DPD Release Body Cam Video of Officer Using Excessive Force

Until the incident on May 20, 2017, Officer Huot was never disciplined for an unreasonable use of force.

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth Police Department (DPD) has released information and footage of an officer using excessive force on a man last year.

Police Chief Mike Tusken tells us the footage was not previously released because the department needed to follow privacy and employee data laws.

Chief Tusken spoke out about an investigation’s findings and how the department is focused on making Duluth a safe place for all.

The incident happened on May 20, 2017, at the Technology Village Parking Ramp in Duluth.

We now will show you actual footage from the officer’s body cam of the incident.

Three officers: Adam Huot, Morgan Cekalla and Beau Hughes responded to the Tech Village Ramp to a call about two intoxicated males.

The men were told to leave and they’d be issued a ticket for trespassing.

In the video you hear one of the men, a Native American male, refuse the officer’s request and asked to be taken to jail.

The man is handcuffed and is escorted through the skywalk but then he falls to the floor and says, ‘I’m not going to make it easy for you guys.”

Officer Huot grips the handcuff chains and drags the man almost 100 feet to the elevator.

The loud thump you heard was the man’s head hitting the door frame.

Officer Cekalla, who witnessed the incident, reported it to his lieutenant.

Officer Huot joined the DPD in February 2008.

He was placed on paid administrative leave on May 21, 2017 and was terminated on June 5, 2017.

In a previous incident in 2014 Officer Huot was investigated for punching a man in the head several times, according to court documents . Huot received a one-day suspension.

Chief Tusken spoke out about the incident and how it reflects on the department as a whole. He also issued a personal apology to the man.

“The behavior in what you saw here doesn’t represent the best of us and as a result I felt very strongly and do feel very strongly that when you betray public trust that there, we cannot in this day and age, law enforcement cannot tolerate that behavior and that’s the reason for the actions that we’ve taken,” said Tusken.

Court documents reveal Huot knew the victim. In fact, they’ve had contact at least four times before the incident.

Chief Tusken says Officer Huot had several trainings including crisis intervention training where officers are trained to get voluntary compliance by using words.

Many concerned community members and civic leaders had strong reactions when watching the video.

Members from the Duluth Indigenous Commission say Chief Tusken briefed them the day before so this information wouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We don’t know if this incident was racially motivated, but certainly the officer treated the victim like an animal,” said Commissioner Larry Heady of the Duluth Indigenous Commission. “We can’t tolerate that in this community, regardless of who the victim is.”

The Duluth Police Union filed a grievance on June 21, 2017 and an arbitration hearing began on February 27, 2018.

On June 22, an arbitrator ruled Officer Huot’s use of force was unreasonable and violated the department’s policy and training.

The arbitrator decided Officer Huot is to be reinstated without back-pay contingent upon a medical exam, drug screening and other department requirements.

The city plans to appeal the decision to the district court. The Duluth Police Union president tells us Officer Huot has yet to be reinstated by the city and is not getting paid at this time.

 

Here is the full statement from the Duluth Police Union on the incident:

On June 22, 2018, an arbitrator ordered Officer Adam Huot to be re-instated as a Duluth Police Officer. Officer Huot’s employment had been terminated by the Department due to actions he took on May 20, 2017. The Duluth Police Union subsequently grieved his termination and moved the matter to binding arbitration. The Duluth Police Union has acknowledged throughout the arbitration process that Officer Huot’s actions on May 20, 2017, were inappropriate and reflected poorly on all police officers. However, the Union strongly believed Officer Huot’s actions did not justify termination. The arbitrator’s decision has affirmed the Union’s belief. Officer Huot is a nine-year veteran of the Duluth Police Department who has received several awards and commendations. His actions on May 20, 2017, are not without consequence, having lost more than 13 months of pay and benefits. Officer Huot has accepted responsibility for his actions and is eager to return to the Department. Officer Huot extends his apologies to Mr. Houle, his fellow Officers, and to the citizens of our Community. The City of Duluth and the Duluth Police Union are bound by contract to comply with the binding decision of the arbitrator. It is the Union’s hope and expectation that the City will
comply with this obligation and return Officer Huot to duty. 

Tom Maida
President
Duluth Police Union

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