After investigation, Devils Lake Police Detective Brandon Potts will not be charged with the killing of Danny Fuller.

July 5, seems like a long time ago. That was the day Danny Fuller was shot and killed by Devils Lake Police Department Detective Brandon Potts. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation ended its investigation into the shooting last week, and Ramsey County State’s Attorney Kari Agotness announced last Friday that no charges will be filed against Potts.

Agotness released a statement on Friday:  “After conducting a thorough analysis of the evidence submitted by the ND Bureau of Criminal Investigations of the officer involved shooting that occurred in Devils Lake, ND, the Ramsey County State’s Attorney Office will not file criminal charges in connection with the July 5, 2018 use of deadly force by Devils Lake Police Department Detective Brandon Potts.”

With the statement, she released a memorandum summing and detailing aspects of the investigation.  The State’s Attorney’s conclusion not to charge criminally Potts was, according to the memorandum, “supported by the conclusion that {Potts} had probable cause to believe the use of deadly force was necessary.”  The department had received “multiple 911 calls including one reporting a potentially armed person, and one reporting an attempted burglary.”

Fuller initially complied with officers’ orders but then lunged at Potts, who had his weapon drawn.  A struggle ensued on the ground.  Potts used his weapon to defend himself, but “there is nothing to indicate the shot was intentional.  Detective Potts’ use of force occurred during a defense from a deadly threat assault,” the memorandum concludes.  (All documents and video are available at www.co.ramsey.nd.us/166/States-Attorney.)

“It took 135 days to do this,” said Terry Fuller, Danny’s father.  “I knew they were going to whitewash this.  They called us into {Agotness’} office and read this to us.  I exploded and walked out.  But I called the FBI and the Department of Justice.  They’re investigating this.  They’re going to collect all the evidence.  Danny was murdered and that’s all there is to it.  There is so much wrong with this decision, and there are so many people who are involved.  Agotness never had any intention of charging Potts.”

“I said at the beginning that I’d accept whatever the decision was,” said Joe Knowski, Devils Lake Chief of Police. “Now all we can do is move on and try to start healing the community. We will have a series of meetings on procedure and protocol in dealing with suspects. We can Monday morning quarterback this forever—why was his gun out, why was he so close—but that’s why we will start having meetings and procedural changes. I never want anything like this to happen again. I know people are divided over this, and I don’t blame them because as a parent I certainly understand and sympathize. The FBI is involved now, and I think that’s a good thing. More sunlight is always good.”