MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara says he is ‘extremely concerned’ and calling for a full investigation into the MPD hiring process after learning his department hired a former Virginia police officer who generated national controversy in 2020 for his arrest and use of force on an unarmed black man.
Tyler Timberlake was charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and battery in 2020, for an arrest he made as an officer in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Body camera video of the arrest, which happened just days after the murder of George Floyd, caused a national outcry, but a Fairfax County jury later found Timberlake not guilty in 2022.
Chief O’Hara says Timberlake’s conduct should have raised red flags in the MPD hiring process and now he is vowing to find out what happened.
“I am extremely concerned about what I have just learned pertaining to the hiring of this individual who is currently in agency training and yet to be deployed into service,” O’Hara said, in a statement sent to KARE11. “Effective immediately, I am directing that a thorough investigation be conducted into this matter. The individual in question will not be deployed or serve in a law enforcement capacity in any way until we conclude a full investigation into this matter. We will get to the bottom of this and take whatever measures are necessary to ensure we are always hiring officers who meet our standards and that we are ultimately placing only the most qualified and competent police into the service and protection in the City of Minneapolis”
The footage from June 2020 shows officers in Fairfax County, Virginia responding to a call of "a man in crisis wandering the roadway". After someone at the scene tried to convince the man, La Monta Gladney, to get into an ambulance, Officer Tyler Timberlake approaches him and quickly takes him down with a Taser.
Timberlake then proceeds to get on top of him putting his knee to Galdney's back and eventually striking him in the head and tasing him a second time.
Timberlake's then-police chief and local leaders immediately denounced his actions, which came just days after the murder of George Floyd.
"The chief at the time of the Fairfax County Police Department said he was just absolutely horrified by what he saw in that video, and he said it did not conform to correct police practices and the prosecutor said that constituted assault and battery," said WUSA Reporter Bruce Leshan, who covered the case.
Despite Timberlake’s acquittal, Chief O'Hara told KARE11 reporter Kent Erdahl that the body camera video alone immediately raised concerns for him. He added that the incident should have been flagged in the hiring process.
That's why he says he's calling for a full investigation into the MPD hiring process in this case. He says he wants to know if this was missed and a glaring problem with the hiring process, or if there is something nefarious going on. He also says he will demand changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
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