Officers have yet to give statements in shooting, fatal accident

Chief Janee Harteau says investigations continue into both incidents; State Patrol will conduct reconstruction of fatal accident

Janee Harteau spoke with reporters Wednesday afternoon about simultaneous investigations into a fatal shooting and accident. Credit: Dylan Thomas

The Minneapolis Police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a burglary suspect and in a related fatal collision between a squad car and motorcycle have yet to give statements about what happened on Friday afternoon.

Police Chief Janee Harteau on Wednesday shared the results of a preliminary investigation into the accident at 26th & Blaisdell that killed the motorcycle driver, Ivan Romero Olivares, and injured his passenger. But Harteau had less to say about the altercation in the basement of 2717 Bryant Ave. S., where gunfire injured two officers and left Terrance Franklin, 22, dead.

“Each one of these incidents would be significant in and of themselves, and when we have two of them it makes it even more complex,” Harteau said.

The accident occurred as the police squad car was driving to the scene of the shooting. Police had previously reported the motorcycle struck the squad car on its rear passenger side.

To that, Harteau added information collected from the squad car involved in the accident, one of about 110 Minneapolis Police vehicles with a digital dashboard camera system that also records speed and location data.

“The involved squad did have the red light,” she said. “He properly used lights and siren. Other vehicles had already stopped on both streets in both directions.”

She added that the squad car was traveling at 16–17 mph when it entered the intersection.

Harteau also responded to questions about why additional squad cars were heading to the scene of the shooting. The shooting had already happened, and there were dozens of police at the scene.

“In our preliminary reports and investigations, I have reason to believe that officers were responding to the request of the scene supervisor [at the shooting] who was asking for additional squads to assist at the shooting scene,” she said.

Harteau also responded to eyewitness accounts that indicated police did not immediately provide first aid to the accident victims. She said the “primary responsibility” of the officers at that time was to secure the scene, and dashboard camera video indicated cars were still traveling through the intersection, raising the possibility of additional accidents or harm to the accident victims, who lay in the street.

Harteau said on Tuesday night she made a request to the State Patrol that they conduct the accident reconstruction.

Asked why the squad car’s driver had yet to give police a statement, Harteau responded: “As you can imagine, he has been through quite an ordeal and is visibly shaken.”

Asked if a citizen would be given several days to provide a statement in a similar situation, she said: “We have done that.”

Neither of the injured officers in the shooting had given a statement as of Wednesday afternoon, either. Harteau said they were still recovering and on medication and that she wanted to wait until they were “in sound mind” before they give statements.

The last update provided by police, on Sunday, indicated one of the officers, Michael Meath, had been released from Hennepin County Medical Center. The other officer, Ricardo Muro, remained hospitalized in satisfactory condition, as did the motorcycle passenger injured in the accident.

Harteau said she’d offered to meet with the families of both Franklin and Olivares since Sunday.

“They have declined my offer so far, but my offer still stands today,” she said. “I think it would only be beneficial if we had an opportunity to have a conversation.”