A committee of the Minneapolis City Council has rejected the $145,000 workers' compensation claim of a police officer who beat a man during unrest following the killing of George Floyd.
Sgt. Andrew Bittell was one of the officers who beat Jaleel Stallings on the evening of May 30, 2020. Stallings was near Lake Street and 15th Avenue in south Minneapolis when he was hit by a 40 mm marking round from an unmarked van. Thinking it was a civilian, Stallings fired back with his handgun.
When he heard shouts of “shots fired,” Stallings said he realized it was police officers and tried to surrender. Video introduced in court showed Stallings tossing away his gun and laying on the ground with his hands above his head before Bittell and Officer Justin Stetson kicked and punched him for about 30 seconds.
Stallings had a broken eye socket and other injuries. Hennepin County prosecutors charged Stallings — a legal gun owner — with eight felonies, including two counts of attempted murder of police officers.
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Stallings rejected a plea deal from prosecutors that would have given him a 12-year sentence. A jury found Stallings not guilty after evidence introduced at the trial contradicted the officers' accounts that Stallings resisted arrest.
The city settled a federal lawsuit in May 2022 for $1.5 million for that incident. Stetson later admitted guilt for third-degree assault and misconduct, admitting that he “crossed the line, went too far.”
As part of the plea deal with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, Stetson apologized to Stallings and agreed to never again seek work in law enforcement.
Minneapolis has paid out tens of millions of dollars to police officers who filed workers’ compensation claims since Floyd's killing.
A state law passed last session aims to keep these officers on the job by requiring most employees now making a claim to receive up to 24 weeks of mental health treatment. Council members moved forward seven other workers’ compensation claims on Monday.