A Minnesota law enforcement officer is suing the city of Minneapolis in federal court after he says three city police officers roughed up him and his friends while on a night out in downtown.
When the officer, Andrew Johnson, asked the officers why they had confronted him with guns drawn, one of them responded, "you don't know how we do [expletive] in Minneapolis," according to the lawsuit, which names as defendants the city, Sgt. Jameil Mohammad and two officers, who are only identified by their last names, Vert and Weis.
The lawsuit doesn't specify damages, nor does it say which agency Johnson works for, but public records list an Andrew Johnson working for the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. A spokesperson for the sheriff's office did not respond to a message left Tuesday.
Minneapolis city attorney Jim Rowader declined to discuss the lawsuit because it is active litigation.
The suit says Johnson and his friends were walking through downtown on Sept. 14, 2019, when they heard someone yell, "Get the [expletive] on the ground!" and turned to find Vert and Weis with their guns pointed at the group. Mohammad is alleged to have grabbed Johnson without explanation and put him on the hood of his squad car, before handcuffing him. Johnson says that he repeatedly asked the officers why he and his friends were being stopped, but they ignored him. Johnson showed them his law enforcement ID and Mohammad allegedly insisted that Johnson was "just a correctional officer." When Johnson insisted he was a certified and licensed peace officer, Mohammad responded that "someone told the officers that someone in the group had a gun," according to the suit, which adds that Johnson and his friends were not armed.
"The Defendants did nothing to verify that the Plaintiff or his friends possessed firearms before they seized them with deadly force," it read. "Plaintiff told Defendant Mohammad how dangerous it was for them to seize them with deadly force, charging them from the rear, without a reason."
Mohammad allegedly responded: "You don't know how we do [expletive] in Minneapolis. Do you even work the streets?"
Johnson's lawsuit alleges that he repeatedly attempted to retrieve a report on the incident, and found Mohammad never wrote a report but logged the incident as an "Officer Assist" call. Three days after the incident, he attempted to retrieve the body camera video, the lawsuit alleges. A records clerk viewed the video but before it was finished, called a supervisor who then called Public Information Officer John Elder. According to the lawsuit, Elder promised to report the incident directly to Chief Medaria Arradondo, but later told Johnson he could not have a copy of the video because their "video system just crashed." Johnson has never received a copy of the video.
When reached by phone on Tuesday, Johnson's attorney, A.L. Brown, said the lawsuit speaks for itself and declined to comment further.
The suit is the second one Brown has filed against the department this week.
In the first, a man and woman filed a federal suit against the city alleging that police shot and killed their dog while serving a no-knock warrant at their home in 2017. The suit alleges that officer Joel Doran and Sgt. Ryan McCann fired the shots that killed the dog.
Staff writer Liz Sawyer contributed to this report.
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064 Twitter: @StribJany