A grand jury convened in Hennepin County has not issued charges against Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kou Moua in the May 31 shooting of Dontalyo Wright. The decision was released late in the afternoon Feb. 7, said Hennepin County Attorney’s Office Spokesperson Chuck Laszewski.
“It’s rare for an indictment when an officer is acting in (the) line of duty,” Laszweski said.
Moua was the first to respond to the May 31 report that Wright was carrying a rifle and walking down the middle of the street at 53rd Avenue and Emerson Avenue in Brooklyn Center.
The officer confronted Wright around 8:30 p.m. and was forced to shoot him. Wright died at the scene of multiple gun shot wounds, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
Residents of the neighborhood were outside before the shooting. Wright was reportedly walking with the rifle outside of an apartment building where he lived and witnesses said they heard yelling and gunshots in the street that evening.
“I’d like to thank the many residents that witnessed this that came forward (and) provided a truthful and helpful witness account of what happened,” said Brooklyn Center Police Chief Kevin Benner. “From what they had seen, I appreciate they came forward,” he said.
Wright, 20, was a student at Brooklyn Center Academy. He was set to graduate in June 2012.
Moua was on paid administrative leave during the initial investigation of the shooting, but returned to duty within one week, Benner said.
The police department reviews critical incidents involving its officers, Benner said. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office also investigated this case.
“We believe he acted appropriately and heroically during this incident,” Benner said. “He raced to a call with a man with a gun (and) waving a gun around. It was a horrible situation.”
The police department provides resources for officers involved in critical incidents and an environment to talk about what happened, Benner said. This case was the first officer-involved shooting in Brooklyn Center in 30 years, Benner said.
While the department anticipated the decision from the grand jury to clear Moua, the official news is helping staff move forward, Benner said.
“It’s really good to have that closure from a grand jury,” he said.
Moua was hired at the Brooklyn Center Police Department in 2008 and started his career as a member of the Brooklyn Center multi-cultural cadet program.
Contact Katy Zillmer at [email protected]