The Power of Body Cam Footage

The case of a St. Paul man recently acquitted on charges of attempted murder is still raising questions about police and prosecutorial fairness. Feven Gerezgiher reports. 

The case of a St. Paul man recently acquitted on charges of attempted murder is still raising questions about police and prosecutorial fairness. Twenty-nine-year old Jaleel Stallings had been charged with shooting at police during protests following the murder of George Floyd. No officers were injured.

The Minnesota Reformer acquired body camera footage that supported Stallings’ version of events: 

The Minnesota Reformer has made the video available via Youtube.

Stallings claimed self-defense, noting he thought officers were white supremacists patrolling Lake St. The body camera videos show police shooting rubber bullets at people from an unmarked van without lights. The videos also show Stallings lying on the ground after officers identified themselves. Then you see police punching and kicking him.

Michelle Gross is with Communities United Against Police Brutality.

“The stuff that was coming out of these cops’ mouths is  reprehensible,” said Michelle Gross with Communities United Against Police Brutality.  “But  it’s a good way to get kind of a backroom view of the way that cops really think about the community and the way that they operate.”

Gross shared the video with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is investigating the Minneapolis Police Department for use of excessive force.

She said she’s glad Stallings was acquitted, but questioned why the county attorney brought the case to trial since he had access to the body camera evidence.

“Why would you go forward with a prosecution against this man given what you’ve seen?, she said.  Most people don’t think about it this way, but use of the criminal justice system against people is a form of retaliation.”

Minneapolis authorities say they are conducting an internal review of the police officers who were involved with Stallings’ arrest. A hearing to decide whether to release more body camera footage will take place later this month.

For the Racial Reckoning project, I’m Feven Gerezgiher.

Photo Credit: King Demetrius

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