New Life Church Guard Faced Discipline as MN Cop

Documents obtained by Colorado Confidential from the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority show that in 1997 the woman who was credited with stopping Matthew Murray’s barrage at New Life Church on Sunday was disciplined and suspended from her job as a Minneapolis police officer for 24 hours for what the police department describes as a “language violation.”

Jeanne Assam, who is now a Colorado resident, was also alleged to be fired from that job, but documents dated before the year 2000 have been destroyed as per the police review panel’s record destruction policy.
Existing records show two additional and separate complaints against Assam that were dismissed. A spokesman for the panel said for that reason their documentation is not public information.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Assam was fired from her Minneapolis police job:

Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said Assam was fired from the Minneapolis force in 1997 for lying during an internal investigation. Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver while she was handling an incident on a city bus.

Garcia did not return a request for comment by press time, and attempts to contact Assam were unsuccessful.

Assam has received a significant amount of media attention since being identified as the volunteer security guard who shot and killed Murray, the 24-year-old who is believed to have killed four and wounded five at two separate Christian establishments in Colorado on Sunday.

The day after the shootings, her face appeared as the feature story on Yahoo.com, along with an article about her use of force to stop Murray’s violent rampage.

On Tuesday the El Paso County Coroner’s Office reported that Murray committed suicide after being shot by Assam.

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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