Concerns over deadly officer-involved shooting brought to Richfield City Council

Brian Quinones died in an officer-involved shooting in Richfield, Minnesota in September of 2019. (Quinones family)

The first order of business Tuesday at the Richfield City Council meeting was a moment of silence.

“To acknowledge that right now our community is experiencing profound pain,” said Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez.

This comes after the death of 30-year-old Brian Quinones, who died in an officer-involved shooting Saturday night in Richfield. Quinones livestreamed on Facebook as he led police on low speed chase, which ended with Quinones confronting them with a knife on the 900 block of east 77th street.

Loved ones describe Quinones as a father, friend and rap artist with a big heart. Originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, Quinones worked in food production at General Mills by day. He leaves behind his wife Ashley, 12-year-old son Cameron and grieving mother who lives on the island.

Dr. Miguel Fiol, a neurologist who deals a lot with mental health issues, and members of the Puerto Ricans in Minnesota Committee, was the first to make public comment at the council meeting.

“It is a real fact that Puerto Ricans are under significant stress,” said Dr. Fiol.

Dr. Fiol pointed to Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the recent revolution in Puerto Rico as examples of stressors facing Puerto Ricans.

“We want to be sure that the rights of mentally ill people are respected,” said Dr. Fiol. “I, as a physician, am concerned about that as well.”

Residents as well as representatives of the National Alliance of Mental Illness Minnesota shared the concern over how officers handle encounters with people suffering an acute or psychotic break.

“They really don’t have the training that they need to deal with those situations,” said John Trepp with NAMI MN.

“Instead of using deadly force, the police officers should have the option to use tail stabilized bean bag rounds or other forms of less than lethal ammunition,” said Robert Cerny, a Richfield resident.

County leaders are taking these considerations with heavy hearts as the entire community still mourns.

“This is very painful, my condolences go out to that family,” said Hennepin County District 5 Commissioner Debbie Goettel.

No response to the public testimony was offered. 

In regards to the usage of body cameras at the shooting Saturday night, FOX 9 confirmed the Richfield Police Department only has a few body cameras. It’s unclear whether the Richfield officers involved in the shooting were wearing them. The Edina Police Department won’t have body cameras until the middle of next year.

When the investigation by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is finished, the footage from the responding squad vehicles’ dash cameras is expected to be released.