St. Paul, MN – Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced today that St. Paul Police Officers Vincent Adams and Matthew Jones will not be charged in the shooting death of White Earth tribal member William (Billy) Hughes. The police killing occurred August 5, 2018 after police responded to 911 call reporting shots fired. Police encountered Hughes after waiting outside of his apartment door. Hughes, holding a handgun in his right hand, was ordered to put his hands up, and after raising the pistol towards the air, police officers shot him.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi exonerated the officers after he stated that the use of force by “Vincent Adams and Matthew Jones was objectively reasonable given all of the circumstances that they knew.” Investigation documents sent to Choi from the BCA described police officers responding to a 911 call of shots fired.
The officers parked their vehicles some distance and moved on the house with guns drawn and into the unlit porch before knocking on one of the two doors. Police heard someone behind the second door police did not knock on say, “I’m going to kill you.” Police acknowledge hearing the voice, then moved back and waited in the dark on the porch.
The door opened and police switch their flashlights yelling a multitude of commands as Billy Hughes walked slowly onto the porch both his hands at his sides. The commands of “Put your hands up“, garbled over each other, followed by “put it down“. Billy raised his right hand over his head. Police then fired “21 rounds” from “7-10 feet away.”
After the August 5 police shooting, protests led by local indigenous community members shut down an intersection in front of the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, and the next day rallied in front of the St. Paul Western District police station before marching to Billy’s home.
Family members have called to question the police actions saying that Billy’s life didn’t need to end that day. Some of Billy Hughes’ family feels there are questions left to be answered, and last Unicorn Riot heard they planned to move forward with a civil suit.