Duluth officer fired for excessive force should be reinstated, Appeals Court rules

The officer was fired after he dragged a handcuffed man through a skywalk in 2017.
Author:
Publish date:

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that a Duluth police officer should be reinstated to the role from which he was fired for using excessive force in 2017.

In an opinion filed on Tuesday, the appeals court agreed with a decision by a district court ruling that Adam Huot should not have lost his job over the incident.

This in turn was based on the decision of a third-party arbitrator who concluded "that discipline was warranted, but that termination was not," awarding Huot reinstatement to his role, albeit without back pay or benefits.

The Duluth Police Union had challenged Huot's firing, and the arbitrator found that the use-of-force incident in question was "relatively minor" compared to another use-of-force incident Huot was involved in, in which he "repeatedly punched a man in the head in order to get the man to drop a shard of glass," even though other officers were restraining him.

For that incident, Huot was punished with a one-day suspension, with the arbitrator concluding that firing the officer for a second offense was too much of an escalation, albeit did say that a third excessive force incident should result in his termination.

The Appeals Court ruled there wasn't enough to justify overturning the recommendation made by the arbitrator, ruling in favor of Huot. Should they seek to take this further, the City of Duluth could request the case be heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

What happened?

The incident unfolded in a Duluth skywalk, where two men were reported for loitering. When responding officers told them to move along, one of them said he wanted to go to jail "right [expletive] now."

After they handcuffed him and started walking with him, the man fell to the ground, saying: "I ain't gonna make it easy for you guys."

Body camera footage later released then shows Huot, without warning, dragging the handcuffed man for 100 feet through a hallway, slamming the man's head against steel door frame. 

You can see the video right here.

The incident occurred May 20 and Huot was fired on June 5, 2017, with the Duluth Police Union filing a grievance 16 days later.

After the arbitrator ruled in favor of Duluth Mayor Emily Larson condemned the ruling, saying she will do everything legally possible to keep Huot from rejoining the force.

"This incident is an example of completely unacceptable behavior that as Mayor, I cannot and will not support," said Larson. "I, Chief Administrative Officer, David Montgomery, and Chief Tusken stand together in supporting the decision to terminate this officer as a consequence for his egregious actions.

Next Up

Image from iOS (96)

Early Saturday fire damages Burger King in Richfield

The fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. / Gopher Basketball

Maryland hands Gophers first home loss of season

The 17th-ranked Gophers fell to the Terrapins 63-49 on Saturday afternoon.

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Minnesota Department of Health files lawsuit against Alibi Drinkery

The Lakeville bar has been in the news for defying orders.

Iron Tap snowmobile delivery

This MN restaurant will deliver to your ice house... on a snowmobile

Just in case you work up an appetite fishing on Lake Waconia.

Klobuchar and Trump

Klobuchar reacts to report Trump plotted against his attorney general

The NYT story alleges further tactics to overturn the election.

snow, plow

Snowy Saturday: Here's how much snow is forecast in Minnesota

Snow will reach the metro area by the early afternoon.

Cam Talbot

Wild improve to 4-1 with victory over Dubnyk, Sharks

The 4-1 win gives the Wild four victories in five games to start the season.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Daughter of MN Supreme Court Justice, Allina Health CEO found dead in Iowa

The 21-year-old was found dead in the parking lot of a sorority, according to police.

Screen Shot 2020-09-04 at 8.42.40 PM

Federal charges: MN marijuana lobbyist threatened U.S. representative

"I want you to be as scared as possible," the voicemail allegedly says.

Related

Duluth officials fight ruling to reinstate officer fired for excessive force

The officer was fired last year after a fellow officer reported him for excessive force.

Court: Richfield Police right to fire officer for slapping teen

The officer's actions were caught on video and shared on social media.

Minnesota DOC had right to fire Stillwater Prison warden, court rules

Steven Hammer was dismissed in 2016, amid complaints dating back to 2014.

Officer who kicked man during arrest should get his job back, arbitrator rules

The city settled with the man who was kicked for $2 million.

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 10.38.01 PM

ACLU lawsuit alleges excessive force by Worthington police officer

The ACLU says the victim required five days of intensive care.

Suspect dies after killing K9, injuring officer in Duluth

A suspect opened fired on police, killing a K9 and injuring another officer.

Racist Christmas tree

Cop fired over offensive Xmas tree told arbitrator it was a 'joke' on colleague

The arbitrator found in favor of officer Mark Bohnsack, who is allowed to resume his job after a suspension.

Court of Appeals rules Lake Calhoun-Bde Maka Ska name change illegal

It says the DNR commissioner didn't have the power to change the name.