The Minnesota Attorney General's Office has signaled a potential plea deal for the former Minneapolis police officer charged with brutally beating Jaleel Stallings during the height of unrest and riots in May 2020, an offer that Stallings firmly rejects as a "betrayal" of justice.

Ex-officer Justin Stetson was charged in December with third-degree assault for beating Stallings, who won a $1.5 million settlement with the city after a Hennepin County jury acquitted him on all charges stemming from the attack. But in a recently filed amended complaint, state prosecutors added a gross misdemeanor charge of officer misconduct.

Stallings, 30, and his attorney, Eric Rice, are objecting to the proposed plea deal that would allow Stetson to plead guilty to the lesser charge and potentially avoid jail time, saying the agreement "fails to hold Stetson accountable for the significant harm to me, his profession, and the community he swore to protect."

"The lenient resolution simply reassures other malicious officers that they are welcome to use violence and lies against their own citizens without fear of punishment," Stallings said in a 15-page objection filed late Monday.

Parties will appear Wednesday before District Judge Shereen Askalani to argue over the plea deal, which is an agreement between Stetson's lawyer Fred Bruno and the Attorney General's Office. Only Askalani can decide whether to reject a plea. Bruno declined to comment.

Stallings was initially charged by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office for eight felonies, including attempted murder. A jury acquitted him, and Stallings sued the city. Stallings filed a federal lawsuit accusing 19 Minneapolis officers of violating his constitutional rights.

Stetson, 34, an 11-year veteran with the Minneapolis Police Department, was fired last fall and draws a state pension of nearly $59,000 a year. He agreed to no longer seek employment as a peace officer and have no contact with Stallings, who moved to Texas.

Then-County Attorney Mike Freeman referred the case to Attorney General Keith Ellison last spring. Freeman later told journalists that he erred in prosecuting Stallings, claiming that his office was "grossly misled" by officers about the case. Yet his office had access to the body camera footage before filing the initial charges.

Shortly after succeeding Freeman in January, Mary Moriarty told the Star Tribune that she would have handled the case differently.

"I feel really confident that a Stallings case would never be tried," she said.

Ellison recently took over the prosecution of a high-profile murder case from Moriarty in an unprecedented move after he decried a plea deal she offered two teens as too lenient. Now he appears to be agreeing to a less-severe punishment for Stetson.

The Attorney General's Office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on why it believes such a resolution is appropriate in this case.

Charges filed against Stetson more than two years after the attack accuse him of repeatedly punching and kicking Stallings.

Stallings fired his handgun at officers after they, without warning, shot projectiles at him from an unmarked van while on patrol the night of May 30, 2020 — five days after George Floyd's murder.

Stallings, a U.S. Army veteran with a permit to carry, said he fired back to defend himself from unknown assailants. He surrendered to police — face down and arms outstretched— but Stetson repeatedly struck him for 30 seconds.

When officers swarmed Stallings shortly before 11 p.m. in a south Minneapolis parking lot off Lake Street, Stetson kicked him four times in the face and head, punched him six times, delivered five knee strikes to his face and slammed Stallings' head onto the pavement. He did not stop until a sergeant intervened, according to the criminal complaint.

Body camera video released by Stallings' attorney shows Stallings repeatedly saying, "Listen, listen," while he is punched and kicked, resulting in a broken left eye socket.

In his objection, Stallings said that multiple officers were involved in the attack that night, but Stetson remains the only officer to face criminal charges. He expects the others will escape punishment.

"As the innocent victim in this case, I will have served more jail time as a result of this incident than all of those officers combined … At the very least, [Stetson] should be convicted for the felony conduct that is captured on video."

Stallings said he believes Stetson should face additional consequences for "lying to other officers and the court to cover up his actions, and for harming the justice system and his community by abusing his position of trust and authority."

"Instead, he is being offered the opportunity to walk away with more lenient terms than the average citizen would face for aggravated assault. Acceptance of this plea petition is a glaring failure to uphold the principles of justice. It directly supports a growing cycle of abuse by malicious officers and furthers a systemic failure to identify and prevent officer misconduct."

Sentencing data shows the proposed plea deal for Stetson is "outside the bounds" of standard third-degree assault resolutions, according to a supplemental court filing Rice submitted Tuesday. Citing data from the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, Rice found that nearly 75% of similarly charged defendants received a felony conviction.