Video shows jailer kneeing, punching handcuffed black man

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2019

ST. PAUL  — Newly released video shows a Minnesota jail officer punching and kneeing a handcuffed black man, prompting the county board to vow Tuesday to do whatever is necessary to prevent it from happening again.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher on Monday released video of the 2016 incident, which happened before his term. In a statement, Fletcher called the video “extremely disturbing,” and said he is making changes.

“The conduct captured on the video will not be tolerated under my watch,” the sheriff said.

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Travis VanDeWiele pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct last month and has resigned. VanDeWiele had been a Ramsey County sheriff’s correctional officer since 2014. He has been on paid administrative leave for the last two years.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said the video shows “torture.”

“We can’t separate the individual actions from the law enforcement culture that allowed him to feel like it was OK to do that and that allowed several deputies to stand around and watch it take place,” Carter said.

County commissioners said Tuesday they’ll do whatever it takes to prevent a recurrence.

“We do take this seriously — very seriously — and need to do everything that we can to correct this to make sure something like this does not happen again,” Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt said.