Jaleel Stallings objects to ex-cop's plea deal

Jaleel Stallings is objecting to a plea deal that would have kept former Minneapolis Police Officer Justin Stetson, who physically assaulted him, from going to prison.

Stetson assaulted Stallings on May 30, 2020, during the civil unrest following the police murder of George Floyd, after Stallings mistakenly fired upon an unmarked police van carrying a SWAT unit.

"I object because the proposed agreement fails to hold Stetson accountable for the significant harm to me, his profession, and the community he swore to protect," Stallings wrote in an objection filed Monday afternoon and first reported by the Minnesota Reformer.

The 15-page brief meticulously lays out why Stetson should not be allowed to avoid jail time and it harrowingly describes the odds that were stacked against Stallings, who was facing a decade in prison before he was acquitted.  

"Video evidence shows officers racially profiled, committed acts of malicious violence, lied in reports and in court proceedings and used the legal system as a weapon against me," Stallings wrote.

"As the innocent victim in this case, I will have served more jail time as a result of this incident than all of those officers combined," Stallings writes.

The agreement, which is set to be discussed at a hearing on Wednesday, would have kept Stetson from going to prison. Stetson, whose late father was also a Minneapolis Police officer, had also agreed never to become a police officer again.

Stetson plea agreement

FOX 9 has learned the plea agreement was filed last Tuesday after an agreement with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

Stetson agreed to file documents with the Minnesota Police Officer Standards and Training Board (POST) to "ensure lifetime compliance."

Stetson, 34, was expected to plead guilty to the charges of third-degree assault and misconduct of a public officer. His sentence would be stayed for two years, pending no similar offenses. He must also take anger management classes.

The plea deal, which requires judicial approval, would have brought a quiet end an episode that was initially portrayed by police and prosecutors very differently.

Stallings acquitted, reaches $1.5 million settlement

Stallings was charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault for firing at an unmarked police van patrolling south Minneapolis during the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

Stallings argued self-defense and was acquitted of charges in September 2021. 

Stallings reached a $1.5 million settlement with the City of Minneapolis after he filed a lawsuit against the 19 officers on the SWAT team claiming they used excessive force and filed false police reports.

Stetson charges

The episode lasted little more than 30 seconds, but it played out very differently than what was reported by Minneapolis Police, who just days earlier had said falsely that George Floyd died during a medical episode.

According to the criminal charges against Stetson, at 10:53 p.m. on May 30 he was with a SWAT team driving down East Lake Street at 14th Avenue in a white, unmarked van. The city was under a nighttime curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The passenger door of the van was open as Stetson fired a 40mm ‘less-lethal’ round at four men who had gathered in a parking lot to protect local businesses from looting.

The 40mm round struck Stallings in the chest, but he was unaware the incoming fire was coming from police. Stallings responded by firing three rounds in the direction of the unmarked van.

Body camera footage shows police responding quickly to the incoming fire, yelling "shots fired," exiting the van, and converging quickly on the men in the parking lot.

Stallings, realizing the unmarked van contained police officers, "put his gun down and laid prone on the ground" with "his arms outstretched above his head and palms facedown," according to the charges.

As officer Stetson approached, he yelled, "Get on the ground, dude."

Before Stetson even reaches Stallings, he says, "He’s down," and "He’s on the ground."

But when Stetson reaches Stallings, who is prone and not resisting, Stetson kicks him in the face and head.

Stetson strikes Stallings repeatedly as he yells, "F---ing piece of s—t."

According to the charges, in a flurry Stetson kicked him in the head four times, punched him in the head six times, and delivered five knee strikes to his head.

Stetson also slammed Stallings head into the pavement, before giving his first command, "Get your hands behind your back."

As Sgt. Andrew Bittell holds Stallings hands behind his back, Stetson continues to strike him.

"That’s it, stop!" Bittell yells at Stetson, as he grabs Stetson’s right wrist, and says, "It’s okay."

Minutes later Sgt. Bittell will falsely claim that Stallings was resisting arrest when asked about his injuries.

Several officers looked at Stallings injuries, with blood pouring from his face, and mistakenly thought he had been shot.

"He was resisting when we approached. That’s the way it happens. It happens," Sgt. Bittell said falsely.

In 2016, officer Stetson received a letter of reprimand for failing to report the use of force in a 2014 arrest. Seven other complaints against him were not sustained.

Stetson departs MPD, collecting disability claim

Three complaints remained open when Stetson left the Minneapolis Police Department in 2022 on a disability claim.

"Despite his apparent and significant misconduct, Stetson continues to receive financial benefits due to his status as an officer. Other officers involved in the incident have also left the MPD without disciplinary findings and now receive disability pensions," Stallings writes.