firing his weapon at that car, the bullet hitting the side. Nobody was injured.

But the six people inside the car at the time filed complaints days later against the officer who fired his weapon, the Star Tribune reported. The paper also spoke to the father one of the women in the car.

They've said another officer told them to back up – they did, and that's when their car hit the squad.

The officer, Efrem Hamilton, has been relieved of duty until the internal affairs investigation is complete, Minneapolis Police spokesperson Corey Schmidt told GoMN Friday.

The department later put out an update on the status of the investigation. The case has been sent to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office (which reviews investigations to determine if charges are possible), and it's also being looked at by the department's Internal Affairs Unit.

Minneapolis police said they take cases of an officer using deadly force "very seriously," and noted that within two days of the incident, Police Chief Janeé Harteau met with the owner of the vehicle. They've also pledged to be transparent throughout the investigation.

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