Minnesota Police Facing Criminal Charges For Beating Man In Wheelchair In Detox Room

Duluth, Minnesota Police Officer Richard Jouppi will face criminal charges for beating a man in a detox facility last month after a review by an independent counsel. Jouppi will be charged with counts of fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

The video above does show Anthony Jackson (who was drunk) trying to push or gently slap away Jouppi who had helped him with the removal of his jacket. The officer had been called to the detox facility because Jackson violated its no drinking policy. Jackson paws at the officer’s face and that sets off a flurry of blows from Jouppi. In fairness to the officer, Jackson did try to strike him though it seems fairly gentle and was in fact deflected. There was clearly an excessive level of force used, including kneeling on the man after two blows to his head. I am also concerned with the fact that the officer charged Jackson with felony assault over the incident. We have seen many cases on this blog were officers involved in abuse have proceeded to hit the victim with a multiple charges.

Jouppi’s lawyer, Frederic Bruno, put the defense in rather startling terms: “you strike a cop, and you are in no man’s land.” I would hope that you would not be in no man’s land but within a legal system that clearly takes that force must be reasonable and commensurate. I believe that there is a reasonable defense to be made for Jouppi that, even if excessive, this does not rise to a criminal matter (though Jouppi’s own charging of Jackson with a felony undermines his claim for leniency). However, Bruno’s suggestion of a no man’s land is not going to be helpful with a court or a jury.

Source: CNN

31 thoughts on “Minnesota Police Facing Criminal Charges For Beating Man In Wheelchair In Detox Room

  1. Oh goodie…A misdemeanor and we still get to keep the badge……I like the resisting, obstructing or opposing a leo…..it’s a 2 year felony in some states and all’s you have to do is brush a leo……it’s your word against them….

  2. Tie the piece of crap, police officer, down in a wheel chair and beat him till he loses consciousness, then chop the offending arm off… but allow him to keep his badge,,,, shoved up his butt!

  3. I am on a DOJ email list and this came in

    Paulo Morales, 48, of Miami, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum to 33 months in prison along with one year supervised release, the Justice Department announced. In July, Morales, a former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

    During the plea proceedings, Morales admitted that on various dates in January 2011, while working as an officer with CBP at the Miami International Airport, he groped the breasts of three separate women without their consent and while they were in the custody of CBP.

    “This officer abandoned his commitment to legitimate law enforcement and used his power to abuse women in his custody,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to holding officers who engage in such conduct accountable.”

  4. Right. If you let people get away with bad behavior, expect their behavior to get worse. That is the story of how we have arrived in our present situation with the police.

  5. “you strike a cop, and you are in no man’s land.”

    This is the problem. In other words, “contempt of cop” leads to an unrestrained beating that’s totally justified in their minds. They (all too many) are out-of-control thugs that need to be stopped. When will we the people take back our “justice” system? And yes, the cop unions have had a big part in this; defending the worst offenders without question and regardless of their guilt. With absolutely no common sense or decency involved.

  6. Jouppi causes the issue by trying to yank the jacket off of Jackson’s arm as its caught in the cuff…if someone is pulling my hand behind my back with my jacket, I might push them away as well…

    Police are supposed/used to be trained in restraint and working with people who are unruly to calm them down…seems now that they’re trained to beat people into submission.

    I get sick over these videos, I’m hoping Jouppi gets the book slammed on his head.

    Bruno’s website says he’s been voted one of the best Lawyers in the US and is a ‘Super Lawyer’… Hardly seems like it with his comment.

  7. The appropriate response of the officer would have been to simply brush aside the man’s hand and let it go, provided he did not become combative later.

    This act went so far beyond reason the charge against the officer was warranted. And what was up with telling the nurse / detox official to back up or she would be arrested too? My God, talk about having a bad mindset.

    Here is a breakdown of what I consider proper uses of force.

    1) Person is under arrest but is a bit emotional and passively resists going. Action) Just talk to him and put his hands behind his back and cuff him.

    2) Person is angry and refuses to go, pushing officers away and grabbing on to stationary objects to prevent arrest. Action) Wrestle him to the ground, cuff him up, and charge him with resisting arrest.

    3) Person punches and kicks and officer during the arrest, causing pain and bruising to the officer. Action) Level 3 use of force plus charge with Felony Assault on LEO.

