A Richfield police officer seen on video striking a Somali-American teenager will not face any criminal charges.
Both the Hennepin County attorney's office and a special prosecutor working for the city of Richfield declined to file charges against officer Nate Kinsey, who was captured Oct. 3 on cellphone video pushing and striking 19-year-old Kamal Gelle while ordering him to leave Adams Hill Park after a traffic stop.
According to Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the county attorney's office, "The physical contact between the officer and the citizen was never going to be anything but a gross misdemeanor."
But a special prosecutor authorized by Richfield to review the case for gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor charges also declined to issue charges, City Attorney Mary D. Tietjen said in an e-mail.
Laszewski said that county officials did look into the possibility of charging Kinsey with felony terroristic threat, based on what he said to Gelle. "We determined that it just didn't meet the statutory requirements [for a felony charge]. We declined it," he said.
Kinsey had been disciplined before by Richfield police for improper use of force, including a warning for hitting suspects in the head.
The department placed him on paid administrative leave while the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated. On Oct. 6, Richfield police also placed on paid leave another officer who was involved in the incident.
Both remain on leave, according to the department, which is conducting its own internal investigation.
Omar Jamal, head of the Somali Human Rights Commission, and Gelle's family met with Richfield police officials this week. "Now the case [is] in their hands," Jamal said. "They will explore the internal disciplinary process if they find anything."
Gelle was shocked that the county attorney's office won't file charges, Jamal said. "He was not expecting this outcome," Jamal said. "We will still continue to talk with the Richfield Police Department on this issue and see how far we can take it."
The family plans to file a lawsuit against the department.