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Van drove at police before Fargo officer shot driver, court documents say

As officers tried to contact the men in the van, the van “began to flee directly towards officers,” court documents said. One of the officers, Adam O’Brien, fired his gun at the van and hit the

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Investigators examine the scene where a Fargo police officer fatally shot the driver of a van on July 8, 2022.
David Olson/The Forum
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FARGO — Court documents filed by prosecutors say a van drove toward Fargo police officers before one of the officers fatally shot the man behind the wheel.

The documents detail what happened Friday, July 8, before Officer Adam O’Brien shot 28-year-old Shane Netterville . Chief David Zibolski previously said he does not know how O'Brien interacted with the van right before the shooting, including whether O'Brien believed the vehicle was going to run him over.

Protesters who spoke during the demonstration called out to Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski and to Mayor Tim Mahoney to release the body camera footage of the incident.

The court documents filed Monday outline charges against 25-year-old Cody Kenneth Dunn of Devils Lake, North Dakota. Prosecutors allege Dunn was in the van with Netterville and fled the scene. Police are searching for a second man they believe ran away after the shooting: Derek William Stanley, 31, of Fargo, according to a city spokesperson.

Police were dispatched at about 8 a.m. Friday to 3401 15th Ave. S. in Fargo for a report of three people in a van parked in a garage at an apartment complex. Officers found a bullet hole in the windshield of the van, which had been reported stolen, according to police.

As officers tried to contact the men in the van, the van “began to flee directly towards officers,” court documents said. One of the officers, O’Brien, fired his gun at the van and hit the driver, Nettervile, police said.

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Passengers Dunn and Stanley fled from the van after it stopped, police said.

Officers quickly found Dunn in an apartment laundry room and arrested him on charges of possessing meth, a felony, and misdemeanor refusal to halt. He appeared Monday in Cass County District Court.

Netterville, a Native American man from Jamestown, North Dakota, died Friday afternoon at a local hospital. The shooting remains under investigation, and O’Brien, a white officer who's an 11-year veteran of the force, is on administrative leave.

Netterville, Stanley and Dunn each have criminal records. Netterville's history includes reckless endangerment, drug possession and theft. Stanley has a history of burglary, forgery and drug-related crimes. Dunn has misdemeanors on his rap sheet that include drug and theft charges.

Some have questioned whether Friday's shooting was justified. A “Justice for Shane” protest was held Monday afternoon at Fargo City Hall, with demonstrators calling for the release of officer body camera footage that may have captured the incident.

The Forum submitted a public records request to the Fargo Police Department seeking all video of the incident, but city spokesman Gregg Schildberger referred the newspaper to the Cass County State's Attorney's Office, which in turn referred The Forum to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is investigating the shooting.

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, who oversees the BCI, said the bureau plans to follow standard protocol and not release video related to the shooting at this time, while it is still under investigation. Wrigley said there is no basis to make an exception in this case, and releasing the video would be inappropriate.

Once the BCI completes its investigation, Wrigley's office will review the case for any possible criminal charges, rather than the Cass County State's Attorney's Office, Zibolski said.

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Police vehicles congregate in the 1600 block of 35th Street South in Fargo on Friday, July 8, 2022, near where a city police officer fatally shot the driver of a stolen van.
David Olson/The Forum

On rare occasion, the Fargo Police Department has released video during an active investigation.

In 2019, the department published on social media a video of a traffic stop during which officers used force against the driver.

The driver, Abraham Nyei, claimed officers violated his rights and racially profiled him. He alleged officers unjustly stopped his vehicle, broke his car window, threw him to the ground and broke his nose.

The police department posted the video on Facebook with their own commentary. A department spokesperson at the time said police took the step of posting the video to “clear up some misinformation” regarding the stop after Nyei told his side of the story to The Forum.

Police claimed Nyei ran a red light and did not stop for some time after officers activated their emergency lights. Officers also claimed he acted like he was under the influence.

Nyei said he didn’t see the emergency lights.

Video showed officers ordering Nyei to exit the vehicle and threatening to break his window. Nyei backed his car up before officers shattered the window and arrested him.

Nyei later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of preventing arrest.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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