Man who shot at police amid George Floyd protest gets acquitted

In May 2020, St. Paul, Minnesota resident Jaleel Stallings was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder after firing shots at Minneapolis, Minnesota Police officers amid a protest sparked by the death of George Floyd. A year later, he’s been acquitted.

Speaking with the Associated Press on Friday (Sept. 3), Stallings’ attorney said that the 29-year-old used a self-defense argument to defend himself during trial in July. Stallings said he thought he was being attacked by civilians in the area when he fired three bullets at an unmarked white van, and that he started firing the shots after he was hit in the chest by a non-lethal rubber bullet. Apparently, it was only then that he realized he fired at the officers, none of whom were struck in the incident. He reportedly surrendered to authorities when he realized that he fired shots in their direction.

According to a Tuesday report from the Minnesota Reformer, body cam footage shows SWAT officers Officer Justin Stetson and Sgt. Andrew Bittell kicking and punching Stallings while he is down on the ground. The two said that Stallings, whose face was visibly bruised in the mugshot taken the day he was arrested, was resisting arrest. However, the footage, which shows that he was laying still on the ground for 20 seconds, told a different story.

“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,“ Judge William Koch wrote in a pretrial order. “The video evidence does not support their testimony Mr. Stallings was resisting arrest in any way, instead he surrendered to their authority.”

At this point it is unclear whether the officers will be facing any investigations or punishment. Now that he’s been acquitted, Stallings is reportedly considering further legal action regarding this matter.

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