A Duluth, Minnesota police officer caught on surveillance camera beating a man in a wheelchair has been found not guilty on all charges.
After the jury deliberated for three hours, Officer Richard Jouppi was not convicted of fifth degree assault and disorderly conduct.
The incident happened in September 2012 when Officer Jouppi wheeled 50-year-old Anthony Jackson into a detox clinic. A staff member in the room told wheelchair-bound Jackson to hand her his jacket, and Jackson sarcastically asked, “Do you want me to throw it at you?”
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“Do it and see what happens,” joked the staff member before instructing the man to place it on the chair.
Just as the man was trying to take off his jacket, Officer Jouppi randomly grabbed the man’s arm and twisted it back behind him. When Jackson told the officer to stop and lightly swatted at him, Jouppi proceeded to punch the man in the face five times before he fell out of his wheelchair onto the ground. Even as Jackson lay limp on the ground, Jouppi decided to knee him in the gut.
Following the incident, Officer Jouppi defended his actions in the police report.
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“I controlled his right arm at the elbow in order to prevent Jackson from following through with his threat to strike a staff member,” Jouppi wrote in the report.
Now, after a trial to determine if Jouppi’s actions were justified, a jury determined that the officer did what he had to do. Still, despite the ruling, Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay took to Facebook to publicly condemn the officer’s actions.
"While I respect the judicial process I am very disappointed by the verdict in the Richard Jouppi case,” said Chief Ramsay in the post. “His actions on September 21, 2012 were not consistent with department training or policy, bringing discredit to our department and detracting from the excellent work our women and men do on a daily basis. As I said previously, we will do everything we can legally to ensure he never works for our department again."
Anthony Jackson did not testify during the trial because, according to reports, he could not be located.