MINNEAPOLIS (KSMP) - Following a 9-month investigation, a Minneapolis police officer swearing and threatening on camera to break a teen's legs during a traffic stop has been fired. Now, the police union is planning to fight it.
The police department has not confirmed Officer Rod Webber’s termination, but a source close to the investigation said it was related to fallout from the video where he’s heard saying, “plain and simple, if you f*** with me, I'm going to break your leg before you get the chance to run. I'm being honest with you I don't screw around.”
In the video, the teen asks, “Can you tell me why I am being arrested?” -- Webber responds, “Because I feel like it.”
The incident happened in south Minneapolis last March when 17-year-old Hamza Jeylani hit record on his cell phone before being handcuffed. Jeylani, along with three young men, were suspected of grand theft auto but were eventually let go that day. The clip went viral and led to Weber's paid administrative leave and 9-month internal investigation.
Ward 5 councilman Blong Yang chairs the city's public safety committee and said the termination happened over of a code of conduct violation but would not elaborate -- “We can't really talk about much of the details, it's still an open case,” he said.
Minneapolis Police Union president Bob Kroll released a brief statement that said," the board is reviewing the case but I am confident that we will appeal the termination as it's unwarranted."
Charles Samuelson, with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said he wants to know what motivated the officer to respond this way, and hopes the firing leads to change.
“It is refreshing to see that there are consequences for actions like this. But perhaps it will be a useful lesson for not only other peace officers, but a community as a whole,” Samuelson said.
Minneapolis Police Department has yet to release documents and possibly more videos of the incident. The union said Weber spent nearly 25 years with Minneapolis Police. Weber was unable to be reached for comment Monday.
Statement from Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau:
"I cannot comment on pending matters due to data privacy laws, but speaking in general, the MPD is a professional, values-driven department committed to providing excellent service to our community. Public trust is a vital component to our ability to fully protect and serve the residents of Minneapolis. Officers will be held accountable if their actions are not consistent with our core values or the state's Law Enforcement Code of Ethics."