Minneapolis police suspend cop who threatened to break suspect's legs

Hamza Jeylani
Hamza Jeylani, 17, recorded his encounter with Minneapolis police.
Courtesy of Hamza Jeylani

Minneapolis has suspended a police officer with pay for apparently threatening to break a suspect's legs during a traffic stop earlier this year.

Video of the incident has surfaced on Twitter. It shows very little of the arrest, but includes audio of the interaction between Officer Rod Webber and 17-year-old Hamza Jeylani on March 18 of this year.

Minneapolis police said earlier that they were investigating the incident, but the status of the officer involved hasn't been clear before. Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder confirmed that Webber is on "home assignment" and that the video showing Jeylani being detained is part of an investigation, although Elder couldn't confirm they were related.

Bob Kroll, the incoming head of the Minneapolis police officers' union, confirmed that Webber is the officer in the video recorded by Jeylani.

"It's early stages," Kroll said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. "They may have done some interviews with the people involved, but none of the officers have been interviewed to my knowledge yet."

Kroll also said his union would be waiting for the investigation to be completed and would review the entire case before it goes to a discipline panel. He added that the video should be authenticated as part of the process.

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It isn't clear what discipline the officer might face. Minneapolis fired two officers for a confrontation in Green Bay, Wis., in which a pair of officers were recorded disparaging police Chief Janee Harteau and using a racial epithet.

But Kroll said there was no way yet to tell what action the department might take, if any. "It could be anything from coaching to termination, so it would be foolish to make a prediction," Kroll said.

Jeylani, a junior at Urban League Academy High School, said neither the officer who stopped him nor anyone else from the police had contacted him since the incident.

"He did not come and apologize," he said. "All I wanted is an apology or something nicer. Still looking forward to that."

Jeylani said he gets compliments from friends and members of the community. They ask him how they should use their phones if they get involved with the police in a similar situation, he said.

"They said I was smart to use my technology and from now on they are going to use that technique," Jeylani said.

Video

NOTE: This video contains language that may offend some. It has been edited so that it is always oriented up.