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St. Paul Officer Fired for Shooting Man Who Attacked Girlfriend With Knife, Then Charged Police After Yelling That He Had a Gun

St. Paul Officer Fired for Shooting Man Who Attacked Girlfriend With Knife, Then Charged Police After Yelling That He Had a Gun

by Leah AnayaDecember 2, 2020

St. Paul, MN – Last Saturday, now-former Officer Anthony Dean reportedly shot a man wanted for multiple crimes, including kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, and assault with a weapon (a knife). Officers responded to a collision at Maryland Ave and Rice St, where a man was said to have attacked his girlfriend with a steak knife. The suspect (now identified as 31-year-old Joseph Javonte Washington) ran from the collision and broke into a home, where he reportedly stole orange juice.

Washington hid in a dumpster and after tracking him, officers attempted to talk him into coming out peacefully. Attempts for this were unsuccessful and Washington (who appeared to have been naked when he exited the dumpster) reportedly charged at officers. It’s been reported that in addition to Dean shooting Washington, two officers deployed their tasers, one officer deployed pepper balls, and one officer deployed a K9. Several officers involved have yet to be identified as they have not been interviewed.

Video of the incident was released Tuesday. St. Paul Chief Todd Axtell said in a press conference that he was taking a “swift, decisive and serious” action in firing Dean, who had been with the department for six years, for his actions during the incident. Axtell also said, “He wasn’t wearing clothing and he had no possessions. When I ask if the officer’s actions on that night were reasonable and necessary, the only answer I can come up with is ‘No.’”

According to the dispatch notes from the incident, Washington was yelling to police that he had a gun while they attempted to coax him out of the dumpster. However, no reports have said a firearm or any other weapon was found at the scene.

The video released can be seen below.

Washington was also bitten by the K9 and also suffered three gunshot wounds to the leg and one to the abdomen. The officers gave Washington medical attention on the scene until paramedics arrived.  Washington has also been charged for multiple felonies in Dakota County Court in connection with Saturday’s events, including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of kidnapping, and one count of second-degree assault.

Washington is reportedly in stable condition at the time of this writing.

Axtell also said during the press conference, “As you can see, this video is incredibly difficult to watch because I know lives have been altered, a person has been shot … and an officer who has served honorably in the past has had his life changed forever. [As] police officers we have a duty to use force only when required.”

Axtell was praised by St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, saying police owe residents “the highest standard of professionalism, of accountability and of transparency at all times.”

President of the African American Leadership Council, Tyrone Terrill, also praised Axtell. He said, “This continues to shine a light on the narrative that the humanity of Black men is not valued. There will be people who say he had a criminal record. I’m not disputing that. But take him to jail. Let him have his day in court.”

The St. Paul Police Federation President commented that the officers involved were attempting to take a “violent and dangerous felon” into custody. Federation President Paul Kuntz said, “The officers worked to arrest the man using many de-escalation techniques. This was a difficult situation for everyone involved.”

Kuntz continued, “It is important for the BCA to complete their thorough investigation. Our role as the federation is to ensure the integrity of the investigative process. We are thankful the victims of these crimes were not harmed further during these potentially deadly situations and the general public was kept safe by our officers.”

On Monday, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi requested that the Minnesota Attorney General and the neighboring Washington County attorney to review the case when the investigation is complete.

It was later reported that the collision which was the original reason police were on the scene was caused by Washington assaulting his girlfriend, who he forced to drive from Lakeville to St. Paul.

All St. Paul officers were informed prior to the video release that upcoming vacation time was canceled, presumably to prepare for rioting in response to the footage.

About The Author
Leah Anaya
Leah Anaya
Leah Anaya is a medically retired police officer. She served for three years at the Oakland Police Department, and just under five at a department in Washington State. Before that, she was an intelligence analyst in the US Army. She is now a stay at home mom living with her husband, who is still serving as a police officer, and their three children. She also grew up as the daughter of a police officer in California. Leah is now a writer and Deputy Editor at Law Enforcement News Network as well as the Business Manager for Washington State FOP. She's a peer support advocate for The Wounded Blue and Serve and Protect. You can find her on social media @leahmsanaya or at
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