A Minneapolis man has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming he was shoved to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer after he asked the officer why the police were not arresting a suspected white supremacist who had smashed a window at Cup Foods, the site of the George Floyd memorial in south Minneapolis.
Andrew Browne, who lives near the memorial, alleges that officer Nicholas Sciorrotta Jr. pushed him down without warning on June 26. The officer was initially not identified in the suit, filed on July 13. But he was named in an amended complaint, which was filed Wednesday.
Sam Kramer, Browne’s attorney, said in an interview that he could not disclose how he learned the identity of the officer because of a protective order issued July 22. The order, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer, makes some information in the case confidential.
The Minneapolis police referred questions about the incident to the city attorney’s office. Acting City Attorney Eric Nilsson did not respond to messages and has not filed a response in court.
According to the lawsuit, Browne lives a block from Cup Foods at E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. Floyd was killed outside the store May 25 when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes in the presence of three other officers. Floyd’s death provoked large protests in the Twin Cities and around the world. Chauvin was charged with second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter and the other officers were charged as accomplices; all have been fired.
The suit alleges that on June 26, Browne was helping a group of volunteers who were providing security at the memorial in front of the store. He alleges he saw the volunteers leading a burly white man away from the memorial after that man had reportedly thrown something through the window of Cup Foods and was threatening people in the area. Brown surmised from the white man’s tattoos that he was probably a white supremacist, according to the suit.
Someone called a police dispatcher, who told them to take the man away from the area to meet police, but none showed. After several calls, a dispatcher told the group to release the man. Eventually the volunteers saw about six Minneapolis officers at the corner of W. 39th Street and Park Avenue, including Sciorrotta.
Browne says in the lawsuit that he asked the officers why they had taken so long to respond. The officers said nothing and returned to their squad cars, the suit says.
“Sciorrotta quickly turned, stepped toward Browne and forcefully shoved him, knocking him to the ground,” the suit says. Browne “was hurt physically and mentally,” the suit alleges. In an interview, Kramer declined to offer details of the injuries.