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Taser Rochester Mn Mistaken Gun 2002

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ROlheller, MN
Rocheller-Maaon City -AutUn



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Rochester Police Chief .Roger Peterson demonstrates the similarity In size and shape of
the Tasers and ha"ndguns Issued to Rochester police.,

Police chief: Officer thought he Was using a Ta~er
. By Joshua Lynch
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has,col}cluded a.

Rochcstm," polic~ officer though.•
usiJig a stun gunwhen he
fired a'buUet into the back of


Christofar Atak on Sepl2.

_.. ~ft"PLI

• Family's attorneys want
to talk ,to ,offlqers


Rochester Police Chief Hoger
Pelcrson,ssid Officer Greg Siem, selVes l'lgtlt back In It," ,
PeterSon said both Sl~tn a,nd
a six·year veteran with the
department, was trying to subdue Officer, Doug Remlingrb,ponded
the evening of SeRt.~~ to ',a rep,qti'
an ,intoxicated Atakw~enhe
of:AlakfighUng and damaging
accidentally used his handgl1n
instead of his Thser, a non~lethal property at100l ,50th Sl N.W.
Remling was the first'on the
device that uses an electric
scene. As Remling drove, up,
shock to incapacitate a person.
said, Atak, 31, jumped
Peterson said Siem shot Atak
in front of the squad car. Remonce before realizing his mis..
ling stopped, got out of his Cal'
take. Siem then dropped his
and approached Auk Peterson
pistol and called for medical
said Remling then beard,the .
man threaten suicide.
"1 thiilk the issue for the comFrom anoUler squad car; Siem
munity has always been whether watched as Remling and Atak
this was accidental or inten:
' started scuffiing. ,Peterson said·
tioriaI," Peterson said. "We know that as Siem-Iefi his vehicle, he
now that this was accidental."
took a Taser from the vehicle
William L. French, an attorney and placed it in his right-hand
hired by Atak's family, decliiled
pants pocket
to commeilt this morning on the
'the Tasers tised by Rochester
results of the bureau'S investiga- police are similar in shape to
tion. French said he and Mother handguns.
attorney, Steven Fuller, will be
Peterson said RerilUng condoing their own investigation.
tinued to try to restrain Atak, but
"It's a very unfortunate inci·
was unsuccessful. Siem then
dent." French said. Atak came to became Involved in the scuffie,
the United States as a refugee of Peterson said, and both ·officers
civil war from Sudan. ''This
told Atak an estimated 10 times
family moved to ge~ away from
to place his hands on the squad
violence'and theY find themcar. Peterson said that each time

the officers tried to handcuff
Ataki the man fought back.
At one point. Siem grabbed
what be thought was the Taser,
Peterson said. Instead, Siem had
~abbed his handgun and
removed it fronl its holster.
geli~'diig~th~ h~ndgun to be the
Taser, Slem pointed it at Atak's
b~,ckw~il,e A4tk,vi~

ag~iust 8_squhd.caf.


being h~ld



said Atak was then
shot ODCem the back bY_Siem.
'.:: Peted;oit':satd it is posSible the
. Taser that Sielll had earlJer
placed in his pocket was '
krtOcked frOm him during the
scume. The Taser w'as found on
the ground near the squad cars.
Atak, who remains hospitalized, was listed iil fair condition
this morning at Saint Marys Hospital.
Peterson said he spoke
Thursday with Atak to explain
the BCA's findingS arid formally
"While officers liad no Intent'
to cause injury to Mr. Atak, we
deeply regret the fact that this
occurred," Peterson said. "We
extend ourshicere apologies to
Mr: Atak and his family and our
thoughts and prayers go out to
them as well as to the officers
Peterson said both officers,
who have been on administrative
ieave since the shooting, can
return to work when they are



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