Videos show man firing at unmarked van filled with MPD officers, unbeknownst to him
New videos released Monday shows the chaotic moments after a man shot at an unmarked van during the riots last summer, not knowing police officers were inside.
His case made headlines after being profiled by the online news outlet, Minnesota Reformer.
The series of body camera and surveillance videos released Monday shows a group of officers patrolling on Lake Street in an unmarked white van during the height of the unrest, when businesses were looted and set on fire. The video shows them firing off rounds of less-lethal rubber bullets.
Stallings says he fired at the van in self-defense after thinking he was under attack by a group of civilians.
“Shots fired! Shots fired!” one of the officers shouted. The officers, who were dressed in full riot gear, jumped out of the van and immediately raced toward the gunfire.
Stallings, who is an Army veteran and has a permit to carry, can be seen immediately dropping his weapon and lying face down on the pavement after he realized it was officers in the van and not civilians.
“If he had fired knowing that they were police, that’s a very different context than firing at unknown civilians in a white van,” said Eric Rice, Stallings’ attorney.
After his client was acquitted on all charges, Rice pushed to get all the evidence in the case released to the public to show Stallings’ perspective and how officers handled the arrest.
“For the last year, Mr. Stallings was called a cop killer,” he said. “And I think if you look at the evidence, the story is more complex than that.”
The video also reveals that officers attacked Stallings before putting him in handcuffs. For nearly 30 seconds, two officers can be seen hitting and kicking him as he laid face down on the ground.
Stallings suffered multiple bruises, cuts and an eye socket fracture.
The officers claimed in their reports that they had to assault him because he was resisting. But in a ruling earlier this year, a judge found that not to be the case, writing “the video evidence does not support (the officers’) testimony.”
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office still decided to take the case to trial. In a statement, a spokesman said that “the jury has spoken, we accept their verdict, and the system worked.”
A spokesman from MPD confirmed that there is an open investigation with the Office of Police Conduct Review and declined to comment further.