Minnesota state Sen. Osmek on push to penalize protesters
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Additional charges could be brought against Minnesota National Guard shooting suspect Andrew Thomas once an indictment is filed, Fox News has learned.
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A spokesperson for the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office told Fox News that when a defendant is charged via a criminal complaint, it typically signals that an indictment will be filed within the next 30 days.
“Depending on the evidence, an indictment could contain additional charges,” the spokesperson said.
On Monday, the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office charged the 29-year-old with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is not allowed to have a firearm due to a prior felony conviction, the office noted in its news release.
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According to the allegations outlined in the criminal complaint, a team of Minnesota National guardsmen and Minneapolis police officers encountered multiple shots fired from a light-colored SUV on Sunday at 4:20 a.m. while providing neighborhood security near Penn Avenue and Broadway.
Authorities said that one of the shots went through the windshield of the team’s military vehicle. As a result of the incident, one of the guardsmen was taken to a local hospital to receive treatment for injuries from shattered glass, while the other was left with “superficial injuries.”
“I am relieved to know none of our Guardsmen were seriously injured,” Major General Shawn Manke, the adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement following the incident. “This event highlights the volatility and tension in our communities right now.”
At approximately 9:52 p.m. on Sunday, Minneapolis Police officers patrolling the area of 6th Street South and Cedar Avenue South encountered a 2002 Ford Explorer, which matched the description of the SUV involved in the shooting.
After conducting a felony stop of the vehicle, authorities placed the driver, who was later identified as Thomas, and a juvenile passenger in separate police cars.
Officers then obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, and proceeded to recover a Springfield Armory XD-9 9mm semi-automatic pistol, a .22 caliber revolver with an obliterated serial number, ammunition, and two discharged cartridge casings.
Thomas was booked in Hennepin County jail and was released to the custody of U.S. Marshals on Tuesday morning.
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The Minnesota National Guard was activated as part of Operation Safety Net, a joint effort between the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the State of Minnesota and local jurisdictions in order to protect people, freedom of speech and property during the Derek Chauvin trial and aftermath of the police-involved shooting of 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center.
Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25, 2020 after Chauvin held his knee against his neck or upper body for nine minutes and 29 seconds, as a handcuffed Floyd repeatedly said that he could not breathe.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said sentencing will happen in eight weeks – though no specific date has been set. Each count carries a different maximum sentence: 40 years for second-degree unintentional murder, 25 years for third-degree murder, and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. But Minnesota has sentencing guidelines that call for far less.
Under the guidelines, a person with no criminal history would receive a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 years for each murder charge and a presumptive sentence of four years for manslaughter. The guidelines allow for a range slightly above and below those presumptive sentences, which is up to a judge’s discretion.
But in this case, prosecutors are seeking a sentence that goes above the guideline range, called an “upward departure.” The prosecution cited several aggravating factors, including that Floyd was particularly vulnerable, that Chauvin was a uniformed officer acting in a position of authority, and that his crime was witnessed by multiple children – including a 9-year-old girl who testified that watching the restraint made her “sad and kind of mad.”
After the verdicts, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said his office would be seeking a “fair” and “just” sentence.
Meanwhile, former Brooklyn Center Police officer Kim Potter made her first court appearance last week for the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for the incident.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace, Stephanie Pagones and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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