HomeTop StoriesNo charge for St. Paul Sgt. Cody Blanshan at Howard Johnson's...

No charge for St. Paul Sgt. Cody Blanshan at Howard Johnson’s fatal shooting

ST. PAUL, Min — No charges will be filed against St. Paul Sergeant Cody Blanshanwho shot and killed a man in Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood last December.

Howard Johnson, 24, was shot in an incident that arose from a call for domestic violence. The mother of Johnson’s children called police to report that he assaulted her in her car in front of the children. She said Johnson was armed with a .40 caliber handgun with a “big extended clip.”

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office concluded last week that Blanshan was legally justified under Minnesota law to use deadly force.

Johnson was seen walking down Hudson Road with a gun in his hand when Blanshan first met him that night, a memorandum says.

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Johnson walked over to an SUV driven by a woman who had stopped at a nearby liquor store. Blanshan, as well as another officer at the scene, said they saw him point his gun in the direction of the woman’s car. Blanshan, believing he was going to carjack her, accelerated his car with the intention of hitting him with the front of his car.

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The memorandum says that when Blanshan opened his car door, Johnson got to his knees and turned to aim his gun at the patrol car. According to body-worn camera video, a muzzle flash can be seen emanating from Johnson’s gun.

Blanshan said when he opened his car door, he saw Johnson aiming his gun at his face. Blanshan yelled at Johnson “Don’t do it! Don’t do it” However, Johnson stood with his back to Blanshan, the gun in his right hand pointed across his torso. Another muzzle flash was captured on footage coming from his gun, and Blanshan fired 10 rounds.

Minutes later, Johnson was pronounced dead.

Minnesota’s Use of Force says the use of deadly force is used “to protect the peace officer or another from death or grievous bodily harm,” with criteria that assess the threat.

An independent police expert on training and use of force, Jeffrey Noble, concluded that Johnson was “objectively reasonable under Minnesota law” for the two instances of the use of deadly force: the car ramming and the gunshots. He had to intervene immediately to save the life of the woman in the car, Noble concluded, and Blanshan’s life was in “imminent danger” when Johnson turned the gun on him.

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Note: The above video first aired on December 10, 2022

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