Minneapolis Police Department Fires Second Officer For Misconduct

| by Diana Kruzman
Blayne Lehner Blayne Lehner

The Minneapolis Police Department has fired its second officer in one week because of actions on the job, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Blayne Lehner, an 18-year veteran of the police force, was fired for “unspecified misconduct,” according to a statement released by the department on Jan. 27. The department could not comment on the details of the case due to data privacy laws.

Lehner has been involved in two federal lawsuits alleging police brutality and misconduct since 2012, according to Fox 9. The most recent was filed in August 2015 in response to an incident that occurred during a traffic stop, in which Lehner was accused of kicking 18-year old Luis Garcia, who was handcuffed to the back of his squad car, in the face.

"Lehner's vicious kick broke plaintiff's jaw; an open fracture causing the bone to protrude through his gums and knocked out his two front teeth," read the text of the lawsuit.

He was also named in a 2012 lawsuit, which accused him of entering a home without a warrant in September 2011 and knocking a 19-year-old man unconscious from kicks to the head and torso. Although the city did not admit guilt, the Minneapolis City Council approved an $85,000 settlement in the case.

Lehner has been investigated by Internal Affairs 28 different times since 2005, according to CBS. He was suspended twice and received letters of reprimand on two other occasions; however, 20 of the cases were closed with no disciplinary actions taken, and four remain open.

Lehner is the second officer in one week to be fired from the police force for earlier misconduct. On Jan. 25, the police department dismissed Rod Webber following a 9-month investigation after a video of him threatening to break the leg of a Somali teenager, 17-year-old Hamza Jeylani, surfaced .

The Minneapolis Police Union, which is weighing an appeal of Webber’s dismissal, has filed a grievance in the termination of Lehner, according to CBS.

“Blayne Lehner is an exceptional officer and federation board member,” the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement. Lehrer joined the force in 1998 and received a department award of merit in 2013.

Sources: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Fox 9 (2), CBS / Photo Credit: Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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