Man says Minneapolis cops beat him during raid

  • Article by: RANDY FURST and NICOLE NORFLEET , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: April 21, 2012 - 10:35 PM

Police Department investigating but won't comment on charge.

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Raejuan Telford showed his wounds to his chest and head in his hospital room at North Memorial Hospital on Friday afternoon April 20, 2012.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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A 21-year-old man with a history of seizures claims that he was severely beaten by police officers last week during a raid at his mother's north Minneapolis home.

Raejuan Telford was admitted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale on Thursday, a couple of hours after SWAT officers searched the home he shares with his mother and younger brother for guns and other items. He was released from the hospital the next day after being treated for a collapsed lung and two broken ribs.

The incident, which police spokesman Sgt. Steve McCarty said is under investigation by the department's internal affairs unit, left Telford shaken.

"I was scared. They [police] are supposed to be the ones I call for emergencies, and they did this to me," Telford said in a hospital interview Friday.

Telford, who was not arrested, said officers indicated that they were looking for his 15-year-old brother.

A search warrant and police report show officers searched the house at 3606 Emerson Av. N. just before 1 p.m. Thursday.

Telford, a part-time landscape worker, said he was lying on the couch in the living room when he heard windows being smashed and officers yelling, "Police!" He dropped to the floor and put his hands behind his head, he said.

Several officers entered the house. One asked Telford who else was there, he said. When he said he was alone, the officer accused him of lying and kicked him in the ribs, he alleged. Telford said he curled up to protect himself and pleaded, "Please stop. I'm not trying to move, I'm not trying to resist."

He was told to "shut up," put in plastic handcuffs and laid on his side as officers kicked him, even after he told them he has epilepsy, he said. An officer also stepped hard on his back, he said.

Officers asked Telford where his brother was, and later told him that he was involved in an assault with a deadly weapon, he said. After a while, Telford told officers that he was hurt, but, he said, he was told to wait.

Telford was taken downtown for more questioning, he said. Once there, he again told police that he was hurt. Telford said a paramedic examined him and asked police about marks on his back, which they claimed came from a broken window. An ambulance then took him to the hospital.

McCarty declined to comment on specifics of the incident. The police report indicates that force was used and that SWAT officers secured the house before turning the scene over to investigators, but offers few other details. According to a receipt left at the house, police confiscated miscellaneous mailings, clothing and suspected marijuana, but no guns were found.

After learning that Telford was injured, police interviewed him about what happened at the hospital, the police report says. But Telford said he refused to talk to police.

According to medical records, along with fractured ribs and a collapsed left lung, Telford had abrasions to his forehead, right shoulder and back, as well as a bruised right hip. A doctor noted that his right shoulder area looked "like he was struck with a stick." Telford told physicians that he has had seizures since he was 11 and takes medicine daily.

His mother, Linda Telford, a case management worker for Hennepin County, said she will pursue action against the police, saying officers "went too far."

When she was notified about the raid and went home Thursday, she found the house ransacked, five or six windows broken, beds upended and clothes thrown on the floor, she said.

It isn't the first time her family has had a complaint against police. In 2009, the family alleged that police assaulted Raejuan, his mother and others at a memorial for one of her sons who died of cancer, she said. The Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority decided there wasn't enough evidence to pursue that case, she said.

Linda Telford said she has not filed a complaint in the current case but has secured an attorney. She said police told her they were looking for her younger son, but she had not seen him in a week and a half.

After what happened to her eldest son, Linda Telford said she is worried about what police might do to the 15-year-old if they find him. "I'm very scared," she said.

rfurst@startribune.com • 612-673-4224 nicole.norfleet@startribune.com • 612-673-4495

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