One officer, two lawsuits = $265,000 in city payouts

Two police brutality lawsuits involving a Minneapolis police officer have resulted in $265,000 in payouts.   Last Friday, the Minneapolis City Council approved a $140,000 settlement in a lawsuit filed by Ibrahim Regai, who claimed officer Michael Griffin punched him in the face and knocked him unconscious outside a downtown nightclub in 2010.  Late last year, a federal court jury awarded Jeremy Axel $125,000 after it found the same officer, Michael Griffin, used excessive force against Axel in a incident that happened in 2011.

In 2013, Griffin was awarded the department’s Medal of Valor for his response to the 2012 Accent Signage shooting.  According to data from the MPD,  Griffin has been the subject of five Internal Affairs Unit investigations.

Minneapolis police officer Michael Griffin receives the Medal of Valor from Chief Janee Harteau on May 16, 2013. Brandt Williams / MPR News.

The city council also on Friday approved a lawsuit settlement in the amount of $38,800 to Prywon Bettis.  Bettis, 31, alleged that in 2010 he was assaulted by officers Karl Sauskojus and Joshua Metcalf as he was leaving a party in north Minneapolis.  According to the complaint, Bettis sustained a fractured rib, a concussion and multiple cuts and bruises on his head and upper torso.

An MPR News analysis of data from the Minneapolis City Attorney found the city has paid more than $20 million to resolve misconduct lawsuits and claims during the last decade.