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Fargo police say officer didn't violate policies in fatal shooting

Fargo police presented its findings from an internal review of the fatal shooting of Shane Netterville to the Police Advisory & Oversight Board and found officer Adam O'Brien didn't violate any use

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Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski speaks before officer body camera fottage is presented during the review of the police shooting of Shane Netterville at the Fargo Police Advisory & Oversight Board Meeting at Fargo City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
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Editor's note: Video of the police shooting contains strong language and footage that may be disturbing to some viewers.

FARGO — The Fargo Police Department said officer Adam O'Brien didn't violate any use of force policies in the fatal shooting of Shane Netterville.

Shane Netterville
Shane Netterville
Submitted photo

Fargo police presented its findings from an internal review of the fatal shooting to the Police Advisory & Oversight Board on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Netterville, a 28-year-old Native American man from Jamestown, was fatally shot by O'Brien, who's white, on July 8.

Police findings are in line with Attorney General Drew Wrigley's ruling in August, which said O’Brien had acted lawfully when he shot Netterville.

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Wrigley said that O’Brien’s actions were justified because they were intended to protect himself, fellow officers and the public.

Fargo Deputy Chief Joe Anderson provided a police perspective from the body camera footage shown at Thursday's meeting.

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Body camera footage is shown at the review of the police shooting of Shane Netterville during the Fargo Police Advisory & Oversight Board Meeting at Fargo City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum


Anderson said no use of force policy violations occurred, according to the internal investigation.

Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski said O’Brien did a “phenomenal job under pressure," considering the tight constraints of the situation, and the shot fired across the van near other officers.

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Officer Adam O'Brien
Contributed / Fargo Police Department

“It’s not a policy issue, we sometimes find ourselves in the most precarious positions,” Zibolski said, adding that the officers had to split up to cover the van in that situation, not knowing if the occupants were armed or not at the time.

O'Brien said in the video that he fired the shot, and that he thought Netterville was going to run him over.

Statements read at Thursday's meeting from witnesses at the scene said they felt the van was going to hit O'Brien.

“The van must have had some power, because he shot out of that garage like a bullet from a gun,” read one witness statement.

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Anderson said while different officers may have handled the situation another way, it doesn't mean the officers involved acted wrongfully.

“Shane Netterville’s actions dictated the officer’s response. He chose to ignore the officer's command to keep his hands up and the car off,” Anderson said. “He chose to steer at officer O’Brien.”

Board member Conrad Thomas questioned the timing of the van's acceleration toward police.

“I can’t really see or tell whether the speeding of the vehicle was Mr. Netterville’s intention or whether it was due to the shot being fired," he said, adding he didn’t know if trying to leave the scene justified a use of force.

Anderson said if Netterville had driven out of the garage slowly, he doesn’t believe officers would have used deadly force.

“At that time, officer O’Brien perceived the vehicle as a deadly threat, and chose to discharge his weapon," Anderson said.

Faith Dixon, a local activist and business owner said she believed the public was only hearing one side of the story.

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“What we’re going to see tonight is, I believe, a one sided view of what happened when Shane Netterville was murdered," she said, calling on the board to make itself more available to the public so that they could share their thoughts more freely.

The board at its next meeting will explore how to allow the community more access to share its thoughts and concerns.

Criminal investigations against the other two occupants of the vehicle are ongoing, with drugs also discovered in the stolen van, according to police.

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