Tekle Sundberg shooting: Officers who shot him won’t face charges

Minneapolis Police Department officers who shot Tekle Sundberg after an hours-long standoff with police in July won’t face charges for the fatal shooting that took his life.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office (HCAO) has declined to file charges in the July 2022 death of Tekle Sundberg, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

"Mr. Sundberg’s death was a tragedy," Freeman said in an announcement. "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Sundberg. People who are suffering from mental health crises are vulnerable, and encounters between those in crisis and law enforcement must be handled with special care. In this case, tragic as it is, the officers' use of deadly force was legally authorized under Minnesota law."

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says the officer-worn bodycam footage of the shooting death of Andrew Tekle Sunderberg will be released to the public.  (FOX 9)

A 39-page report outlines the evidence and applicable law, with the HCAO saying it considered hundreds of hours of bodycam and other evidence obtained by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

In Minnesota, peace officers are authorized to use deadly force while in the line of duty. Deadly force may be used, however, in limited circumstances deadly force is authorized, "If an objectively reasonable officer would believe, based on the totality of the circumstances known to the officer at the time and without the benefit of hindsight, that such force was necessary to protect the peace officer or another from death or great bodily harm."

There must be, at minimum, a threat of death or great bodily harm which: (1) can be articulated with specificity, (2) is reasonably likely to occur absent action by the law enforcement officer, and (3) must be addressed through the use of deadly force without unreasonable delay.

Because all of the elements of the use-of-deadly-force statute have been met in this case, as outlined in detail in the office's report, and the officers' use of deadly force was legally authorized, and criminal charges are not appropriate, according to the announcement.

MPD standoff

On July 13, police say Sundberg shot into the apartment of Arabella Yarbrough, leading to calls for police that resulted in a six-hour standoff at the apartment building at 904 21st Avenue South in Minneapolis.

A week later, among calls for transparency over the shooting from both the public and Sundberg’s family, police bodycam footage was released, including key moments both before and after the shooting. 

According to Frey at the time, the city has already reviewed "hundreds of hours" of footage.

"It is not possible to know Mr. Sundberg's intentions or exact mental state, but those are not determinative in this legal analysis. Instead, we must analyze the use of deadly force based only on what an objectively reasonable officer in the officers’ positions would have known or perceived, and not on what Mr. Sundberg’s intentions may have been," according to the announcement.

In the days that followed the shooting, Arabella Yarbrough, who made the initial call to police and said she was cooking food for her children when Sundberg fired bullets into their home, confronted activists at a protest for Sundberg and against police violence.