The city of Minneapolis could pay $105,000 to settle a federal lawsuit against a former police officer accused of kicking a man who was trying to break up a fight outside a South Side gas station.
The proposed settlement would end an excessive force lawsuit brought against the ex-cop, Christopher Reiter, 36, who was later fired from the force after kicking another man in the face in similar fashion, causing a traumatic brain injury. Reiter, who has a history of excessive force, was charged with felony assault last month in connection with that case. He has appealed his firing. The city's Ways and Means committee is scheduled to vote on the payment Monday before it goes to the full council.
The underlying lawsuit was brought by Shawn Ross, who was working as an attendant at a Shell gas station on Sept. 13, 2014, when he was kicked by Reiter. The encounter was captured on one of the station's security cameras.
Ross had been trying to break up a fight between an unruly customer and another man outside the station at 640 East Lake St.
That's when Reiter and his partner drove up in their squad car.
The surveillance footage shows Reiter walking up to Ross with his gun drawn, ordering him to the ground and without apparent provocation, kicking him in the chest — all within 13 seconds of pulling up to the scene. The force of the blow sent Ross to the pavement.
In court filings, Ross' attorneys said that he was slow to get down on the ground because of a prior injury and that he wasn't being defiant.
"Mr. Ross was an innocent bystander to this entire incident involving Officer Reiter, and he's pleased that the city of Minneapolis has made it right for him," Paul Applebaum, one of Ross' attorneys, said Thursday.
City officials didn't immediately return messages left for comment on Thursday evening.
Union President Lt. Bob Kroll declined to comment, citing the pending criminal case against Reiter, as well as his ongoing appeal of his firing.
Reiter was charged last month with third-degree assault for allegedly kicking Mohamed Osman in the face in May 2016, causing a broken nose and traumatic brain injury. That incident was also captured on security camera.
He is the second Minneapolis police officer this year to be charged with assault. In January, officer Efrem Hamilton was charged with felony second-degree assault for shooting at a car full of people during a downtown melee in December 2016.
According to charges against Reiter, police arrived at 3:40 a.m. May 30 to the 2900 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a domestic assault after Osman had severely beaten his girlfriend. When police arrived they saw Osman sitting in a car and ordered him to get out and get on the ground.
As he was on his hands and knees, Reiter approached him and kicked him in the face, according to the criminal complaint. Osman collapsed to the ground unconscious and bleeding. No use of force is mentioned in the police report Reiter filed after the incident.
Surveillance video from a nearby building captured the assault, where Reiter is seen quickly approaching the victim "and violently kicking him in the face" within seconds, according to charges.
Reiter has a long history of being accused of excessive force, according to police and court records.
Minneapolis police have investigated eight complaints filed against him since 2013.
Two of those remain open, while the rest resulted in no disciplinary actions.
No other information is available on the complaints. He has been sued twice over excessive force, including Ross' case.
In August 2015, Hennepin County and the city attorney dismissed three prostitution cases because undercover investigators went too far.
Reiter was found to have engaged in "outrageous sexual conduct" that violated a woman's due process rights while he was doing undercover work at a south Minneapolis parlor in November 2014.
Judge Amy Dawson wrote in her dismissal order that Reiter "initiated sexual contact that isn't required for the collection of evidence to establish elements of the offense."