Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday accused a former Minneapolis police officer of assaulting a man during protests over the death of George Floyd.
Justin Stetson, 34, faces a felony count of third-degree assault in the May 30, 2020, assault of Jaleel Stallings. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
It was not immediately clear if Stetson had an attorney. A Minneapolis city attorney representing Stallings and other officials in the federal lawsuit against them did not immediately respond to an email asking if she knew if Stetson had a criminal defense attorney.
Stetson was one of a group of officers enforcing a citywide curfew that night when his team spotted four people in a parking lot, according to the criminal complaint. One of them is Stallings.
Police opened fire on the group with rubber bullets. One of them hit Stallings in the chest, causing him severe pain, according to the complaint. Stallings fired three live rounds at the police’s unmarked van, but did not injure anyone.
He argued that he believed civilians attacked him and that he opened fire in self-defense. In September 2021, he was acquitted of second-degree murder charges related to that shooting.
The officers rushed towards the civilians. When Stallings realized they were police, he put down his gun and lay on the ground. Stetson then kicked him in the face and head, according to the complaint. He also repeatedly punched Stallings and knocked his head on the sidewalk, the complaint said.
Even though he obeyed Stetson’s order to put his hands behind his back, Stetson continued to hit him. A sergeant eventually stopped Stetson.
Stallings suffered a fractured eye bone.
The complaint states that Ian Adams, a former law enforcement officer and now a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina, reviewed the case and concluded that Stetson’s use of force was unreasonable and excessive “in violation of the most basic principles of policing.” specification”.
The complaint states that Stetson has been a Minneapolis police officer since at least 2011 and received about 1,200 hours of training, including on how to de-escalate situations.
In May, the city of Minneapolis paid Stallings $1.5 million to settle his federal lawsuit. He accused Stetson and other officials of violating his constitutional rights.
This story has been updated to correct Stallings’ federal lawsuit alleging that Stetson and other officials violated his rights.
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