Former Minneapolis police officer Justin Stetson apologized in court to Jaleel Stallings. Stetson and other officers beat the shit out of Stallings during protests following George Floyd’s murder. Prior to the beating the cops were in an unmarked van shooting less than lethal weapons at random people, Stallings returned fire with one shot above the van.
Stetson’s apology is noteworthy, because cops don’t apologize. But the lack of direct accountability for the department, the city and the man, starkly disparate from Stallings’ jail time undermine the impact of the apology.
Stallings was not only brutalized by cops but charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and second-degree riot. He fired off one round well over the top of the unmarked van. For that act of self-defense, he was beaten, even though he dropped his gun and laid facedown on the ground as soon as he realized they were police officers. For his innocent mistake, he was brutalized and jailed until a prosecutor — having viewed the officers’ body cams — dropped the charges that could have netted Stalling more than decade in prison.