Police records indicate cop planted gun on dead teen: lawsuit
A Minneapolis family is suing after attorneys discovered in police records what they say is proof that a 19-year-old gunned down by an officer in 2006 while allegedly waving a gun, was actually unarmed.
Officer Jason Anderson, who shot Fong Lee eight times after chasing him through a playground, was honored for his bravery after a Baikal .380 was found just two feet from the corpse.
But a new suit filed by Fong's family carries the weight of police records which indicate officer Anderson had taken the Russian firearm from his precinct's evidence locker, where it had been logged after a burglary in 2004. Attorneys for Fong's family also released video surveillance images which they say prove Lee was not armed.
An additional apparent buoy to Fong's family: the gun, which was allegedly waved at police, did not turn up any fingerprints or DNA, despite the chief of police claiming otherwise to the victim's family and a citizen panel.
"The witnesses said [Police Chief Timothy] Dolan made the statement to them and Fong Lee's family members," reported TwinCities.com. "They said the chief said the prints bolstered the officer's claim that the man was carrying a gun and the officer shot in self-defense — a claim now challenged by lawyers for the dead man's family.
"'The chief said that he had a fingerprint on the gun. I heard that,' Al Flowers, a member of the Police Community Relations Council, said Wednesday. 'That's how the chief downplayed it to everybody, by putting it down there that he had a fingerprint on the gun.'"
"But new evidence filed Monday in a lawsuit brought by Lee's family against Andersen and the city of Minneapolis suggests that the gun had been in police possession, not Lee's, for nearly two years before the shooting," reported the Star-Tribune. "A Police Department report provided to Judge Paul Magnuson showed the gun found near Lee's body was the same gun recovered from a burglary in north Minneapolis in 2004, inventoried and kept in the department's property room since the burglary.
"In alleging the gun was planted, the filing says that when the Police Department discovered the origin of the gun, it issued a new supplemental report "trying to intimate" the gun recovered in 2004 and registered to the person who was burglarized might now not be the same gun. In 2004, police ran the gun's serial number and verified it belonged to the burglary victim, but never returned it to him, according to the document filed Monday."
"Officer Andersen was found to be justified in his shooting of Fong Lee in 2006 by the police department's internal investigation," reported NBC's KARE 11.
"Police Chief Tim Dolan also defended Andersen's actions publicly. Anderson was even given an award for his actions by the department calling his work that day, brave.
"Andersen joined the Minneapolis police department in August of 2005 and remains active on the force."
Police have steadfastly denied the family's claims and say they are confident a further investigation will clear officer Anderson of the allegations.
This video is from KARE, broadcast Apr. 1, 2009.
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