ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A St. Paul police officer on leave after a violent arrest was captured on video was previously reprimanded for allowing a person to drive on a suspended license.
Officer Jesse Zilge received an oral reprimand from his commander in October 2009 over a traffic stop the previous January, according to personnel records provided to The Associated Press on Friday. Zilge allowed a passenger to drive a vehicle he had stopped even though state records listed the passenger’s license as suspended.
Zilge also got a commendation in May 2012 for diligence in tracking down a robbery suspect.
Zilge was put on leave last week after a citizen filmed him kicking a man in the chest as he lay on the ground during an arrest.
Details of the reprimand and commendation hadn’t been available until Friday, when St. Paul police provided them in response to a records request from AP.
Zilge’s home phone number has been disconnected, and the St. Paul police union president did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. According to internal records documenting the incident, Zilge told investigators he let the driver go because it appeared she had paid some fines necessary to have her license reinstated and was in the late stages of pregnancy.
A second officer on leave as a result of the videotaped arrest, Matthew Gorans, was previously suspended for three days in 2010 after being accused of excessive force. The documents released Friday gave more detail on that case, showing that the suspension stemmed from an arrest in September 2010 where Gorans and other officers subdued a man they were attempting to handcuff.
Gorans told department investigators that he repeatedly struck the man with his knees, saying he feared for his and the other officers’ safety.
The department found he engaged in excessive force, with Chief Thomas Smith writing to Gorans that his actions indicated “a lack of self-control.”
The man in that case, Anthony Michael Clark Jr., filed a lawsuit that the city settled this year for nearly $250,000.
Gorans’ home number has also been disconnected.
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