Ex-officer pleads guilty to assaulting man during unrest in Minneapolis after murder of George Floyd
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to assaulting a man during the unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd by another officer in 2020.
Justin Stetson’s guilty plea to a felony charge of third-degree assault means he can never again work as a law enforcement officer in Minnesota. And under the terms, he offered a written apology to Jaleel Stallings that included an acknowledgment that he participated in a harmful institutional culture of policing.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted the case, called Stetson’s admission historic. But Stallings filed an objection with the court calling the deal too lenient and saying it fails to hold him accountable because it keeps the former officer out of prison.
Stetson and other officers were enforcing a curfew the night of May 30, 2020, when his group spotted four people in a parking lot. One was Stallings, an Army veteran with a permit to carry a gun. The officers opened fire with rubber bullets. One hit Stallings in the chest. Stallings then fired three shots at the officers’ unmarked van but didn’t hurt anyone. He argued that he thought civilians had attacked him, and that he fired in self-defense.
When Stallings realized they were police, he dropped his gun and lay on the ground. Stetson kicked him in the face and in the head, then punched Stallings multiple times and slammed his head into the pavement, even after Stallings obeyed Stetson’s command to place his hands behind his back, according to the complaint. A sergeant finally told him to stop. The incident was caught on police body camera video.
Stallings suffered a fracture of his eye socket, plus cuts and bruises. He was later acquitted of an attempted murder charge.