The mother of an Illinois man killed by St. Paul police is suing

Authorities have said Cordale Handy had a gun, but the lawsuit argues he wasn't a threat.
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The mother of Cordale Handy, an Illinois man shot and killed by St. Paul police in March, is filing a federal lawsuit against the department.

The lawsuit (read it here) names the St. Paul Police Department, the city itself, and the two officers involved in the shooting as defendants. It argues the two officers shot Handy "without cause or provocation" then later falsely claimed Handy was a danger to them. The suit also accuses the department and city of fostering policies that are unconstitutional and target people of color.

Handy, 29 years old, was shot March 15 in the street near a St. Paul apartment building. Officers had gone there on a domestic situation call, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said the officers arrived to find Handy in the street with a gun. He refused to put it down, and even pointed it at officers twice, the agency says.

A St. Paul Police Department spokesperson declined to offer a detailed comment on the lawsuit to the Pioneer Press and MPR.

The officers were not wearing body cameras, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said. Surveillance video from a nearby building shows some of the incident, but not all of it – the bureau says in it, Handy can be see with a gun. It also notes the footage will be released once the investigation is complete.

(Note: The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is in charge of investigating the shooting – it will then turn its findings over to the county attorney's office to review whether charges are a possibility).

Handy's mother says he didn't deserve to die

Handy's mother, Kim Handy-Jones, and her attorney are supposed to speak about the lawsuit Thursday morning. The attorney, Andrew Stroth, heads the Action Injury Law Group in the Chicagoland area, and does work on civil rights cases.

Handy-Jones has previously said her son left his home of Waukegan, Illinois, to escape a past that included earlier run-ins with the law. But none of his previous troubles meant he deserved to die in St. Paul, she said.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell wrote on Facebook at the time that, while he can’t discuss details of the shooting, “I do want you all to know that no one at the Saint Paul Police Department takes pleasure in having to use deadly force. Officers do not choose situations such as the one that occurred this morning, the situations choose the officers."

Handy is one of 287 people killed by police in 2017, according to the Washington Post's database. Three of those have been in Minnesota.

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