Former Minneapolis Police Officer Christopher Reiter Found Guilty Of Third-Degree Assault

October 10, 2017

The Star Tribune calls it a “rare conviction for on-duty use of force”.

Christopher Michael Reiter. Photo Courtesy: Hennepin County

On May 30, 2016, Minneapolis police officer Christopher Michael Reiter, 36-years old, responded to a domestic abuse call. When he arrived, he found a woman badly beaten.  Other officers arrived and found the suspect, Mohamed Osman, sitting in his SUV.  Officers surrounded him and ordered him out of his car.

Surveillance video shows that as Osman was getting on the ground, one officer, Josh Domek, kicked him twice. Reiter then delivered a blow to Mohamed’s head that knocked him unconscious, broke his nose, started bleeding on the brain and caused a traumatic brain injury.

At trial in Hennepin County, state prosecutor Daniel Allard told the jury there was a conspiracy to protect Reiter.  Reiter, another officer, and the victim testified that they believed Mohamed had a knife.   However, other witnesses, including a security guard and several officers who were at the scene, said they did not see a knife.

Another officer, Luke Eckert, testified that he searched Mohamed and found a knife in his front pocket.  However, there was no mention of a knife in the official reports, nor was it taken into police inventory for evidence.  MPR News reports that when questioned at trial, Eckert said one could go through any squad car and find a number of items like keys, cellphones or pocket knives that hadn’t been inventoried.

“Are you telling me that I can go into any squad car and find a knife?” Allard asked, raising his voice.

“No — I’m just saying items get left in squad cars all the time,” replied Eckert.

Eckert also testified that he did not mention the knife to the Internal Affairs Unit investigating the incident because they didn’t ask him.

Reiter was relieved of duty two days after the incident and subsequently fired for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.”

Mohamed Osman

On Monday, October 9, 2017, a Hennepin County jury deliberated 90 minutes and returned with a verdict of guilty of third-degree assault.  Third-degree assault in Minnesota is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine.  The felony conviction disqualifies Reiter from being rehired as a police officer.  Reiter is scheduled for sentencing on December 12, 2017.

Reiter has been the subject of 8 complaints.  Six are closed and two are open.

In April 2017, Minneapolis settled a civil case against the city and Reiter for $105,000.  The federal lawsuit alleged that on September 13, 2014, Reiter violated the civil rights of Shawn Ross.  Ross was a night manager for a gas station where a fight broke out.  911 was called, and Ross waved the police down.  The police ordered everyone on their knees.  While Ross was on his knees, Reiter kicked him.  It was caught on camera.

According to 5 Eyewitness news, so far this year, the city of Minneapolis has entered into $455,680 to settle cases against police officers.  The city has spent more than $20 million over the last 10 years in lawsuit settlements.

 

 

Posted on 10/11/2017, in Cases, Mohamed Osman and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Five years, he’ll do one, max. — And the beat goes on. I wonder what the verdict would have been had Mr. Osman done the same thing to the cop. Still, maybe it is a sign that power is starting to listen. Time will tell.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Had it been Osman who kicked a cop resulting in those type of serious, permanent injuries, the charge would probably have been attempted murder.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a start, and I hope this continues.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. yahtzeebutterfly

    Videos are very important today as seen by the verdict in this case.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes they are, Yahtzee. Still we must not forget when prosecutors and juries had video in other cases, such as Walter Scott where the jury hung, and Patrick Harmon where the prosecutor did not charge.

      Also we must keep in mind that Reiter kicked Shawn Ross and along with at least 7 other complaints of using unnecessary force ,he was not held accountable.

      Looking at the results of the kick to Ross compared to that of Osman, the injuries were so significant and damaging that the prosecutor no doubt considered it was time to bring Reiter before a jury.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. $20 Million in 10 years to settle law suits. Hit ’em where it hurts. In the pockets if they aren’t willing to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. These cases grind my gears. Law Enforcement has to do a better job of screening their applicants and recruits, frequently.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mindyme,
      You are so right. If they hire someone and later find they don’t have the right temperament or attitude for the job, and the union gets involved against discipline or termination, they should require the union to pay the settlement if that officer is named as a defendant in a lawsuit.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am glad things are getting noticed. Even though the punishment does not fit the crime, at least it is getting noticed. Perhaps one day, we can get the punishment that fit the crime.

    Like

  6. Dear Xena and Friends,

    It is a step in the right direction. I’m just grateful that the guilty officer did not get away with the typical cover up lies like he had a weapon; he reached for something; I was in fear for my life.

    By now, we have all learned the drill.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Like

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