MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A St. Paul man has reached a $1.5 million settlement with the city of Minneapolis following an incident where Minneapolis police officers beat him during 2020's unrest.
Last year, Jaleel Stallings was acquitted of charges that accused him of shooting at police officers during protests over George Floyd's murder near Lake Street and 15th Avenue South on May 30. During his arrest, published body camera footage shows Minneapolis SWAT officers punching and kicking him as he lay on the ground.
According to court documents, officers were driving an unmarked white van, without lights or sirens activated, when they began shooting non-lethal rounds at a crowd in a parking lot, which included Stallings. Stallings claimed self-defense and noted he had a permit to carry.
Court documents showed that after Stallings was hit, he fired three shots toward the van as a warning. He surrendered when he realized he had fired at police.
After the acquittal, Stallings filed a civil lawsuit against 19 officers and the city of Minneapolis. The attorney for Jaleel Stallings says a civil lawsuit was filed "seeking accountability for the officers who violated policies, laws, and constitutional rights with impunity" during the protests that followed George Floyd's murder.
According to the federal court documents, the judge ruled that the city of Minneapolis will pay $1.5 million to Stallings, in addition to costs and attorney fees.
Despite the settlement, court documents show Minneapolis and the other defendants "expressly deny" both the validity of the claims and any liability.
WCCO talked with Stallings following the settlement's announcement. He now lives in Texas because he did not feel safe staying in the Twin Cities.
"The memories it brings up, I try to avoid thinking about it as much as I can, but it doesn't necessarily go that way," he said.
He said the payment is not specifically what he hoped for.
"To me, $1.5 million says the city recognized this was a significant event. However, I went into the civil case with not hopes for a check, as much as I was hoping for justice and accountability, and I don't feel I received that at all," Stallings said. "I am both satisfied and disappointed."
In a statement the deputy Minneapolis city attorney says, "The City hopes that an early resolution to this matter will allow all of the parties to move forward."
Some residents WCCO spoke with didn't realize the city is self-insured, and their tax dollars cover police conduct payouts.
"Why does it have to come from the money that we work for?" said Minneapolis resident Amerior Walker.
Rachel Moran is an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
"It's a lot of money," Moran said. "You have to think about if the money is going to one thing, it's not going to another, instead of going to support our schools or our parks or something else."
WCCO has tracked police payouts. They range from hundreds of dollars to millions, like the $27-million settlement with the family of George Floyd.
In March, Minneapolis settled with Soren Stevenson for $2.4 million. He was left blind in one eye after being shot by a less-lethal round during a protest.
"I don't want this to happen again. I don't want city funds to be wasted on lawsuits," Stevenson said.
Police misconduct allegations have cost taxpayers in the state's largest city tens of millions of dollars in the last decade alone.
Compared to similar size cities, Minneapolis on average pays more in officer conduct payouts. Click here to see WCCO's reporting on the issue.
Here you'll find what change could help taxpayers.
And there are several more pending lawsuits connected to police conduct during the protests and riots of 2020. Here's a look at payouts over the years.
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