MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — No longer wearing his blue police uniform, fired Minneapolis police officer Christopher Reiter is spending his days in a Hennepin County courtroom.
Attorney Robert Fowler, who is representing the 36-year old former cop, is trying to defend his client’s use of force in the May 2016 arrest of domestic assault suspect Mohamed Osman.
Reiter was investigating the beating and choking assault of Osman’s girlfriend in a south Minneapolis apartment. As he and fellow officers approached Osman, who was later parked outside, surveillance cameras captured the apprehension.
Reiter can be seen kicking Osman in the face, violently forcing his head to the pavement.
Osman reportedly suffered multiple head lacerations and traumatic brain injury. A photograph taken a short time later shows his badly bloodied head.
In court Wednesday, Fowler suggested to jurors that the force was reasonable. Although a blade was never taken into evidence or listed on police reports, Reiter believed that Osman was armed with a knife.
But St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos, who investigated the case to avoid an internal department conflict, said a knife was never mentioned by the man’s girlfriend or other officers.
On the witness stand, Paulos told jurors that “reports don’t state anything about a knife.”
Prosecuting attorney Dan Allard then called local author and use of force expert Michael Quinn to the stand.
The former Minneapolis officer and supervisor of the police academy showed jurors still frames capturing specific moments from the surveillance video.
When Allard asked Quinn if the kick was reasonable, Quinn said, “No, it was unreasonable. He was giving up and complying with officers commands.”
This is the second incident captured on camera showing Reiter’s kicking a suspect.
The earlier incident from 2014 shows him kicking a gas station attendant. That case cost the city of Minneapolis $105,000 in damages paid to the victim.
Reiter was terminated by the city just two days after the 2016 incident. Regardless of the outcome of his third-degree assault trial, his legal problems aren’t over.
Reiter is being sued by Mohamed Osman, in a $4 million civil case.