On Monday, August 29, The Fargo Police Department (FPD) and the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office held a joint news conference to discuss the findings of the criminal investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred on Friday, July 8, 2022, which resulted in the death of 28-year-old Shane Netterville. Per FPD department policy, Officer Adam O’Brien, an 11-year veteran with the FPD, was placed on paid administrative duty throughout the course of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s (NDBCI) investigation.
Attorney General Drew Wrigley, joined by Deputy Attorney General Claire Ness and FPD Chief David Zibolski, announced that the use of force was reasonable and justified under the circumstances in this case and prevented the death or great bodily harm to FPD Officer O’Brien and fellow officers. Criminal charges will not be filed as the investigation found that Officer O’Brien’s action were justified by law.
Prior to the joint news conference, Attorney General Wrigley, Deputy Attorney General Ness, FPD Police Chief Zibolski, Assistant Chief Travis Stefonowicz, Fargo Mayor Dr. Tim Mahoney and Interim City Administrator Michael Redlinger met privately with the Netterville family to review Attorney General Wrigley’s decision and view body-worn and dashboard camera footage from the critical incident.
The FPD will now complete an administrative review of the critical incident, looking for training and/or substantive policy issues related to the use of force and to address them accordingly. Results from that review and in-depth discussion of the criminal investigation into this critical incident will be discussed at the next Police Advisory and Oversight Board (PAOB) meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 8 in the Commission Chambers at 225 4th Street North. An in-depth analysis of this incident utilizing the context of the officers’ observations and statements in concert with the same footage will be shown.
Redacted squad car and body-worn camera footage provided by the Attorney General’s Office from the critical incident were shown at the joint news conference and is now available to view online. Viewer discretion is advised as the videos contain sensitive subject matter including profanity and the use of firearms. Viewers are also strongly encouraged to attend the PAOB meeting in-person or virtually to understand the full context of the footage.
Viewer discretion is advised as the videos contain sensitive subject matter including profanity and the use of firearms.
The meeting was recorded and broadcast on The City of Fargo's channel 56, TVFargo.com and livestreamed across The City’s social media channels.
Below is a timeline of events from the date of the critical incident on July 8 to the decision by the Attorney General.
• At 8:13 a.m. on July 8, the FPD responded to a call for a possible man down in the 3400 block of 15th Avenue South. The caller stated multiple individuals were slumped over inside a vehicle located in a garage, and that the vehicle had a bullet hole in the windshield. When FPD officers arrived on scene, they located three individuals inside a red 2008 Kia Sedona van with a bullet hold in the windshield. This van was later determined to have been reported as stolen on Tuesday, July 5.
• As FPD officers carefully approached the van inside the garage, they gave several clear, verbal commands to Netterville and the two other occupants to keep their hands raised and visible. Netterville, the van’s driver, ignored many of these verbal commands and moved his hands up and down, several times out of view, and started and turned off the vehicle at least two times.
• After this, and with the vehicle remaining on, Netterville ignored additional officer commands and quickly accelerated and attempted to flee the scene, driving the van toward Officer O’Brien. Officer O’Brien discharged his firearm once toward the van, striking Netterville. Netterville was transported via ambulance to a local healthcare facility where he later died.
• The NDBCI took over the investigation pursuant to FPD department policy. The NDBCI responded expeditiously to the scene, spent significant time investigating this incident to ensure a thorough and complete investigation was conducted and that all evidence was tested and evaluated.
• On July 11, Chief Zibolski provided an update to the Fargo City Commission.
• On July 14, Chief Zibolski provided an update to the Police Advisory and Oversight Board meeting, informing community stakeholders of the investigative process via a presentation and addressed policy and general questions from the Board.
• On August 8, 30 days after the critical incident, Attorney General Drew Wrigley received the bulk of investigative files from BCI and began his review.
• On August 29, 51 days after the critical incident, Attorney General Drew Wrigley issued his decision finding Officer O’Brien’s use of force to be lawful and reasonable and that he acted in self-defense within statutory authorities as a law enforcement officer.