Former Gopher hoops star sues officer, claims excessive force


A former Gopher basketball star is claiming excessive force in a lawsuit against a Robbinsdale police officer, the Star Tribune reports.

In the suit filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court, Melvin Newbern claims Officer Brian Sloat knocked him to the ground while he was in handcuffs following a February 2013 arrest in Robbinsdale. Newbern claims he was kneed in the back of the leg during the arrest and fell down and hit his head, and was later diagnosed with a concussion.

Newbern, 46, of Robbinsdale, is seeking more than $300,000 in damages in the case.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court, Newbern was driving away from a doctor's appointment when he was stopped by Sloat for allegedly swerving and possible intoxication. The suit claims Sloat kneed a handcuffed Newbern in the back of the leg after the 6-foot-5, 330-pound former Gopher refused to get into the squad car.

The Star Tribune says a squad car video recorded Newbern saying “I’ll get on the ground” and “I’ll do whatever you want me to do,” a minute before the force is claimed to have occurred.

Newbern entered an Alford plea to a petty misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge following the arrest, which allows a defendant to maintain their innocence. The paper reached out to Newbern and the chief of the Robbinsdale Police Department about the lawsuit, but neither had any comment.

Newern, who played on the Gophers team that got within one game of the Final Four in 1990, was signed as a free agent by the New Jersey Nets in October 1992 and waived a month later, the blog Basketball Reference says. Newbern went on to play part of the season with the Detroit Pistons in 1993.

Next Up

Kaprizov, Wild

Wild to face Vegas in playoffs; Game 1 Sunday

Game 1 is Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas.

Eric Kendricks

Coller: Do the Vikings have a tough schedule?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 7.54.07 AM

Grand jury indicts 2 with aiding and abetting murder of Minneapolis Realtor

Four people have now been indicted by a grand jury in connection to the 2019 killing of Monique Baugh.

Nelson Cruz

White Sox sweep Twins for first time since 2016

The Twins' offense disappeared in a 4-2 loss on Thursday.

Mike Hughes

Report: Vikings trade Mike Hughes to Kansas City

The Vikings received a 2022 sixth-rounder in exchange for the former first-round pick.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Backup from fatal crash in Stearns County leads to another bad crash

The crash backed up traffic, which led to another crash in which two people were injured.

Gluten free pizza

For The Week: Monster cookies, and a search for the best gluten-free pizza in MN

BMTN food writer Lindsay Guentzel's weekly column aims to make life in the kitchen easier.

Flickr - SIMULIIDAE black fly gnat - D. Sikes

South Twin Cities metro besieged by aggressive gnats

Metropolitan Mosquito Control District has received more than 100 calls in recent days.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater criticizes Panthers' practice habits

The former Vikings quarterback was not a fan of his time in Carolina.


Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 10.38.01 PM

ACLU lawsuit alleges excessive force by Worthington police officer

The ACLU says the victim required five days of intensive care.