Charges: Minneapolis officer kicked man in the face, breaking his nose and causing brain injury

The officer is no longer with the department.
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A former Minneapolis police officer is facing charges that he assaulted a man who was suspected in a domestic assault.

Christopher Michael Reiter, 36, is charged with felony third-degree assault, accused of kicking a man in the face causing the victim to break his nose and suffer a traumatic brain injury in an incident on May 30, 2016.

"In this case, a kick to the face is use of deadly force and is simply not justified ... that's why we've charged Mr. Reiter," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said at a news conference Wednesday.

Freeman noted that his office is considering upping the third-degree assault to first-degree assault based on the injuries the victim sustained. The victim still has signs of traumatic brain injury and hasn't been able to return to work, Freeman said.

The Minneapolis Police Department told GoMN Wednesday that Reiter is no longer an officer with the department, noting his last day was Jan. 11, 2017.

The incident

According to the criminal complaint,

Osman Mohamed, the suspect in the domestic assault case, complied with officers' orders and was on his hands and knees on the ground when Reiter "kicked him in the face." The suspect-turned victim collapsed to the ground "unconscious and bleeding."

Mohamed was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a displaced nasal bone, nasal septal fractures, and a mild traumatic brain injury.

The St. Paul Police Department investigated Reiter's use of force in this incident, including interviewing the three other officers at the scene. They all said the situation didn't call for the use of force.

Surveillance video from nearby also captured the incident.

There is a warrant out for Reiter, with Freeman saying at the news conference he expects him to show up for his court appearance on Thursday. If convicted on the assault charge, Reiter could face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of $3,000-$10,000.

Mohamed was charged with third-degree assault and domestic assault by strangulation connection to the domestic assault incident. You can read the charges against him here.

Statement from Chief Harteau

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau released a statement about the charges Wednesday, saying she's "dealt with this matter internally" and they're "committed to creating a culture of accountability" within the department.

"These actions are not consistent with our core values and we take that very seriously. Unfortunately, this incident takes away from the great strides we make daily to build public trust. It also takes attention away from the professional service our officers routinely provide while responding to more than 450,000 calls for service annually," she added.

Bob Kroll, the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, also released a statement Wednesday:

This isn't the first time Reiter has been accused of using too much force while on the job. Community activist Al Flowers accused Reiter and another officer of using excessive force when they arrested him back in 2014. The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing in that case, MPR News said, and a lawsuit against the officers and the city was settled for $25,000, city documents show.

Freeman said Wednesday that his office had considered charges against Reiter in the past, but charges were not brought. He also noted that these past incidents weren't really considered when the attorney's office was weighing charges against Reiter in connection to the May 2016 incident.

The charges against Reiter mark the second time this year the Hennepin County Attorney's Office has brought assault charges against a Minneapolis police officer. Efrem Hamilton was charged in January for shooting at a car full of people in December 2016.

Prior to this year, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office had charged five Minneapolis police officers for a various crimes over the past five years, Freeman said Wednesday.

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