Man sues Minneapolis, claiming 2 MPD officers violated his civil rights

A man has filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and two police officers, claiming the officers used unnecessary and excessive force against him and detained him without cause while responding to a reported dispute.

Said Abdullahi filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in connection to the April 22, 2022, incident.

According to the lawsuit, Abdullahi says his car broke down a short distance from East Franklin Avenue and Cedar Avenue that day. Looking for help, he walked up to a person inside a parked vehicle but the man inside threatened him and called the police. When two officers — identified in the lawsuit as Sergio Villegas and Daniel Barlow — responded, Abdullahi says they acknowledged there was no threat but insulted Abdullahi as they left.

The man in the vehicle and Abdullahi continued to yell at each other and the officers returned a short time later. Abdullahi claims in the filing that the officers continued to insult him and mocked him when he asked to talk to their supervisor. Additionally, he says one officer asked the man to move his car away from Abdullahi’s but didn’t take any issue with the man threatening Abdullahi.

As Abdullahi filmed the interaction, he claims that Barlow pushed him twice. After telling the officer that he wanted to press charges for his actions, the lawsuit states that Villegas then “violently pushed (him) to the pavement,” leaving a scar.

Ultimately, he claims the officers then arrested him and charged him with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, keeping him behind bars for three nights. The case was later dismissed.

Abdullahi’s lawsuit also notes the many past cases against the city for unlawful conduct by police officers, including one against Villegas for allegedly pepper-spraying a peaceful protester in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. That was eventually settled by the city.

Abdullahi is asking for damages to be determined by a jury.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to the city for comment Tuesday afternoon and was told the city hasn’t yet been served. Both officers are still employed by MPD.