On Wednesday, December 2, St. Paul police responding to a car crash on Rice & Maryland pursued the passenger of the vehicle, Joseph Washington, who was reported as having been naked and under the influence of drugs. Upon apprehending him, one of the officers used his firearm to take down Washington, who is a Black man. That officer has reportedly been fired by St. Paul Police chief Todd Axtell for utilizing his firearm instead of other, less-lethal methods used by the other officers.
[Content Advisory: description of violent sexual assault]
Prior to the crash, Washington had assaulted his ex-girlfriend at her home, ripping her insulin pump from her body and using a knife from her kitchen to threaten and force her into performing sexual acts on him. Washington used the victim's cell phone to live stream the sexual assault to the victim's Facebook and Snapchat feeds. In 2017 he was accused of breaking into the home of his ex-wife, who has a restraining order against him.
Community advocates are gathered in protest against the actions of the now-fired officer, and against the Saint Paul Police Department's years of fatal encounters where the pursuant did not live. Some say that what is needed for Washington is help and rehabilitation from drug use and anger issues, rather than continued State incarceration and punishment.