Ex-Mpls. cop who kicked suspect in head found guilty

Video frame grab of alleged assault by officer
An officer kicks Mohamed Osman in this video frame grab. The still was taken seconds before former Minneapolis police officer Christopher Reiter, in the dark blue jacket, delivered his kick.
Carston Heefner via KARE 11 News

Updated: 5:55 p.m. | Posted: 5:10 p.m.

A jury on Monday found a former Minneapolis police officer guilty of a felony for kicking a man in the face during a domestic violence call.

Former Minneapolis police officer Christopher Michael Reiter
Former Minneapolis police officer Christopher Michael Reiter
Courtesy Hennepin County

Christopher Reiter was found guilty of third-degree assault for severely injuring a domestic assault suspect in May 2016 while the suspect was on his hands and knees, causing a brain injury.

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Reiter had been on duty, responding to a call of a woman who'd been beaten on the city's south side. Prosecutors said Reiter had learned the man suspected of committing the crime, Mohamed Osman, was in a car nearby.

Other officers on the scene had already ordered Osman to get out of the car and drop to his hands and knees. Reiter then approached Osman and kicked him in the face, causing him to fall to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. An ambulance took him to the hospital.

The jury saw security camera footage taken from the parking ramp across the street showing the blow. In the video, a few officers come out of the building with their guns drawn as Osman exits his car with his hands up. He doesn't appear to be resisting or trying to flee. The footage shows him on his hands and knees as Reiter approaches and kicks him once in the face, knocking him unconscious.

Osman, who was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, testified that he still feels pain from those injuries, and is also suing the city in federal civil court.

During the trial, defense attorney Robert Fowler offered a different account of the evening. He said the woman feared that after beating and choking her for 45 minutes, Osman left to get a knife to cause her more harm. Fowler said Osman was "extremely violent" and that Reiter's split-second decision to kick Osman was justified.

Reiter took the stand in the trial, testifying that the bloodied and bruised woman told him that Osman, her boyfriend, had a knife.

"She told me the assault took place in an apartment and in a hallway," said Reiter, who became overcome with emotion. "I think she told me for 30, 40 minutes. He punched her and kicked her. And then used both of his hands to strangle her."

Reiter said the kick, which he described as a "stunning blow," was justified because he believed Osman was extremely violent and armed with a knife.

However, Reiter apparently did not warn any of the officers who were near Osman that he could be armed. And none of the officers on scene that night, including Reiter, made any official record of a knife.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he'll ask for prison time for Reiter. Sentencing is scheduled for December.

Clarification: (Oct. 10, 2017): The first photo caption has been updated to reflect that the image is from a few seconds before Christopher Reiter delivered his kick.