    Here is another consideration. You would never charge a person with Felony Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer for simply pawing the officer. Reason? It is a waste of time because the prosecutor would either drop it or the judge would throw it out during arraignment. Not to mention it is the equivalent of Crying Wolf in the minds of the courts and would call into question legitimate charges if too many chippy cases were presented.

  8. OK Bruno’s comment was ignorant, obnoxious and “a loser” legally. Cops should be MORE tolerant of aberrant behavior (especially from an inebriated handicapped person) than the average joe on the street, not LESS so. I heard a story about a good cop in DC once, and his name and so forth were never revealed but the story illustrates excellent police conduct and he should have been rewarded/recognized for it. A guy was riding a motorcycle in DC, drunk. The cop pulled him over and approached, asking for license and registration and so forth and then asked him to step off the bike and hand over his keys. I don’t know the breathalyzer protocol but somehow it played into the story. The guy was white, the cop was Black. The guy was from Virginia, Virginia plates on his bike. While refusing to take the test or hand over his keys, the rider got belligerent and used racist language and got loud, gathering a few onlookers. Then the cop told him that if he didn’t hand over his keys, the cop was going to TAKE them. More words. Then the cop reached over to take the keys and the guy smacked the cop’s hand, saying loudly, “N!ggaPlease!”

    The cop quietly and calmly took the keys, cuffed the guy, arrested him, read him his rights, had his bike towed and took him to jail. I know this story because my son knew the defendant involved when he was at UVA, and when he came back to town (having been convicted, paid his fine, etc.) he admitted that he was “out of line” and that he was lucky not to have been beaten up. Since my son used to like to ride motorcycles and rode with other guys down there who did the same, I begged him: (a) never to ride with this a55hole; and (b) to have nothing more to do with him (which he said he didn’t anyway, only riding); and (c) to never mouth off to any cop at any time anywhere, since not all cops are as fine and admirable as this one.

    The campus buzzed for days about how lucky this drunken racist fool was to have been arrested by such an outstanding cop and not to have even been “tuned up” in the jail itself. But the simple story is that when you’re a cop, you should be prepared to deal with people who are not being very nice. If you’re unable to manage your anger, get a different job altogether.

  9. One other fact in this matter that I don’t believe has been discussedhere is that Jouppi is/was on his last straw with the Duluth Police Department.

    From the local paper:

    -“The incident could cost Jouppi his job. Personnel records indicate that on March 12, he and the city reached a “Final and Last Chance Agreement” in which he signed a document that included the language: “Any future acts or omissions which violate public trust and/or violate (police policy) will be deemed an act of gross insubordination justifying termination.”

    Of Course, the local Police Union rep is crying foul and talking about just how correct Jouppi was in his actions. As you can tell by watching the video, his comment is as absurd as Jouppi’s actions:

    -““One thing that concerns me is that Rich used force to protect himself and others after being assaulted; that’s one thing that I think is being missed,” Maida said. “I think it will take quite some time to determine if the level of force is excessive. We’re not rushing to judgment on it. The video of it, in and of itself, isn’t enough to determine whether or not his actions were appropriate. His story has not been heard yet.””

    ‘To protect himself AND OTHERS…’ Yes, clearly the clinic employee and the female officer were in grave grave danger. His side of the story means very very little when the video tells the ‘truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.’

  10. This cop needs to be behind bars. That was disgusting. His actions with the coworker were also over the top and additional cause for termination. A misdemeanor charge is a joke.

  11. This officer was fully justified. I’d gladly acquit him of any charges and admonish the government for charging him.

  12. Malisha: >” OK Bruno’s comment was ignorant, obnoxious and “a loser” legally.<"

    While you are absolutely correct, Malisha, the sorry fact is that what Bruno said is true, one could even say that "“you strike a cop, and you get whatever the cops want you to get". Legality has nothing to do with the question.

  13. Looks like another cop with a bad temper. It seems as though the majority of these “bad cop” incidents are almost reactionary by the bad cop. Aren’t there some kind of psychological studies out there that can screen for bad tempers? Police forces need to do something because there are too many hot-headed cops out there with short fuses ready to abuse their power.

  14. “I believe that there is a reasonable defense to be made for Jouppi that, even if excessive, this does not rise to a criminal matter.”

