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Former St. Paul cop charged with beating boy at group home

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A former St. Paul police officer who worked at a group home is accused of beating one of the boys in his care.

According to a criminal complaint, 54-year-old Clemmie Howard Tucker attacked a 14-year-old identified only as "JEL" after the boy punched a fellow resident during an argument over video games. The charges say Tucker taunted the boy by saying "I wish you would hit me like that," and proceeded to push and punch him.

A witness to the attack told investigators the two ended up on the floor, where JEL was punched multiple times, even as he tried to hide under a table.

According to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, much of what happened is visible on surveillance video, which they say shows the boy getting hit with a "closed fist." He ended up with visible bruises and swelling on his face.

After the incident, the victim told police Tucker attacked him for "no reason" and that he was hit in the face and head "too many times to count."

The criminal complaint says Tucker retired from the St. Paul police force and had been a boxer with "Golden Gloves," an amateur boxing organization. He was a counselor at the group home and was fired after the incident.

According to the Pioneer Press, Tucker was hired by the home, identified as Vintage Place, a few years ago after passing a criminal background check despite having been convicted of a federal meth crime back in 2006.

The paper says the Minnesota Department of Human Services is now investigating Vintage Place, which has had "licensing violations" in the past.

WCCO says Tucker served on the St. Paul Police Department's canine unit in the 1980s.

He's charged with malicious punishment of a child, a gross misdemeanor, and could face up to a year in prison, fines, or both if convicted.

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