Minneapolis officer who made 'hunting' protesters remark in video no longer with MPD

The Minneapolis police lieutenant and commander heard making inappropriate comments in body camera video about the protesters during last summer’s civil unrest have left the department, according to the mayor’s office.

Bodycam videos and excerpts, which identified the officers involved, were released Tuesday by Eric Rice, Jaleel Stalling’s lawyer. Stallings was cleared of charges in August after being arrested in May of 2020 for firing shots at Minneapolis police officers.

The videos captured Minneapolis police officers assigned to riot control on the fifth night of protests following the death of George Floyd. The officers are seen laughing, slashing tires, and firing non-lethal rounds at people out past curfew.

On one officer’s bodycam footage, Rice says Lt. Johnny Mercil approaches the officer, mocking journalists covering the protests and implying a group of protesters were likely "predominantly white" because "there’s not looting and fires."

In another officer’s bodycam video, Cmdr. Bruce Folkens said it was a "nice change of tempo" to be "hunting" protesters that night "instead of chasing people around."

On Saturday, the mayor’s office confirmed that Lt. Mercil and Cmdr. Folkens’ last day of employment were May 5 and July 31, respectively. 

Lt. Mercil testified about the use of neck restraints in the Derek Chauvin trial last March. He was responsible for use-of-force training for MPD at the time of George Floyd’s death.

The extended footage shows the nearly two hours leading up to the Minneapolis SWAT officers’ encounter with Stallings. His attorney said it shows how police were targeting civilians that night.

Jaleel Stallings trial

Jaleel Stallings was acquitted in August after being arrested in May of 2020 for firing shots at Minneapolis police officers. 

Bodycam video showed Stallings arrest, as officers in a van fired less-lethal ammunition towards a group gathered in a parking lot along Lake Street on the night of May 30, as a curfew was in place. 

At trial, Stallings said he was acting in self-defense, unaware that the people in the van were police officers and what they were shooting wasn't bullets. Stallings was also concerned about reports of white supremacists roaming the streets of the city during the riots. 

Once he realized the people he fired at were police officers, Stallings said he quickly dropped his gun and laid on the ground.

No officers were hurt during the incident, but Stallings suffering injuries as police used force to take him into custody, as captured by the body camera video.