MPD officers accused of racial slurs also named in excessive force suits


Two Minneapolis police officers who were placed on leave last week stemming from an incident in a Green Bay bar have also each been named in recent excessive force lawsuits.

The Star Tribune reports Officer Brian Thole was among several sued in October for injuring two men during a raid in north Minneapolis. The suit said the officers kicked and punched one man in handcuffs and injured the other, who was sleeping on a couch, reports the paper.

Officer Shawn Powell and five other officers were sued in February 2012 for the death of Ahmed Guled, who was shot during a traffic stop in north Minneapolis in 2009, reports the Strib's David Chanen, who also reported the names of the officers over the weekend.

KSTP-TV has posted a federal suit naming Thole, as well as the city of Minneapolis response.

On Friday, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau issued a brief statement saying that two Minneapolis Police Department officers had been put on leave while an investigation. As BMTN reported, despite state laws to the contrary, Harteau did not release the names or discuss the nature of the matter.

Thole and Powell – who are both white – were off-duty at a bar in Green Bay on June 29 where they argued with two black men and were accused of using racial slurs.

When Green Bay police arrived and later questioned the officers, as WCCO-TV and other outlets reported, they continued to use racial slurs, and made remarks about Harteau, who is gay, and other sexually derogatory remarks, according to the Green Bay police. The on-duty officers thought enough of the incident to report it back to the MPD.

Powell is a former Green Bay police officer, according to WCCO.

KARE 11 says both men are Iraq War veterans, and has even done a number of stories that featured Thole, including one of him returning home from Kuwait to surprise his mother.

The station reports Powell was also among officers commended for the shooting death of an erratic driver on Golden Valley Road in 2009.

Next Up