comScore

MPD officer writes controversial email defending officers in beating, ripping FBI

itemprop

Last month, Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan asked the FBI to investigate an incident where six police officers are caught on video beating a man during an arrest last February. He said some of the video concerned him and he wanted an outside agency to investigate the matter. The video and story became public when the man arrested in the tape, Derryl Jenkins, brought the issue to the police for further investigation of his case. He says unnecessary force was used against him.

Apparently one 35-year veteran of the police force is pretty ticked off. In an email to colleagues about the incident, Lieutenant Mike Sauro defended the cops and police are backing away from his statements. His views directly contradict the concern express by his own boss. Sauro also takes a couple hits at the FBI, claiming they know very little about use of force, exemplified by the fact that the 9/11 terror attacks happened.

Supervisors, including Sauro, were requested to discuss use of force with their officers. So what does Sauro do? Write a pretty epic email defense that seems to rally up cops to do more beating.

His email was titled "Use of Force" and was sent to officers in the 4th Precinct.

Check out some particularly telling excerpts below.

Excerpts from the email:
It is easy to dissect a force incident for several days in the safety of city hall or a newsroom. My retort to all the second guessers/experts is, why don't you throw on one of those blue uniforms and go out and do it yourself if it is so easy.

What I observed was a controlled use of force by a group of highly trained professional police officers.

Let's discuss the arriving officer's actions... When I arrive and see the suspect still struggling with the officer I am going to perceive the suspect has not been searched for weapons and is a serious threat to me and other officers at the scene. Because of my perceptions and experience I am going to strike the suspect with hands, feet and batons. Just like the arriving officers did... I am not going to take the chance of being shot or stabbed. The people in city hall and the newsroom can take that chance, I am not going to.

Remember Jenkins determined how much force was used on him, not the officers.

Let's talk a little about the aftermath of the Jenkins arrest. The incident is now being investigated by the FBI, supposedly to judge the appropriateness of the force used. How much expertise does the FBI have in use of force? My experience tells me very little... I know the FBI investigated the 911 terrorists before September 11th. How did that turn out?

Read the full email (PDF) here.

Police officers aren't exactly standing behind Sauro's remarks.

More from WCCO:

"Clearly Lt. Sauro's concern for the safety of officers was what sparked this. He is very passionate about it," said Deputy Chief Janee Harteau.

Deputy Chief Janee Harteau says Sauro's intentions were good, but his e-mail didn't generate the conversation that the department would like to see.

"There certainly are components and his personal view were in the e-mail that are certainly not consistent with views of the MPD," said Harteau.

The irony? Sauro has an excessive force problem of his own. The city of Minneapolis had to pay more than $1 million in the 90s after he was the subject of an excessive force civil lawsuit. Whoops!