The FBI on Monday agreed to investigate the beating of a man by Minneapolis police officers after the city’s police chief reviewed video showing some of the officers kicking and punching the man while he was being held face-down in the snow.
Chief Tim Dolan asked the FBI to investigate the February arrest of Derryl M. Jenkins during a traffic stop, saying some of the responding officers’ actions are cause for concern.
Jenkins, who turns 43 on Tuesday, was charged with assault and refusing to submit to alcohol tests, but the charges have been dropped. Through his attorney, Jenkins said releasing the seven-minute video recorded by cameras attached to the police squad cars was in the public interest.
“He wanted to put this out there to educate and make people aware of what happened,” attorney Paul Edlund said Monday.
Jenkins, of Brooklyn Center, has said he was stopped Feb. 19 after a late-night dinner and three beers. The arresting officer accused Jenkins of driving about 15 miles over the speed limit, though Jenkins denies it.
The video shows the officer stopping Jenkins’ PT Cruiser in north Minneapolis, then opening the car’s driver’s side door to talk to him. A couple minutes later, Jenkins gets out of the car and begins to struggle with the officer. The officer pulls Jenkins’ hooded jacket over his head and throws him face-down into the snow while waiting for backup.
When five other officers arrive, several of them begin punching and kicking Jenkins as they try to apply handcuffs. A Taser is used at one point, but it is ineffective, according to police records.
Watch The Video
Jenkins eventually was taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where he received several stitches above his eye. He was then taken to the Hennepin County Jail.
No disciplinary action has been taken against the officers involved, and Dolan said it appears that the officer who tried to make the initial arrest acted appropriately. That officer suffered a split lip and bloody nose during the incident. Dolan issued a brief written statement Monday but declined interview requests.
Police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia said the video shows how officers often have to deal with people who resist arrest, which he said can create a dangerous situation.
Force “doesn’t look good, but sometimes it is necessary, unfortunately. And I think people that aren’t used to seeing that, it does raise concerns with them,” Garcia said.
FBI spokesman E.K. Wilson said investigators will look into the case. It’s common for the FBI to examine excessive force complaints against local law enforcement because one of its responsibilities is enforcing federal civil rights laws.
In addition, Dolan has referred the case to the department’s internal affairs and training units for a review of arrest procedures.
Edlund, Jenkins’ attorney, said those actions are a good first step. “It is good news for my client as well as the public that the Minneapolis police chief is taking it seriously,” he said.