MINNEAPOLIS - A former Minneapolis police officer has been found guilty of using excessive force while responding to a domestic violence call.
After 90-minutes of deliberation, a jury found 36-year-old Christopher Michael Reiter's use of force was unjustified in connection with the incident. He was charged with third-degree assault.
"I don’t believe there are many police officers in Minneapolis or elsewhere that support Officer Reiter’s kicking somebody in the face, that’s beyond the pale," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told KARE, noting that it's rare to gain a conviction of an officer for use of force while on duty.
Reiter was among four officers responding to the call on May 30, 2016. They confronted the suspect, Mohammed Abdi Osman, who complied with the officers' orders.
At that point, a jury believed Reiter kicked Osman in the face with deadly force, breaking his nasal cavity and causing a traumatic brain injury that prevents Osman from working to this day.
Prosecutors argued Reiter assaulted Osman out of anger for what Osman did to his girlfriend.
"They saw her. They saw the injuries, and shortly thereafter they assaulted my client," Osman's attorney told KARE 11 in March.
Court documents state Osman's girlfriend was choked and punched by Osman during an argument. She suffered broken teeth and two black eyes.
Prosecutors say the fellow officers who witnessed the incident say deadly force was not warranted. The defense argued despite Osman not being armed, he did just violently assault his girlfriend and should've been seen as a serious threat.
Reiter was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department on January 11, 2017, although the administration would not confirm whether his dismissal was spurred by the case.
Sentencing for Reiter will be December 12.
Freeman said the presumptive sentencing in an assault case like this, for someone without a prior criminal history, would be probation. But Freeman said he'll ask the judge in the case to impose jail time, which would be an upward departure from sentencing guidelines.
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