Jury Convicts Minneapolis Police Officer For On-Duty Assault

It took a Hennepin County jury less than two hours on Monday to find a former Minneapolis police officer guilty of third degree assault for kicking a man in the face while on duty.

Christopher Michael Reiter delivered a blow to the head of Mohamed Osman in May 2016, knocking him unconscious and inflicting brain bleeding and a traumatic brain injury, testimony at the trial showed.

Reiter, 36, will now likely lose his peace officer’s license as state law requires an automatic revocation for any felony conviction. He will be sentenced on Dec. 12. It’s unusual for a police officer to be prosecuted for on-duty misconduct, and even rarer for that officer to be convicted, a recent Star Tribune series showed.

Neither Reiter or his attorney, Robert Fowler, would comment after the trial.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Daniel Allard told the jury there was a conspiracy to protect Reiter that involved the defendent, another MPD officer and a victim of domestic assault. Each of them would have had to lie on the stand to say that Reiter believed Osman had a knife.

“It’s a coverup. Sad as it is,” Allard said. “But there’s no other conclusion here.”

On May 30, 2016, Reiter responded to a domestic abuse call at a south Minneapolis apartment building and found a woman badly beaten. When other officers arrived they found the man who beat her, Osman, sitting in his SUV in front of the building. Officers surrounded him and ordered him out of the car.

Surveillance video shows that as Osman was complying and getting on the ground, one officer, Josh Domek, kicked Osman twice. Reiter, who had just run from the building, then kicked Osman in the face. The MPD fired Reiter.
After the incident, both Domek and Reiter wrote in their reports that they kicked Osman because they believed he was resisting. Neither wrote anything about a knife.

During testimony at the trial that began last week at the Hennepin County courthouse, a security guard and several officers there that night said Reiter never told them about a knife. The officer who investigated the case against Reiter, Sgt. Paul Paulos of the St. Paul Police Department, said there were no reports from any officer there that night mentioning a weapon.

But at the trial, one Minneapolis officer, Officer Luke Eckert, testified he pulled a knife off Osman that night, but that he neglected to mention it in a report and then later did not tell the MPD’s internal affairs department during its investigation. MPD Sgt. John Sullivan, who investigated the internal affairs case against Reiter, said no one mentioned a knife to him, either.

The woman severely beaten that night testified that she told several people about Osman having a knife, including Reiter.

But Allard called several of those same people to the stand, each of whom to the stand who said she never mentioned a knife.

“A reason for why [the woman] would lie?” Allard said during his closing argument. “She doesn’t want to help out Mr. Osman. Who would? I’m not blaming her or anything, but she told an untruth.”

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