Court of Appeals Rules Duluth Officer Fired for Misuse of Force Be Reinstated
Officer Adam Huot closer to returning to force after being fired back in May 2017.
DULUTH, Minn.- The Duluth Police Officer who was fired after dragging a handcuffed man through the skywalk system and hitting his head on a doorway back in May of 2017 could be reinstated.
On Tuesday the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed an earlier ruling that an arbitrator’s decision to reinstate Officer Adam Huot does not violate public policy.
The fate of Officer Huot’s job has been hung up in the court system since he was first fired in 2017.
His termination was the result of an incident where Huot was caught on video dragging a combative man by the handcuffs through a Duluth sidewalk, where the man’s head hit a doorway.
“We don’t condone his behavior, it’s not reflective of the Duluth Police Department, the way we work, it’s not reflective of Adam and it’s certainly not something we condone, however it does not warrant his termination.”
Sergeant Ryan Morris, President of the Duluth Police Union Local 807 said that after remaining on unpaid leave for 13 months, Huot has served his punishment and believes it is high time he returns to the force.
“I can’t speak for him but I think he’s obviously taking stock in what happened and is going to come back a better person,” he said.
Huot was first ordered to be reinstated in June 2018.
The City of Duluth then moved to vacate that order, which the district court denied. The City then appealed, saying that decision violated public policy.
Now the Court of Appeals has affirmed it does not, ruling Huot should not be terminated.
But the City of Duluth can still take the case to the Supreme Court.
“I would hope that they could have respect for the Court system to realize that when the job is reinstated and it’s been ruled a number of times now to reinstate him, at some point they have to respect that process and work to get him back to being a productive member of the Duluth Police Department,” said Morris.
Sgt. Morris hopes Huot can come back without feeling like he’s walking on eggshells.
“Hopefully come into a welcoming environment to allow him to succeed, as opposed to a hostile environment where he’s set up to fail.”
As of now the next step, Sgt. Morris said, is to get Huot back to work where he could be compensated for as far back as June 2018.
FOX 21 reached out to Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson who did not respond. However, he did tell the Associated Press that the city is reviewing the decision and will decide whether to take the case to the Supreme Court.