Testimony ends in Fong Lee case; jury takes over tomorrowby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Testimony wrapped up today in the wrongful death trial of a Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Fong Lee, 19, in 2006. Officer Jason Andersen says he shot Lee because he thought the teenager was carrying a gun and feared for his life. Family members and friends claim in their lawsuit that Lee didn't have a gun, and that police planted the gun next to his body.
St. Paul, Minn. — The plaintiffs' last witness was the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Fong Lee in 2006. Dr. Jonathan Thompson provided written testimony read in court about the bullets fired into Lee's body.
Thompson said Lee was struck three times in the back part of his body, twice in his right side and three more times in the front part of his body.
After the Lee family attorneys rested their case, Minneapolis city attorney Jim Moore declared the evidence didn't show that officer Jason Andersen intentionally shot an unarmed man. He asked Judge Paul Magnuson to dismiss their case. Magnuson denied the request.
The defense called just four witnesses to testify on behalf of officer Andersen. The first was Michael Brave, a police officer of more than 30 years who is also a law enforcement consultant.
Brave testified that if a reasonable police officer perceives that his life is in danger, then the use of deadly force is justifiable.
The last defense witness was a woman who lived near the site of the shooting. She testified that on the night of the shooting, she heard a voice yell, "put down the gun," and then a series of gunshots.
However, two other women with her at the time say they didn't hear the voice, they just heard the shots.
Throughout the trial, Lee family lawyers have relied on two pieces of evidence to make their case.
The first is video footage of Lee running from officer Andersen. They say the images show Lee was not armed.
Their second main point involves the gun found next to Lee's body. Police forensic scientists testified that the gun had no fingerprints, blood spatters or smudges -- nothing that can trace it directly to Fong Lee.
The jury of eight men and four women will begin deliberations following closing statements tomorrow morning.
- All Things Considered, 05/26/2009, 5:44 p.m.