The officer who fired his gun early Wednesday after a fellow officer was struck by a driver who was attempting to leave a traffic stop was identified by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Friday.
Officer James Perry has been with the Rochester Police Department for four years. Perry fired his gun at least once during the Aug. 12 incident. His colleague, officer Nick Kruger, was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital the same day after being hit by a vehicle. Kruger has been with the department for two years.
In an email, Rochester Police Capt. Casey Moilanen said neither officers have had disciplinary action during their tenures with the department. Both officers have received multiple commendations in their roles.
Both officers are on standard administrative leave.
An officer conducted a DUI traffic stop around 2:10 a.m. Wednesday on Eastgate Drive Southeast when the driver fled. Police followed, and located the vehicle at the Valleyhigh Flats apartment complex in Northwest Rochester.
As an officer attempted to make contact with the 26-year-old Rochester driver, identified by the BCA as Dawante Atkins, Atkins allegedly hit Kruger. Kruger went up and over the vehicle.
Atkins allegedly struck two Rochester police squad cars, disabling one of them. At some point during the incident, Perry fired at least one shot but did not hit Atkins. Officers used a Taser to take Atkins into custody.
He has been held at the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center since Wednesday on a probation violation. When the BCA released Atkins name more than 18 hours after the incident, the bureau did not mention in its news release whether Atkins was arrested on any other charges. Jail records list the probation violation as well as a second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon charge.
A motion filed with Olmsted County District Court in three unrelated cases states that Atkins was arrested on Aug. 12 on charges of first-degree assault and second-degree assault.
“It is alleged that on August 12, 2020, at about 2:30 a.m., a Rochester Police Officer attempted to stop the defendant for a taillight violation in SE Rochester, MN. The defendant did not stop for officers. After checking the license plate Officers learned that the defendant’s driving status was revoked,” according to a motion written by Assistant Olmsted County Attorney Arianna Whitney.
Officers stopped the pursuit and located Atkins on West Circle Drive.
“At one point the defendant stopped his car and began to backup as if he was going to hit an officer. A short pursuit to the defendant’s residence began. In the parking lot, officers cornered the defendant to stop him,” Whitney wrote. “One officer got out of his squad car and the defendant struck him, sending him six to eight feet in the air. The defendant then hit other squad cars.”
The BCA is reviewing body-cam and dash-cam footage of the incident as part of its active investigation.
Atkins appeared in court Friday morning in five cases. The five cases are unrelated to each other and Wednesday’s incident, but all were brought forward to either review conditions of release or allege a probation violation because of the Aug. 12 incident.
In a gross misdemeanor receiving stolen property case, Judge Lisa Hayne signed an order that Atkins be arrested and detained for a probation violation and that Atkins’ stay of imposition in that case be vacated. A probation violation hearing was held Friday morning, and Hayne ordered Atkins to be held without right to bail or bond.
In three cases, prosecutors filed a motion to review Atkins’ conditions of release. In two of those cases, Hayne set unconditional bail at $50,000.
All five hearings are to be heard again on Sept. 3.