Three Mpls cops cited for beating black men; one cop called a victim a "fat [N-word]"
The MPD has been taking a PR beating this week for off-duty officers' racist words and actions.
Hot on the heels of MPD officers Brian Thole and Shawn Powell getting themselves in trouble for calling black men "monkeys" (among other slurs) during an altercation in Green Bay comes a report that two other MPD cops recently pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct following an incident where they beat black men and used racial slurs.
The two officers who pleaded guilty in June are William Woodis, 47, and Christopher Bennett, 38. A third officer, Andew Allen, was also charged in connection with the incident, which occurred last November 19 outside Bogart's Place in Apple Valley, but charges against him were later dropped. All three officers, like the two involved in the Green Bay incident, are being investigated internally by the MPD. Woodis, Bennett, Allen, Thole, and Powell are white, and all five were off-duty at the time of the incidents.
The Star Tribune was alerted to police reports about the November 19 incident by a "source." It escaped the attention of local media the first time around because Woodie, Bennett, and Allen aren't identified as MPD cops in the Apple Valley PD reports.
The Strib details the incident:
According to Apple Valley police: Rodney and Mike Spann, 24, Lovell Garner, 29, and Tyrone Franson, 32, all of whom are black, entered the bar early on Nov. 19.
Rodney Spann said Thursday that he and his companions tried to shake hands and be friendly with the other men but met with hostile language.
Garner and the others decided to leave and headed toward the parking lot, where several people punched and kicked Mike Spann, according to the police report.
The report said Rodney Spann was left with a cut to his lip. Mike Spann had injuries to his finger, elbow and two lumps on his head. He was treated at the scene.
Woodis, Bennett and Allen told Apple Valley police the black men had been causing problems. Woodis said the black men came up to them for no reason and tried to shake their hands; Woodis said he and the other officers decided to leave the bar, but that the black men followed them and began swinging, the report said.
Woodis, who smelled of alcohol, became "verbally aggressive" as he was questioned and was placed in the back of a squad car, the police report said. Woodis, Allen and Bennett had no visible injuries, the report said.
Other reports say one of the MPD cops called one of the victims a "fat N-word" during the altercation outside Bogart's Place.
Reached for comment by the Strib, Spann said he was upset the two officers were only convicted of misdemeanors.
"You're supposed to protect and serve whether you're on duty or off duty," he said. "I'm scared of police officers now."
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