Metro Transit officer accused of excessive force against teen loses his job


A Metro Transit police officer accused of using excessive force against a teenager with disabilities no longer has the job.

The agency said Richard Wegner "failed probation" and is no longer an employee, MPR News reports. He became a full-time Metro Transit officer back in March and was in the probationary period of his employment, Howie Padilla, a Metro Transit spokesperson told the Pioneer Press.

Padilla could not comment on the reason, the paper says, so it's not known if it was related to the incident.

Wegner and another Metro Transit officer had been accused of forcefully arresting 17-year-old Marcus Abrams in August, causing him to have two seizures and making him lose consciousness, a GoFundMe Page set up for him says.

The officers' report of the incident said Abrams resisted arrest and tried to punch and kick them, reports noted, prompting them to use force.

The Pioneer Press says the officers were not disciplined for it, noting Metro Transit officials have closed their internal investigation.

The arrest sparked a handful of rallies by local Black Lives Matter protesters, and also prompted the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP to call for the officers involved to be dismissed.

Despite not knowing the reason why the officer lost his job, advocates are considering this a win.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, the president of the Minneapolis NAACP, posted about the news on Facebook, saying, "This is what we can accomplish when we are willing to stand up and fight for what's right."

She commended Black Lives Matter St. Paul for organizing the protest to shutdown the light rail, adding:

"It was our privilege as the Minneapolis NAACP to stand with all who demonstrated and called for the officer to be fired for his abusive conduct. Now, Marcus should be compensated for what he endured."

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