Jaleel Stallings, the Black man who was beaten by Minneapolis police offers after he shot at them during the unrest in 2020, has reached a $1.5 million settlement with the city, WCCO reported.
Last year, Stallings was acquitted of attempted murder and assault charges after he was accused of opening fire at Minneapolis police officers during the protests that ensued after the murder of George Floyd, How Africa reported at the time. And released footage of his arrest showed Stallings being kicked and punched by Minneapolis SWAT officers while he was on the ground.
The May 2020 incident occurred after Jaleel Stallings was hit by what was confirmed to be a non-lethal rubber bullet that was being used by the police. During his trial in July, Stallings argued he opened fire at an unmarked white van in self-defense. His lawyer, Eric Rice, also told The Associated Press that his client initially thought he was being targeted by civilians. He fired three shots at the van in an attempt to ward off any further attack after he was struck, court documents stated.
And though Stallings subsequently took cover, he surrendered after he realized he had actually opened fire on police officers. None of the officers at the scene was, however, struck by the bullets.
Following his acquittal, Stallings filed a civil lawsuit naming 19 officers and the city of Minneapolis as defendants, WCCO reported. His lawyer explained his client filed the lawsuit “seeking accountability for the officers who violated policies, laws, and constitutional rights with impunity” in the wake of the protests that ensued after the murder of George Floyd.
Besides paying Stallings $1.5 million, a judge also ruled that the city will also cover other costs as well as attorney fees, federal court documents revealed. Although the settlement was ultimately reached, court documents also reveal the city and the other defendants “expressly deny” the genuineness of the allegations as well as any liability.
Following the incident, Stallings said he relocated to Texas because he feared for his safety in Minneapolis. “The memories it brings up, I try to avoid thinking about it as much as I can, but it doesn’t necessarily go that way,” Stallings said, adding that he wasn’t also satisfied with the settlement.
“To me, $1.5 million says the city recognized this was a significant event. However, I went into the civil case with not hopes for a check, as much as I was hoping for justice and accountability, and I don’t feel I received that at all,” he added. “I am both satisfied and disappointed.”
Over the last decade, the city of Minneapolis has had to fork out tens of millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money to settle police misconduct claims. Last year, George Floyd’s family reached a landmark $27 million settlement with the city after his murder. Soren Stevenson, a protester who lost an eye after he was struck by a less-lethal round, also reached a $2.4 million settlement with the city.
“I don’t want this to happen again. I don’t want city funds to be wasted on lawsuits,” said Stevenson.