Today, the Minnesota Attorney General announced charges against Justin Stetson, a former MPD officer who kicked Jaleel Stallings in the face while Stallings was laying on the ground.
Elizer Darris and Mirella Ceja-Orozco, co-executive directors of Minnesota Freedom Fund, released the following statement:
“Minnesota Freedom Fund is pleased that Justin Stetson, an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department who reportedly kicked Jaleel Stallings in the face while he was on the ground, will be charged for his violent, unacceptable, and unconstitutional behavior.
We recognize that prosecution and punishment alone will not deliver the systemic transformation we seek. In the absence of other paths by which to deliver justice, however, it is critical that officers are held accountable and held to the same standard as the people who they police.
When Mr. Stallings was violently arrested in 2020, reporters falsely characterized him as a “violent criminal” exemplary of the supposed “lawlessness” of protesters. When Minnesota Freedom Fund paid Mr. Stallings’ bail following his arrest, we likewise faced intense public criticism for doing so.
Those who leveled these false accusations and criticisms have now been discredited.
More than two years later, Mr. Stallings has been acquitted by a jury and has received a settlement from the city of Minneapolis for the brutality he experienced. Now the officer who perpetrated the violence against Mr. Stallings has been charged.
We remain proud that, with the support of our community, we were able to help Mr. Stallings gain his release from jail while he fought the case against him. Minnesota Freedom Fund exists so that more of our neighbors can access this critical constitutional liberty.
We hope that community members and reporters who maligned Mr. Stallings prior to his acquittal and today’s charges — including in some national stories that remain uncorrected — will correct their errors and improve their coverage in future cases.”