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Tipsheet

Family of Gunman Say Police Didn't Try to Deescalate. Police Say That's a Lie.

Minneapolis Police Department

The family of a gunman who was killed after a six-hour standoff with Minneapolis Police say the department was unhelpful and killed him because he was a black man. Police say the family's version of events is not true.

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In a video posted by attorney Ben Crump, Mark and Cindy Sundberg, the parents of Tekle, accused the Minneapolis Police Department of not doing everything in their power to deescalate the situation because he was a black man experiencing a mental health crisis.  

"The police are portraying it, and the Mayor is portraying it, like we collaborated and the police were all kind of loving to our family as they were trying to help Tekle. That is a lie, they were not," Cindy Sundberg said.

"Everyone knows had it been a white person in that building, they would've talked him out. They would've wait. People who go in and shoot massive amounts of people, are arrested safely and alive if they're white. If they're not white, we know the outcome. They're dead, they're dead!" she continued.

One of Tekle's siblings pointed out she is a social worker and "we deescalate situations all the time. We don't show up in war gear. We show up on people's level. We show up gently, we would let them use their relationships, his father, to connect and feel safe."

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Minneapolis Police responded to a 911 call about shots being fired within the apartment complex. The shots fired by Tekle entered the home of a mother and her two children. Police had to evacuate the building to prevent more people from being in danger.

Officers who were on the scene told Townhall there is much more to the story. First, they did allow Mark to try to talk to his son into surrendering via a loudspeaker. Second, when officers attempted to call him or speak to him through the loudspeaker, Tekle would turn up music to drown out their voices. Third, the reason why snipers made the decision to kill Tekle was because he was about to endanger the lives of others.

"They were afforded every safe option to try and contact him. This included using the PA system on the Bearcat, which we could clearly hear, constantly trying to call him, and using both partners and police negotiators," one source told Townhall.

"Every time he we asked via the PA to answer his phone, he would turn up the volume of the music in his apartment. He was willfully ignoring the calls. When he finally did answer the phone (I’m not sure who he was talking to) he sounded incoherent and was constantly yelling," the source added.

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Another source told Townhall the reason why they did not allow Tekle's father or a social worker to go into the building was due to the fact he had been blindly shooting through walls and doors. It also ran the risk of becoming a hostage situation.

"It was like nails on the chalkboard listening to that whole [Crump] video because it was so far from the truth. And they were clearly trying to push their own narrative to make it to be what they want it to be and they're just ignoring all the facts of the case," the source said. "We were out there for hours literally trying to talk with him."

The source said police negotiators also told Tekle his parents were trying to reach him on his phone to no avail.

"He didn't want to do any type of negotiation. He just didn't want to. The whole thing of him being black has absolutely nothing to do with it. For instance, he was trying to kill black people," the source added, stressing Tekle gave them no other choice but to take him out.

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MPD released a statement explaining the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office is working the Sundberg's lawyers to "enable their viewing of video associated with the response to calls of shots fired, the active shooter situation, and the standoff that followed" and "plans are in process to allow for those videos to be publicly released," but it will take some time as there are hundreds of hours of video to go through.

When a protest in support of Tekle ended up at the apartment complex this past weekend, Arabella Yarbrough yelled at the protesters because she said Sundberg was trying to kill her and her black children.

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