On October 3rd, 2021, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was requested to investigate an officer-involved shooting at 5 South Federal Avenue in Mason City involving the Mason City Police Department. The investigation was completed and the results were forwarded to the Winnebago County Attorney Kelsey A. Beenken for review. Beenken has reviewed the case and issued the ruling below related to the officer’s use of force.
This case still involves a pending criminal investigation as it relates to the arrest of Jelani Faulk for First-Degree Murder. That case is being prosecuted by the Cerro Gordo County Attorney’s Office, and as a result no further information will be released.
“Pursuant to your request, I have reviewed the circumstances of a shooting incident that occurred in Mason City in the early morning hours of Sunday, October 3rd involving Jelani Faulk and Mason City Police Officer Noah Friese. At your direction, the sole purpose of my review is to determine if the actions of Officer Friese were legally justified in his use of force against Faulk.
This officer involved shooting incident was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. I have had the full opportunity to review the findings with the case agent. Relevant video footage has been reviewed. No body worn camera video is available as Mason City Police Department is not equipped with such devices. The DCi interviewed Officer Friese along with many eyewitnesses to the incident. The summary below is based on conversations and review of the investigation with the case agent.
On October 3rd, at approximately 1:13am, Officer Friese was on foot patrol on the southern side of State Street near Historic Park Inn when he heard shots fired from the plaza area, which is approximately one half block from his location. Officer Friese immediately ran towards the plaza, proceeding east on the southern sidewalk of State Street. As he approached the plaza, people were running towards him. He drew his firearm and ordered them to the ground. Two individuals immediately complied with his commands and went to the ground. Immediately thereafter, he identified a male running westbound on the northern side of State Street. He ordered the make to the ground. The male raised his arm and aimed a firearm directly at Officer Friese. Officer Friese fired three rounds at the male, who was later identified as Jelani Faulk. Faulk stumbled and fell to the ground, and his firearm fell to the ground next to his feet. Faulks firearm was removed, Faulk was secured, and medical attention was provided to Faulk. Faulk’s firearm was later identified as a Glock 43 9mm handgun found in the slide lock position, and Faulk has a loaded magazine in his pocket.
Faulk sustained non-life threatening injuries.
Subsequently, law enforcement located a shooting victim from the original shots fired. Faulk has since been charged with “Murder in the First Degree,” a Class a Felony.
Officer Friese’s action on October 3rd were entirely legally justified. Due to Faulk’s action, Officer Friese had no option other than to use force against Faulk. The decision to shoot Faulk was reasonable under the circumstances.
My office considers this investigation closed.”