Meet St. Paul, Minnesota, Police Officer Brett Palkowitsch. He used his police dog to maul Mr. Frank Amal Baker while Palkowitsch himself kicked and beat Mr. Baker mercilessly during Baker’s arrest for an armed robbery.
The problem was, Mr. Baker was the wrong man. That is to say, Mr. Baker wasn’t the suspect anyway.
As if that matters at all.
It’s just bitter irony on top of police brutality.
Anyway, a jury convicted Palkowitsch of violating Mr. Baker’s civil rights.
And now, St. Paul Officer Brett Palkowitsch has been sentenced to six years in federal prison.
St. Paul Police Officer Brett Palkowitsch: just another of Minnesota’s Finest.
Hell. Make that, “America’s Finest.”
Ex-officer who beat Black man while dog mauled him gets six years in prison
St. Paul police officers respond to a report of a man with a gun on June 24, 2016, and detain Frank Baker outside his apartment in St. Paul, (St. Paul Police Department)
May 22, 2021 at 5:48 p.m. PDT
A federal court judge on Friday sentenced a former St. Paul, Minn., police officer to six years in prison after a jury found him guilty of a civil rights violation for beating an unarmed Black man who was mistaken for a suspect nearly five years ago.
A federal jury in 2019 convicted former St. Paul officer Brett Palkowitsch of using excessive force against an unarmed civilian after he brutally kicked and severely injured Frank Amal Baker and let a police dog maul him.
In June 2016, Palkowitsch and other police officers responded to a call about a large street fight in St. Paul, where dispatchers said an “unidentified black male with dreadlocks and a white t-shirt” was seen carrying a gun.
After arriving at the scene, Palkowitsch and another officer found no evidence of a street fight but noticed a man who they said matched the suspect’s description, sitting in his car talking on a cellphone. One of the officers told Baker to get out of the car, as the police dog barked loudly at him, according to a criminal complaint.
Seconds later, the officer released the dog, which knocked Baker to the ground and started mauling his leg. While Baker was on the ground screaming in pain, Palkowitsch kicked Baker in the torso continuously, breaking seven ribs and causing his lungs to collapse, according to a Department of Justice statement.
According to court records, Palkowitsch testified he “firmly believed” the person on the ground matching the description was in fact the person who was seen with a weapon and that he had “acted under the assumption” that the person being bitten by the dog had a weapon on him.
The police found no gun at the scene and no evidence that Baker, a 52-year-old grandfather who lived in the neighborhood, had been involved in any fight, the statement said.
In a court hearing Friday, the former officer waived the right to appeal his conviction and offered a tearful apology for his actions to Baker and to other members of the St. Paul Police Department, several of whom testified against Palkowitsch during the 2019 trial.
“I hope that today gives you a little bit of closure, but I know for the rest of your life it’s something you’re going to have to deal with. For the rest of my life, it’s something that I’m going to have to live with as well. But from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry,” Palkowitsch said, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.
Information about Palkowitsch’s attorney’s was not available Saturday.
District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said at the hearing Friday that Palkowitsch had “flagrantly abused” his authority, the statement added.
“Law enforcement officers take an oath to serve and protect the public,” an FBI agent from the Minneapolis Field Office said in the statement. “When an officer betrays that oath and violates a person’s civil rights, that officer must be held accountable. Our community, and our profession, deserve no less.”
According to authorities, two veteran officers who were at the scene and witnessed Palkowitsch’s actions reported him to their supervisor and later testified against him at trial.
Baker, a concert promoter, told Minnesota Public Radio that he accepted the former officer’s apology but said he didn’t feel it was sincere. He added that since the incident, he has struggled with long-lasting health problems, including difficulty breathing.
“He made my life a living hell,” Baker said.
Paulina Villegas is a General Assignment reporter covering breaking news and national enterprise stories for The Washington Post. Previously, she worked at the New York Times’ Mexico bureau, where her work focused on drug crime, government corruption and human rights issues.
From The Tumalo Lookout:
By the way, you could probably guess this; but…
Take a look at what Palkowitsch’s union attorney said about Palkowitsch’s conviction:
“This resulted in something that never needed to happen. These officers followed procedures, they did their job and now they’re being attacked because someone else decided that the rules don’t matter,”St. Paul Police Federation attorney Chris Wachtler, quoted in “St. Paul Police Release Video Of Man Bitten By K-9, Kicked By Officer,” MPR, November 4, 2016.
Same ol, same ol, same old shit.
They must teach that song in Police Academy.
Because they sure don’t teach compassion.