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Trial begins in alleged Duluth police assault | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 3.49.52 PMPublished November 19, 2013, 12:00 AM

Trial begins in alleged Duluth police assault

A Pine County jury will decide the fate this week of former active-duty Duluth police Officer Richard Jouppi, who is accused of assaulting a man in a wheelchair.

By: Tom Olsen, Duluth News Tribune

PINE CITY — A Pine County jury will decide the fate this week of former active-duty Duluth police Officer Richard Jouppi, who is accused of assaulting a man in a wheelchair.

Attorneys spent all of Monday, the first day of a scheduled weeklong trial, questioning potential jurors about topics ranging from the judicial system to the use of force by police officers. The jury, composed of four men and three women, including one alternate, ultimately was selected from a pool of 32 people.

Jouppi, 36, is charged with fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct following an on-duty incident with an intoxicated man at the Duluth Detoxification Center on Sept. 21, 2012.

Judge John DeSanto told jurors to expect to serve until Wednesday or Thursday. Opening statements from attorneys are expected this morning before witnesses are called.

DeSanto agreed to move the trial from Duluth to Pine City at the request of Jouppi and his Minneapolis-based attorney, Fred Bruno, who argued that he could not get a fair trial in St. Louis County.

Video of an altercation between Jouppi and a wheelchair-bound man, Anthony Jon Jackson, has been replayed numerous times on local television and has gained hundreds of thousands of views on websites such as YouTube. Surveillance video showed the 50-year-old Jackson striking Jouppi in the face and Jouppi responding by striking the man in the head several times and throwing him to the ground.

Bruno, who was hired by Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Legal Defense Fund to represent Jouppi, has said his client acted in self-defense and according to training.

Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, however, responded to the controversy by saying his department has done everything in its power to ensure that Jouppi never works on the force again.

Ramsay told the News Tribune recently that under Minnesota law he is unable to comment on Jouppi’s job status until final disposition of discipline in the grievance process, but he confirmed that Jouppi currently is not being paid by the department.

Duluth attorney Shawn Reed, who serves as Hermantown city prosecutor, is serving as a special prosecutor in the case.

via Trial begins in alleged Duluth police assault | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota.

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