A pair of security camera videos provided to the Star Tribune show a portion of the Nov. 19, 2012, confrontation that led to charges against three white Minneapolis police officers. The videos seem to back up the claims of four black men who said they were followed into the parking lot by the white men just before the fight broke out.
Shot by two cameras at the Apple Valley bar Bogart’s Place, one inside and another outside the bar, the time-stamped videos start at about 12:42 a.m. The videos are silent because the security cameras do not record sound.
The Star Tribune put the two videos together into one for ease of viewing.
12:42:00 Four men, identified by Apple Valley police as Rodney and Mike Spann, Tyrone Franson and Lovell Garner, walk from the parking lot across a patio area to the front door of Bogart’s.
12:42:30 The four men enter the bar and look around. To the right of the four men is a white man in a baseball cap at the bar. He appears later in the video, when the fight breaks out in the parking lot.
12:43:10 Without sitting down or physically interacting with anyone in the bar, the four men leave and head to a patio outside.
12:43:45 One of the black men (wearing light-colored pants and a dark jacket) can be seen smoking a cigarette near the front door; he wanders over to a portion of the patio off camera.
12:45:34 One of the black men walks off the patio toward the parking lot, looking over his shoulder as he leaves. A second member of his group follows him. Three white men follow them into the parking lot.
12:45:55 A third member of Spann’s group heads toward the patio exit, but is blocked by one of the white men. He pushes past the man and heads into the parking lot. A commotion breaks out at the very edge of the camera’s view, with quick motions visible, along with at least one white man running after the others into the parking lot. The fourth member of Spann’s group walks off the patio, along with four more white men.
12:46:42 A blonde woman runs across the patio into the parking lot.
The Apple Valley Police Department interviewed Minneapolis police officers William C. Woodis, Christopher J. Bennett and Andrew R. Allen the night of the fight. Several of the statements they gave to Apple Valley police are contradicted by the video.
The Minneapolis officers told the Apple Valley police that the black men were creating problems at the bar by “pushing on” anyone near them. In the 40 seconds the black men are in the bar, they don’t physically interact with anyone.
Bennett and Allen said they asked the group of black men to leave and that the black men refused. Bennett and Allen said they then decided to leave. Woodis said that while his group was leaving the black men started swinging at them. Bennett and Allen said the black men confronted them as they were on their way out.
Kevin Beck, the St. Paul attorney who represented the three officers in Dakota County Court after they were cited for fifth degree assault, fourth degree damage to property and disorderly conduct, told the Star Tribune that the video shows one of his clients being pushed down. “The video actually shows one of the other party pushes one of our guys down first,” he said. The only push that’s clearly visible in the video comes at 12:45:55, when one of Spann’s group pushes past a white man who’s blocking the patio exit. The white man is not pushed to the ground.
The video shows seven white men in the group that, according to the Apple Valley Police Department, included Woodis, Bennett and Allen. Spann told Apple Valley police that he thought there were eight or nine white men. A witness to the fight, a white man named Jon Bjork, said there were six to eight white men who “came out looking for a fight.” Bjork told police he didn’t personally know anyone in either group.
When the Apple Valley police asked Woodis, Bennett and Allen about the other white men, all three denied that there were any others in their group.