A Minneapolis police officer who was fired for punching a handcuffed American Indian man is suing the city, claiming that it agreed to rehire him and then backed out of the deal.

Alexander Brown and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis filed suit against the city of Minneapolis Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court.

The suit alleges that after Chief Medaria Arradondo fired Brown in February, the union challenged the termination and reached a settlement agreement with the city in October.

The city had agreed to rehire Brown and reimburse him for lost wages, the suit said.

“Plaintiff Brown has been ready and able to work since October 31, 2019,” the suit said. “Defendant City required Plaintiff to remain at home prepared to work since October 31, 2019 …”

The suit accuses the city of breach of contract, violating state law by failing to pay Brown and violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

The city issued a statement saying the city attorney’s office hadn’t reviewed the suit, and had no comment.

Brown’s suit is asking a judge to compel the city to honor the agreement, subject the city to penalties for its violations, award Brown and the union legal costs and award Brown compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, a starting amount commonly listed in civil suits.

Brown’s suit included a copy of the settlement agreement reached with the city on October 31, 2019. The document said the city would agree to rehire Brown, impose an 80-hour suspension for his actions and reimburse him for lost wages.

The agreement was signed by union president, Lt. Bob Kroll, and Arradondo.

Brown and his former partner Peter Brazeau struck a man who kicked at them while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground in downtown Minneapolis in December 2016. Their use of force was deemed excessive by an internal review panel, which recommended that they be disciplined.

They were ordered to undergo extra training, and returned to street duty for nearly a year until Arradondo fired them.

The officers were cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

An arbitrator ruled in October that Brazeau could have his job back. The decision found that he violated the department’s policy on excessive force and should serve an 80-hour suspension without pay.

 

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