A 25-year-old local man has filed a federal lawsuit against a Minneapolis police officer, alleging that the officer beat him unconscious during an arrest near Dinkytown last summer.
In the lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Hector Acevedo alleges that he was punched and kneed by the officer, Tyrone Barze, after leaving a bar in the early morning of July 13, 2014. He is seeking unspecified damages.
Barze has been the subject of at least five other civil lawsuits alleging excessive force and wrongful arrest, according to federal court records. Two of those suits were later dismissed and a judgment was entered against the officer in another case under a so-called Monell claim.
According to the most recent suit, Barze stopped Acevedo and a group of his friends as they were walking in the area of 7th Street and 15th Avenue SE. Acevedo said that the officer started to frisk him after intervening in a heated argument between Acevedo and his then-girlfriend, the suit says.
The suit claims that he protested when Barze and his partner confronted Acevedo’s friends, several of whom were filming the encounter on their cellphones. After subduing and handcuffing one member of the group, Barze wheeled around and struck Acevedo, knocking him to the ground, the suit alleges.
“Acevedo was on the ground and tried to get up but Barze kept punching him, striking him at least once in the face. Barze also kneed Acevedo in the ribs multiple times and then kneed Acevedo in the face.”
Acevedo lost consciousness before being taken to jail and suffered an eye bone fracture, according to the suit. Charges against him were later dropped, his attorney Bob Bennett said, adding that Barze and his partner confiscated the others' cellphones and deleted videos of the incident.
Union and department officials declined to comment on the case late Friday, and a spokesman for the city attorney’s office didn't return a phone call or email seeking comment.
Barze has had previous allegations of misconduct made against him.
In September, the city paid $38,000 to settle the lawsuit of a Maple Grove woman who accused Barze of assaulting her when she tried to record him arresting several of her friends. Another case was settled out of court for $140,000 — $115,000 of which went for lawyer fees.
“He’s an officer that you’d think would be prime for retraining or removal,” said Bennett, a Minneapolis lawyer who’s represented plaintiffs in several of the lawsuits against Barze. “Sometimes, the young officers can be retrained, sometimes that works.”