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Federal jury finds no excessive force by Minneapolis cop

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A Minneapolis police officer has been cleared of charges that he assaulted bar patrons and lied about it in the reports he filed.

Officer Michael Griffin was indicted by a federal grand jury last year and faced nine criminal counts. They included violating the Constitutional protection against unreasonable use of force by a law enforcement officer, as well as falsifying records and perjury.

As KARE 11 reports, jurors found Griffin not guilty of six counts and were unable to agree on the remaining three.

The incidents that led to the charges occurred while Griffin was off-duty at Minneapolis nightclubs in 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors argued in each case Griffin followed men out of the bars, identified himself as a police officer, and assaulted them.

MPR News reports that while prosecutors described Griffin as a "bully with a badge," his defense attorney argued that the men who fought with Griffin were the real bullies.

Griffin's history within the Minneapolis Police Department includes a Medal of Valor in 2012; he was also named in a pair of police brutality lawsuits that reportedly cost the city more than $400,000 combined.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a statement that his office had hoped for a different outcome but respected the jury's verdict, adding: "We strongly believe that this case needed to be brought before a Court, publicly tried, and decided by a jury."

Luger says his office is considering its options in regard to the three counts on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau responded to the verdict in Griffin's case by noting that an internal investigation is still underway and calling it unfortunate that the case distracted from the service officers provide daily.

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