    I generally agree with your analysis Prof., but what possible defense that this is not a criminal matter is reasonable? He beat the shit out of a defenseless man. The cop was already manhandling him with his arm twisted behind him when he tried to push the cop away, which even a sober person would do, and he released numerous blows to his face throwing his whole body behind the punchs. And the victim has the higher charges?

  15. Kraaken, I agree with you. I wish, however, that the guy in the wheelchair had a better lawyer because his position, while realistic, is not what he should have said to the press. He should have said something like, “My client was in an impaired condition and rather than the public safety officer assisting in keeping everyone safe, he chose to engage in criminal acts against a handicapped person that amount to torture! No physically handicapped prisoner of war should have been treated like that or the abuser would have been charged under the Geneva Convention against torture! It was outrageous and we have it on video!”

    The fact is, the guy did not assault the cop; he tried to free himself from a painful arm-twist hold that was unnecessary to start with. The woman who told him to take off his jacket was combative and rude to begin with; everybody knew the guy was drunk; he was operating from diminished capacity to start with. The beating was so far beyond any acceptable behavior that the officer should have been subjected to citizen’s arrest at the time, but he intimidated the civilian witness, who was clearly terrorized herself, seeing the beating. I hope the guy in the wheel chair finds himself a good personal injury plaintiff’s lawyer to sue for a million dollars and I hope he collects. And I hope he goes to an AA meeting every night of his life. ❗

  16. Just watched the video. Wrong person is facing felony assault. Cop had no reason to do anything but help the victim stand while he took off his jacket. Cop was looking for a fight.

  17. BettyKath, yes, the cop was looking for a fight he was sure to win! Coward! His calling it “assault” when the guy tried to free his own shoulder from a painful twist is like George Zimmerman calling it an attack when Trayvon Martin tried to escape a stalker in the dark. He should be so ashamed of himself he quits, moves away and tries to get plastic surgery.

  18. The words we employ to describe certain people: police officer (sometimes abbreviated to PO); cop; Officer So&So;and LEO. The introduction of the LEO term seems to have come from within the ranks– ranks of cops who dont like the word cops. Law Enforcement Officer. It also has more range than just a police officer who is issued a badge and a certificate to enforce laws and make arrests. They refer to bailiffs and process serviers and some curmudgeons who come along for the ride as LEOs. The problem with LEO is that it was formerly used in court circles to denigrate a bad cop: Law Enforcement Offender. When you invoke LEO then I take it that an offense occurred and the person invoking the nominclature is dressing up the word from police officer to cop to LEO. But they dont know the history. A LEO is indeed a cop with a badge who is an offender in the enforcement of his duties. So if a cop is a good cop he should remain as a good cop in our parlance and if he smacked some poor guy in a wheelchair he should be called a LEO but the writer, the person invoking the acronym should tell the reader what the real genesis of the word is. What we have here in the video are two bad cops, the one that assaults and the one that looks on. They are both LEOs. They are both offenders. They both should be prosecuted and they both should be sued for money damages. If a superior saw this video and agreed to prosecute the guy in the wheelchair after viewing it, then the superior should be charged in the civil suit. See Title 42 United States Code Section 1983 for civil rights violations committed by those operating under color of law; and see Section 1985(3) for conspiracy among co Leos and others; and see Section 1988 for attorneys fees. The municipality can be named and judgment can be entered against them if they were the employer of the LEO. It is easier to use the word LEO and is much shorter than bad cop or bad fat cop with billie club. When someone operates under color of law (with a badge for example) and violates my civil rights, then they are a Law Enforcement Offender. Once convicted of a criminal case then theyt are a Law Enforcement Offender (1st conviction).

  19. that cop jouppi are whatever his name is he is a danger and threat to civilians all around he attacked a drunken man mind you the man was drunk so if a man in a wheel chair swung at you while he is like 2ft lower would you strike him no you wouldnt more or less restrain i think that cop was bullied a younger child for being overweight also the man had a eye patch wow and his hand was stuck in his jacket cuff now why would he do it? i think that maybe i couldve been a hate crime the man was native what if that cop jouppi had a hate mainly for other races? in conclusion he was in the wrong cops are people just like us….so what if they have a badge saying they are cops? How can you call yourself a cop a citizen of the USA and act in tht manner? He is more or less a terrorist, the kind that doesn’t pray on countries but people citizens just like him i say that man has made a fool out of our police…not sayin that police are always wrong but in that situation he was in the wrong and that he should be judged by the law.

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