Jury: St. Paul cop used excessive force

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2012 - 10:42 PM

A St. Paul man who was maced and shot with a Taser in 2009 was awarded $35,300. Another officer was cleared.

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St. Paul police officer Adam Bailey, left, with Police Chief Thomas Smith in 2010.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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A federal jury found that a decorated St. Paul police officer used excessive force in the 2009 arrest of a man who was maced and shot with a Taser.

Deshun M. Carter, 31, won his case Monday against officer Adam Bailey when the jury found that Bailey, a two-time recipient of the department's highest honor, the Medal of Valor, used excessive force.

Jurors found that officer Thomas Weinzettel, another recipient of the Medal of Valor who also was named in the suit, did not use excessive force.

The jury awarded Carter $35,300 in damages. Police officials deferred comment to the city attorney's office.

"We're obviously disappointed with the verdict and disagree with the outcome," City Attorney Sara Grewing said.

According to his excessive force and unreasonable search and seizure case filed in 2010: Carter was grilling outside his St. Paul house with his wife, parents and a friend about 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2009. Music was playing from his car parked out front.

Officers Bailey and Weinzettel parked their squad car behind Carter's car. Bailey made a comment about the music, and Carter jumped over a short fence and turned it off.

Weinzettel said that police did not receive calls about the music and that they just had to lower the volume.

Bailey, a former Gophers football player, used his police radio to check whether Carter had any warrants out for him, the suit said. Carter, meantime, noticed flames at his grill so he jumped back over the fence.

Bailey shouted at him and ordered him back. Weinzettel approached him and ordered him to put his tongs down. Carter obliged. Bailey jumped the fence, grabbed Carter's arms and shoved him into the fence.

Bailey tried to sweep-kick Carter to bring him to the ground, but the 6-foot-4 Carter did not fall. Bailey turned him toward Weinzettel, who sprayed him in the face with mace. Carter tilted his head, and Bailey also was sprayed.

Bailey used a Taser until Carter fell to the ground. The officers pulled the Taser probes out of Carter's abdomen after he told them only medical personnel should remove them.

The officers did not tell Carter he was under arrest and did not give him instructions, the suit said.

Carter was booked and eventually released. He was charged with violating a noise ordinance, misdemeanor obstruction of legal process and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. A jury acquitted him on all counts in May 2010.

Bailey received his medals for two separate officer-involved shootings in 2009. In both cases, Bailey was among officers who fired at suspects. One suspect aimed a gun at police. The other was on the ground when a gun discharged, striking Bailey in the calf. Weinzettel was also recognized in the second incident.

Bailey, who has been with the department since 2005, was named 2010 Minnesota Police Officer of the Year.

Bailey also was the subject of a brutality lawsuit in which a woman said he threw her through a glass door, resulting in more than 300 stitches. The city reached a $270,000 settlement in the case last year.

He was reprimanded in 2007 for a preventable accident.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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