During last year’s riots, one of the participants fired at SWAT three times as national tension reached a furor over George Floyd. The police shooter was subsequently arrested, but he has now been acquitted of all counts.
The police shooter, Jaleel Stallings, fired a weapon at SWAT during a George Floyd event. The 29-year-old Stallings, who is from St. Paul, Minnesota, had been hit by rubber bullets, which he apparently mistook for citizens attacking him, according to his attorney, Eric Rice.
Law enforcement officers reportedly shot at Stallings as he appeared to reach for a rock. The officers had been in an unmarked van when Stallings began to open fire.
Once Stallings realized he had been shooting at police, rather than other citizens, he quickly surrendered and subsequently laid facedown for approximately 20 seconds. Law enforcement officers punched and kicked Stallings before ultimately apprehending him. The Minnesota Reformer acquired body camera footage that reveals the interactions between Stallings and the police.
Judge William Koch, who was responsible for ruling on the case, indicated in a pretrial order that Stallings did not pose an obvious threat to law enforcement officers after laying still for roughly 20 seconds.
According to Koch, the officers involved, Sergeant Andrew Bittell and Officer Justin Stetson, “allowed their anger and/or fear to overtake their faculties,” which ostensibly resulted in their beating of Stallings for close to 30 seconds before ultimately placing him in handcuffs.
Koch also added that the evidence provided by the video “does not support their testimony Mr. Stallings was resisting arrest in any way,” as he ultimately surrendered to authorities.
In addition, Koch also determined that the law enforcement officers’ actions constituted a violation of Stallings’s Fourth Amendment rights. Koch argued that the law enforcement officers’ “conduct during their arrest of Mr. Stallings” comprises “a Fourth Amendment issue relating to the reasonableness of their seizure.”
Stallings was ultimately acquitted of all eight charges, two of which were attempted second-degree murder, in the state trial that occurred in the District Court of Hennepin County, located in Minnesota.
John Elder, the police spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department, stated that Sergeant Bittel and Officer Stetson’s actions are currently undergoing internal review. Elder’s commentary was initiated by media inquiries regarding whether or not the law enforcement officers are facing any form of discipline or investigation.
Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder explained that Officer Stetson and Sergeant Bittel’s actions are under internal review after being asked by media if the two were under investigation or facing discipline.