Jason Andersen is not guilty and wants his cop job back
The cop who shot Fong Lee was found not guilty yesterday of violating a teenager's civil rights by kicking him in the head.
Now Jason Andersen, who has been fired twice by the Minneapolis Police Department, after a domestic dispute allegation and the head-kick incident, is expected to try to get his job back.
"I'm for going forward," said Sgt. Jeff Jindra, a board member of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the powerful police union. The union board is meeting this morning and will discuss whether they'll fight for Andersen's job back. "I would think that 90 percent of us are in favor of going forward," Jindra said.
Wednesday's verdict is the second time in less than a year that a federal jury has cleared Andersen of wrongdoing. In May, Andersen was acquitted of excessive force charges for shooting and killing Fong Lee during a 2006 foot chase.
This week's trial stemmed from an 2008 incident at the Crystal Frolics carnival, when Andersen kicked a teenager in the head. Crystal police officer Justin Tourville confronted a teen about a gang symbol on his belt, and the kid agreed to cover it with his shirt. But a friend of the teen, Jevontay Johnson, began swearing at Tourville.
So Tourville knocked Johnson to the ground, and the kid landed on Tourville's gun. Tourville flipped the kid over and was in the midst of trying to handcuff Johnson, who was on his stomach with his arms beneath him.
That's when Andersen ran over and kicked Johnson in the shoulder. Then he kicked him again, this time striking the kid's head, according to the testimony of several officers.
At that point, Crystal officer Todd Gustafson pushed Andersen back, the Star Tribune reports.
"He said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, we don't do that here,' " Andersen recalled.
"I said, 'We don't do what here?'"
"We don't kick people here," Andersen testified that Gustafson told him.
At his trial, Andersen testified that he did not mean to kick the teen in the head--"from the bottom of my heart," he said.
The judge told the jury that in order to find Andersen guilty of violating Johnson's civil rights, they must be certain that the excessive force was intentional. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before returning its not guilty verdict.
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