St. Paul police clarified Monday that an officer shown on video kicking a man is no longer employed by the department. The June incident prompted an apology from the city’s police chief.
Police spokesman Steve Linders said state law prohibits him from saying whether Brett Palkowitsch was fired or left on his own accord.
However, Linders confirmed that Palkowitsch remains the subject of an open complaint and internal affairs investigation.
Police did not confirm or deny whether that investigation is linked to the June 24 arrest of Frank A. Baker, 53, of St. Paul, whom Palkowitsch kicked three times in the midsection while a police dog attacked him. Baker was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Linders said information the department released last week was meant to indicate that Palkowitsch’s employment ended last Thursday, but resulted in confusion instead. Police had said last week that he was on “unpaid leave.”
Palkowitsch’s departure follows the arrest that left Baker hospitalized for two weeks. Chief Todd Axtell released the graphic dashcam video on Friday — more than four months after the arrest — following a use-of-force review and internal affairs investigation. It shows Baker writhing and screaming on the ground as a police dog named Falco bites his right leg.
The video shows six officers standing around Baker, whom they believed matched the description of an armed suspect. Palkowitsch is shown kicking Baker while Baker is being given orders and cursed at.
“Get him, buddy,” an officer says to Falco at one point. “Get him, buddy. Good.”
Palkowitsch wrote in his report that he kicked Baker in the midsection two times because he was moving and stopped complying with orders from K-9 handler Brian Ficcadenti.
“Again I fully believed that Baker was armed with a firearm, and I wanted this now progressively evolving use-of-force encounter on a gun call to end as fast as possible for safety at the scene,” Palkowitsch wrote.
Baker stayed prone after the second kick, then reached toward the dog, Palkowitsch wrote, so he delivered a third and final kick.
Ficcadenti was placed on a 30-day suspension last week. Other officers at the scene were Joe Dick, Brian Nowicki, John Raether and Anthony Spencer. Spencer is on personal leave, and the others are actively assigned to the Eastern District.