A 29-year-old man facing attempted murder and assault charges for opening fire at Minneapolis police officers during the protests that ensued after the death of George Floyd was acquitted of all the charges that were brought against him, The Associated Press reported.
The May 2020 incident occurred after Jaleel Stallings was hit by what was confirmed to be a nonlethal rubber bullet that was being used by the police. During his trial in July, Stallings argued he opened fire at an unmarked white van in self-defense. His lawyer, Eric Rice, also told the news outlet his client initially thought he was being targeted by civilians. He fired three shots at the van in an attempt to ward off any further attack after he was struck, court documents stated.
And though Stallings subsequently took cover, he surrendered after he realized he had actually opened fire on police officers. None of the officers at the scene was, however, struck by the bullets. Stallings was slapped with a slew of charges including two counts of second-degree attempted murder and several counts of assault.
The body camera footage of Stallings’ arrest was obtained and shared by the Minnesota Reformer. The footage shows Stallings being kicked and punched by Minneapolis SWAT officers while he’s on the ground. Court documents stated that Stallings laid down and also put his gun on the ground after he realized he had opened fire on police officers, The Associated Press reported.
Despite not moving for 20 seconds and apparently not resisting, a pretrial order from Judge William Koch stated Stallings was kicked and punched in the stomach, chest and back by two law enforcement officers. Rice said his client told the court he sustained brushings, cuts and a suspected eye socket fracture. Court documents also stated he struggled to breathe after he was arrested. Rice alluded that to the rubber bullet that struck his chest. A mugshot of Stallings that was taken following his arrest also showed he had sustained what appeared to be facial injuries.
Koch said the officers’ actions contravened Stallings’ Fourth Amendment rights.
“Officer Stetson and Sergeant Bittell allowed their anger and/or fear to overtake their faculties and they beat Mr. Stallings for nearly 30 seconds before attempting to place him in handcuffs,” Koch stated. “The video evidence does not support their testimony Mr. Stallings was resisting arrest in any way, instead he surrendered to their authority.”
It is, however, unclear if an investigation into the officers’ actions had been opened or disciplinary action had been taken against them. Stallings has also filed a request asking the court to give him the green light to publicly share the body camera footage, The Associated Press reported.
Stallings’ arrest and the events leading up to the incident were highly publicized. His $75,000 bail was paid by the Minnesota Freedom Fund following his arrest. The organization is a nonprofit group.