A civil court jury found Minneapolis Police Officer Nathaniel Younce liable for the death of 29-year-old Cordale Handy during a mental health call in 2017.
Officers Younce and Mikko Norman arrived at the scene and fired the shots that ended Handy’s life. Handy was under the influence of a drug – commonly referred to as “bath salts” – that caused him to behave erratically. The jury found Officer Norman not liable in Handy’s death.
The plaintiff, Cordale’s mother Kim Handy-Jones, claimed the officers acted improperly and used excessive force to end Handy’s life. The two officers, represented by the state, disagreed. The defense used the term “lunatic” to describe Handy at the time of his death.
Family and friends of Handy, as well as multiple police reform organizations, packed the courtroom on Thursday, seeking accountability for what they say is the wrongful death of a man seeking help.
Officers Younce and Norman arrived at the 700 block of East 6th Street at 2:20 a.m., after a domestic call was made between Handy and his girlfriend of 10 years. Handy was under the effects of a drug that caused him to hallucinate a man that was not there. By the time the officers arrived, Handy had emptied the clip of a pistol into a couch in his living room, but did not harm anyone and broke the pistol. After realizing what had happened, he asked for 911 to be called. He then left the apartment, and stumbled down the road towards East Seventh Street, broken pistol in hand.
The two officers then approached Handy, and yelled at him to drop the gun and get on the ground. Witness Jill Mollner said that Handy complied, and tossed the weapon behind him. Officer Norman can then be heard on the radio saying that the “suspect is on the ground.”
Five seconds later, shots ring out.
Officer Norman said that he was unsure if Handy had a weapon, and only fired after the first shot rang out, which was shot by Officer Younce. Medical testimony said that the cuts on Handy’s hand and the entry and exit wounds on his body would occur from someone who was on their knees with their hands up. The defense claimed that the wounds could come from someone who was flailing.
Neither of the officers were charged by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension after its investigation in 2017.