U students accuse police of beating, kicking in arrest

K.C. Howard

Two University students said they filed a formal complaint against Minneapolis police Monday, alleging that officers used excessive force while arresting them at a weekend party in the Como neighborhood.

Adam Baso, 21, said he and his roommate Ryan Hill, 20, filed the complaint with the Civilian Review Authority. The complaint alleges police hit them with blunt objects and kicked them unnecessarily, they said.

Minneapolis police spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington said the students had obstructed justice and resisted arrest. Hill, a minor, also had consumed alcohol during the night, she said.

Police were called to the 1700 block of Rollins Avenue for a disruptive party at about 12 a.m. Sunday.

The neighborhood has been the site of a long-term struggle between students and residents, pitting the right to party against the right to peace and quiet.

“A lot of them were liquored up and drinking underage and you can’t do that,” Barrington said.

According to the police report, officers had identified Hill at a party as a minor consuming alcohol when he took off running. Police chased him on foot.

Five stitches hold together a gash in Hill’s forehead. Seven staples help mend a 2-inch laceration in the back of his head. Hill said these injuries were police-inflicted and sustained after police caught up with him. Hill said he believed he received the wound on his forehead when police smashed his head against the road.

Barrington said Hill fled police, lost his balance and ran head on into a parked car. He then got back up and started running as officers finally caught up to him, she said.

“As he was tackled, he hit his head on the pavement,” Barrington said.

Both students received medical attention after the incident. An ambulance arrived at the scene of the party and took Hill to Fairview-University Medical Center, where he received medical attention.

The arresting officers were not allowed to comment because the investigation is on-going, but Barrington said when a person resists arrest it’s never “a pretty sight.”

Hill said he ran because he’s a pre-med student, and was concerned a citation would hurt his chances of getting into medical school.

Baso, a Carlson School of Management student, said he watched police handcuff his friend and approached officers with his hands in the air to ask how and where he could pick Hill up.

“The police officer said, ‘take a step back,’ ” Baso said. “So I asked, ‘May I ask you a question sir?’ and he said, ‘That’s enough. You’re going to jail.'”

Witnesses said three officers then put Baso’s arms behind his back, forced him to the ground and began kicking him.

“They began kicking him in the ribs and the head,” said University senior Justin Schweiger, a friend of Baso’s who witnessed the arrests.

Handcuffed and on the ground, Baso said officers sprayed his eyes with a chemical irritant.

He said they then picked him up off the ground, bent him over the back of the police squad car and bashed his head against the trunk.

“I wasn’t resisting. All I said was ‘this hurts, this hurts,’ ” Baso said.

Joey Bertalan, a University student who witnessed the incident from a nearby apartment, said he saw police hitting and dragging him toward the car.

Hill said he was not drunk, but had consumed three alcoholic beverages in the course of two hours.

Baso said he had a scotch sometime between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday.

Schweiger said he saw Hill trip and fall shortly before officers tackled him, and the injury on his friend’s forehead could have been from the fall.

“He just laid there as three or four officers came. And in my mind I thought they were just going to hold him down,” Schweiger said. “I did see them kicking him. I did see them with their night sticks in hand.”

Hill said he ran several hundred yards east on Rollins Avenue into a plain-clothed officer, stopped, placed his hands in the air and said “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Hill said four officers then tackled him to the ground and beat him on the head with blunt objects.

“I know there was one with a flash light,” he said. “I know I blacked out for a while.”

Hill was cited with resisting arrest without the use of force and for underage consumption.

Minneapolis police took Baso to Hennepin County jail. Officers cited Baso with obstruction of justice.

K.C. Howard welcomes comments at [email protected]