MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — Newly released bodycam video appears to show Minneapolis police officers reveling in shooting protesters with rubber bullets five days after George Floyd’s murder.
Officers could also be heard saying they were hunting civilians.
“Instead of chasing people around, we’re going on a hunt,” Cmdr. Bruce Folkens said in the video. “You guys are out hunting people now. It’s a nice change of tempo.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said Thursday that the video, which also showed officers beating a man who’d surrendered, was “galling.”
“We need to make sure justice is done,” the mayor said, without explaining how.
The video was shown during a court case against Jaleel Stallings, 29.
Stallings was acquitted after getting into a shootout with officers after arguing he fired in self-defense at the unmarked van.
The footage shows Stallings, who had a permit to carry a firearm, crouched behind a pickup truck in a parking lot. At 10:53 p.m., an officer fired a marking round at Stallings, hitting him in the chest. Stallings testified at trial that he thought he was being attacked by civilians and was hit by a bullet. He fired three shots toward the van as a warning, then took cover. He surrendered when he realized he had fired at police, said his attorney, Eric Rice. No officers were hit.
Nearby surveillance footage shows Stallings immediately lie on the ground. Then Officer Justin Stetson and Sgt. Andrew Bittell punched and kicked Stallings, who did not resist.
A police spokesperson said the department couldn’t comment because of an ongoing investigation.
Floyd’s murder sparked several protests across the country calling for police reform. Some police advocates, including retired New Jersey Lt. Steve Rogers, said the video is troubling.
“I understand the frustration, the aggravation, and the tension and pressure to police are under,” Rogers said during an appearance on NewsNation’s “The Donlon Report” on Thursday. “But in order to address issues like what they saw Minneapolis, you need a command, you need control, you need to keep your cool.”
Other police departments in cities experienced similar protests last summer and received criticism for the way their officers handled protests. Rogers said this video will be another blow to the relationship between police and the communities they serve.
“I would ask the people in Minneapolis and around the country to think about all of the crimes that police officers have stopped,” he said. “Think of police officers around the country that have been killed in the line of duty. There are a lot more good cops than there are bad cops.”
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