Kenya Montgomery seeking $40k judgement in Mpls police misconduct suit [VIDEO]

Kenya Montgomery seeking $40k judgement in Mpls police misconduct suit [VIDEO]
Photo: Dash cam screenshots.

Pending final City Council approval, the city of Minneapolis will pay a $40,000 judgement to Kenya Montgomery, a 25-year-old who says he was the victim of excessive police force last year in north Minneapolis.

Late on the night of May 31, 2011, police officers tried to stop Montgomery on suspicion of firing gunshots in the area. Montgomery took off running, according to police reports, but the officers eventually cornered him by a fence near the corner of Emerson and Lowry Avenues North.

Dash cam video shows that when the squad arrived, Montgomery gave up trying to climb the fence and threw his hands in the air. Still, the first officer to approach immediately began throwing punches. Several others quickly joined the action, kicking and punching Montgomery on the ground.

"It was a clear surrender," says Andrew Noel, Montgomery's attorney. "Both hands up. If they would have tried to arrest him, I think they could have arrested him with no problem at all."

Here's an excerpt from the video, obtained by City Pages:

In police reports, the officers say they saw Montgomery running with a gun in his right hand. The weapon -- a 9mm, semi-automatic pistol -- was discovered near the scene, and Montgomery was later found guilty of carrying a pistol without a permit in a public place.

Timothy Devick, one of the officers named in the suit, admits in his report to using force during the arrest, but says it was a response to Montgomery resisting. Writes Devick:

"I drove towards the suspect who was trying to get onto the wall and over the fence. I stopped my squad and got out. I yelled at the suspect to get down on the ground. The suspect just stood there not reacting to or following my request. I moved toward the suspect and punched him two times on the left side of his head and three times in his chest. Other officers arrived to assist in taking the suspect into custody. The suspect was actively resisting. I could see him kicking his feet at one of the officers. I stepped on his calf and ankle with my full weight to control his foot."

Jer Yang, another officer named in the suit, writes that he heard his fellow officers yelling at Montgomery to "stop resisting" when he arrived on scene. He also notes that he suspected Montgomery was still armed at the time, given the nature of the incident.

"I honestly believed that Montgomery was still in possession of a handgun. Officers were originally chasing Montgomery after officers heard shots fired. Montgomery had the courage to run out of the perimeter knowing that officers are in the area. Officers clearly aired over the radio that they saw Montgomery in possession of a handgun in his hands."

Montgomery's attorneys sued the city in March of this year. The suit argues that Montgomery surrendered to the officers, and the subsequent use of force violated his civil rights. It also includes several unnamed officers on scene who didn't participate in the melee, alleging they had a responsibility to intervene. From the lawsuit:

"The squad video shows Montgomery going to the ground after Defendant Devick aggressively came toward him with his fist cocked. Montgomery had previously surrendered and was simply attempting to avoid being punched in the face."

On July 25, the Minneapolis city attorney recommended the City Council approve a payment of $40,000 to Montgomery, plus $34,000 in legal fees. The judgement passed the council's Ways & Means Committee Monday, and will go to the full council Friday.

The city attorney wouldn't comment on the case at this time, but we'll follow up after Friday's vote.

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