Jury finds St. Paul officer not guilty for punching girl

- A jury found a St. Paul officer not guilty for punching a 14-year-old suicidal girl in the face while attempting to get her into his squad car.

According to the criminal complaint, on December 1, 2016 Officer Michael Soucheray and his partner responded to Brittany's Place, a youth shelter, where there was a report of a possibly suicidal teen refusing to go into an ambulance.

Newly released police squad video captured what happened next.

When the police arrived, they eventually got the girl into the police car. While Soucheray was trying to fasten her seatbelt, she spit in his face.

Soucheray then punched her twice in the face with a closed fist, grabbed her, and called her a profane name.

Prosecuting attorney statement:

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal prosecuted the case in order to avoid a conflict of interest. She released the following statement:

“I am proud of our prosecutor and the work of my office on this case. These are difficult cases and, while we had sought a different outcome, we respect the jury’s verdict.”

Dave Titus, President of Saint Paul Police Federation, statement:

“The St. Paul Police Federation applauds the court for finding Officer Mike Soucheray not guilty of assault. Officer Soucheray actions should never have been forwarded by the department for charges. In fact, in the process of trying to assist this troubled young lady he became a victim of a felony assault.

"This is an example of how video that often looks horrific must be reviewed in the context of the overall incident not just a single camera angle. The very swift and short deliberation by the jury is evidence of that.

"Officer Mike Soucheray is an outstanding officer. We are happy that Officer Soucheray will continue to proactively serve the citizens of St. Paul, and help keep our streets safe.”

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell statement:

"Today the Saint Paul Police Department is releasing squad car video that shows an officer taking action that resulted in criminal charges.

"As the city’s police chief, I am deeply disappointed by what the video shows. The officer’s actions do not in any way, shape or form reflect or align with our values, expectations or mission.

"When this issue was first brought to my attention, I took immediate action and asked another agency to review the matter. It was not a decision I took lightly, and it was the right thing to do—in the interest of transparency, trust and holding ourselves to the highest standards.

"Now that the jury has made its decision, I will once again respond as swiftly as the law allows to ensure that our internal process addresses this matter properly.

"While state law prevents the department from discussing the details of the internal process at this time, I assure the people we serve that we will provide more information about this incident and any action the department takes once we are legally allowed to do so."

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal prosecuted the case in order to avoid a conflict of interest. She released the following statement:

“I am proud of our prosecutor and the work of my office on this case. These are difficult cases and, while we had sought a different outcome, we respect the jury’s verdict.”

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