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2 Minneapolis officers on leave named in suits for excessive force

  • Article by: David Chanen
  • Star Tribune
  • July 29, 2013 - 9:56 AM

 

Two Minneapolis police officers placed on leave last week for allegedly using racial and sexual slurs also are named in separate lawsuits filed last year claiming excessive force.

Officer Brian Thole and seven other officers were sued in October for injuring two men during a no-knock search warrant in north Minneapolis. The suit said the officers kicked and punched one man after he was in handcuffs and injured another man sleeping on a couch.

Officer Shawn Powell and five other officers were sued in February 2012 for the death of Ahmed Guled, who was shot during a traffic stop in north Minneapolis in 2009.

In another suit, the city paid Derryl M. Jenkins $235,000 after Powell and six other officers kicked him while he was lying in the snow for allegedly resisting arrest after being stopped for speeding in north Minneapolis. The incident was recorded on one of the officers’ dashboard cameras.

Neither of the current suits against Thole and Powell have gone to trial or been settled.

The two officers allegedly used racial and sexual slurs last month after an altercation with two black men in Green Bay, Wis. The officers, who are white, were off duty. Powell used to be an officer in Green Bay.

Following the altercation, Powell and Thole contacted a higher-up in the Green Bay Police Department and allegedly used a racial epithet when describing the men, as well as a sexual slur about Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, who is the city’s first gay police chief.

Green Bay officials sent incident reports to the Minneapolis Police Department. The officers were placed on paid administrative leave last week and were removed from the SWAT team. The department’s Internal Affairs unit opened an investigation Friday.

In a brief statement, Harteau said she had reviewed details of the case and then initiated an investigation. State law prohibits the department from saying anything further, according to the statement.

Two Minneapolis officers have been fired this year for criminal activity. Earlier this month, David Clifford was sentenced to 43 months in prison for punching and severely injuring a bar patron while off duty.

Last month, Bradley Schnickel admitted sending nude photos of himself to two teenage girls. He faces more charges of using social media to lure underage girls into having sexual encounters.

The latest allegations against Thole and Powell also comes on the heels of the death of Terrance Franklin, who was shot by police for allegedly grabbing an officer’s gun during a confrontation in a south Minneapolis house basement in May. Several of the officers involved were members of the SWAT team.

 

David Chanen • 612-673-4465

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