Jaleel Stallings files objection to possible plea that would allow former MPD officer to avoid jail

The victim of a police brutality case is objecting to a possible plea deal that would allow the former officer to avoid jail time, according to court records.

Former Minneapolis Police Department officer Justin Stetson is charged with felony third-degree assault for the beating of Jaleel Stallings during the May 2020 civil unrest. Earlier this month, the state’s Attorney General’s Office amended the complaint and added the lesser charge of misconduct of a public officer or employee, which is a gross misdemeanor.

In a 15-page motion filed with the court on Monday, Stallings objected to the possibility that Stetson could plead to the lesser charge and avoid a felony conviction.

“The proposed agreement fails to hold Stetson accountable for the significant harm to me, his profession, and the community he swore to protect.”

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office says it’s reserving comment until Stetson’s appearance in court Wednesday morning.

Stetson is accused of repeatedly punching and kicking Stallings along with other officers who were patrolling the streets in an unmarked van during the riots.

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Stallings, an Army veteran who was legally armed, said he did not know they were police officers when he fired at them in self-defense after he was hit in the chest by a less-lethal round.

In a bizarre series of legal events first reported by the Minnesota Reformer, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office initially charged Stallings with attempted murder of police officers. A jury acquitted him on all charges in the summer of 2021 after surveillance and body camera video contradicted how officers described the encounter.

Stallings turned around and sued the city and received a $1.5 million settlement in May 2022. Stetson was charged that December.

“I have spent the past three years trying to reveal the misconduct in my case so the gaps in our system could be fixed. Despite my efforts, no meaningful accountability or correction has occurred,” Stallings said. “Unfortunately, it is a fitting conclusion to the unbroken string of injustice and disappointment I have suffered that things end with a single prosecution of Stetson that fails to deliver the consequences that could have prevented the abuses I suffered.”