'Malicious pattern of force': Protester sues Minneapolis cops over 'evil intent'
Police fire pepper spray at protesters Minneapolis, Minnesota (Karem Yucel:AFP)

Jaleel Stallings is filing a civil lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department after beating him in May 2020 because he returned fire as they shot at him, local KARE 11 reported this week.

In September, four body cam videos revealed that SWAT team members fired rubber bullets without warning at a man as he stood in a parking lot. The SWAT team was in a darkened cargo van slowly driving along Lake Street in Minneapolis. Stallings was acquitted on four charges after police videos revealed Sgt. Andrew Bittell told the SWAT team, "Drive down Lake Street. You see a group, call it out. OK great! F*ck 'em up, gas 'em, f*ck 'em up."

Stallings, who is Black, thought white supremacists were firing on him, a reference to Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) saying the group was inciting the riots after George Floyd's death. He was legally carrying his gun with a permit.

Stallings explained in court that he returned fire because he didn't know that those shooting at him were police. Once they identified themselves, he laid his gun down. They then proceeded to beat him.

According to the civil suit, Stallings says the nearly 20 defendants "engaged in a pattern of violence and malice towards protestors and civilians" the night of May 30, 2020, when they saw him in the parking lot on Lake Street.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that officers gave a false account of the incident, omitting facts that supported Stallings' self-defense claim. The complaint also says that officers were hunting civilians by intentionally disguising their vehicles. The police then used excessive force against him, violating his Fourth Amendment rights and Equal Protection rights by targeting him and claiming, without evidence, that he was engaged in a felony.

Stallings's filings also maintain that officers knew that these were legal violations but encouraged them anyway, a fact proved by the recordings in Stallings's previous trial. The suit goes on to explain that it has become a pattern of the MPD violating Constitutional rights.

The news comes just days after Minneapolis voters narrowly rejected a law that would replace the police department with the Department of Public Safety. The ballot measure isn't a necessary one as the city council could replace the Minneapolis Police with the department with a simple majority vote. A significant 45 percent of voters supported the demand, which could give council members the legislative support by the voters to significantly change the police department into the Department of Public Safety, but not abpolish it.

Read the full report.