St. Paul cop accused of excessive force was also subject of 1996 settlement


A St. Paul police officer who as a Minneapolis officer in the 1990s was the subject of a $500,000 settlement paid by the city, is now again accused of excessive use of force, the Pioneer Press reported.

Minneapolis police fired Paul Cottingham in 1995 for two cases unrelated to the one that led to the sizable payout, the newspaper reported.

Now as a St. Paul sergeant, Cottingham is the subject of a federal lawsuit brought by a 32-year-old man who says his jaw was broken and a vertebrae was fractured in an encounter with Cottingham and another officer, Craig Rhode, in 2010 near the state Capitol, the Pioneer Press reports.

Ras Yirehmiel Tafari said he needed extensive medical care for injuries he sustained in the incident. He is seeking $1 million.

The St. Paul City Council plans to meet March 27 in a private session to discuss the case, the newspaper reports. A settlement conference with a U.S. magistrate judge is scheduled for April 4.

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