A Minnesota officer is claiming that he mistakenly shot a motorcyclist because of stress and “muscle memory” from training exercises.
On June 20, 2015, Eden Prairie Police Sgt. Lonnie Soppeland was pursuing Matthew Hovland-Knase – who was traveling on his bike at speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour.
After Hovland-Knase pulled over, dash-cam video recorded from the scene shows Soppeland yelling at the man to “get your hands where I can see them,” before a gunshot rings out.
“Shit! Fuck! Fuck!” Soppeland stammers. “Hands where I can see them.”
“Please help me!” Hovland-Knase can be heard crying out after being struck by the round in the top of his left forearm. “Oh, shit! What the fuck, man?”
Soppeland is seen helping the man to the ground before running to his patrol vehicle to get medical supplies. He then returns and begins administering first aid.
“It’s bleeding alot.” Hovland-Knase says whimpering. “You actually shot me, didn’t you?”
“I’m not going to say anything right now,” Soppeland says. “But you know, it was not intentional, I can tell you that… But you shouldn’t have ran.”
“I wasn’t trying to run,” Hovland-Knase replies. “You shot me.”
The motorcyclist was later found guilty of fleeing an officer, according to court records, and Soppeland maintained that the shooting “was not my conscious choice… I could feel the effect of the adrenaline.”
“As I was giving commands, I drew my firearm with my right hand, I planned to steady it with my left hand,” he said. “When my hands made contact, the firearm discharged once unintentionally. I feel the muscle memory from that recent training of squeezing the trigger contributed… during a high stress situation.”
Soppeland was placed on temporary leave following the incident but returned to duty after a “full investigation of the incident was completed by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office,” the Eden Prairie Police Department said.
He faced no disciplinary action for his negligence.
Watch the raw footage: