MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One day after assault charges were filed against a former Minneapolis police officer, we’re learning of a lawsuit accusing him of a similar use of excessive force.
Surveillance video outside a gas station in 2014 appears to show then Officer Christopher Reiter kicking a Shawn Ross in the chest.
Ross was the manager at the gas station and claims he was trying to break up a fight prior to Reiter’s arrival, according to the federal lawsuit. The video is evidence related to the lawsuit.
Ross’ attorney Paul Applebaum is seeking $300,000 in damages. He provided WCCO with the video.
According to the lawsuit documents, Ross states on Sept. 13, 2014, an intoxicated man was saying racial slurs towards people inside the Shell gas station at 640 East Lake Street.
Ross repeatedly tried to get the man to leave, but the man stayed outside the business and continued to “berate” customers.
In the video, a group of people in a nearby SUV and a customer begin arguing with the intoxicated man. Ross continues trying to defuse the situation but it doesn’t work. A fight starts and the man is hit and knocked to the ground.
Within seconds, Minneapolis police arrive on scene thanks to 911 call made before the fight. In the documents, Ross states the officers get out of the car and order everyone on the ground with their weapons drawn.
Ross gets down on his knees and claims he identified himself as the station’s manager but is kicked in the torso by Officer Reiter.
Jeff Wagner Reports:
The lawsuit states Ross’ ribs were injured and that he experienced digestive difficulties. It states he continues to suffer from depression, PTSD and anxiety.
The lawsuit was filed in September 2015.
About eight months later, the Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says Reiter committed third-degree assault while responding to a call.
According to the court documents, Reiter responded to a domestic assault call in May 2016. The documents state he kicked the suspect in the face repeatedly even though he was following commands, causing facial and brain damage.
St. Paul Police investigated that incident. Three officers who were also at the scene gave testimony that Reiter’s repeated kicks were unnecessary.
Community activist Al Flowers said Reiter was the officer who attacked him in his home in July 2014. The case was recently settled out of court for $25,000.
Reiter appeared in court Thursday for the recent assault charge and was released from custody that afternoon. He will appear in court again on April 20.
Both Mary McGuire and Jeff Wagner contributed to this report.