After 90-minutes of deliberation, a jury found 36-year-old Christopher Michael Reiter's use of force was unjustified in connection with the incident. He was charged with third-degree assault.
"I don’t believe there are many police officers in Minneapolis or elsewhere that support Officer Reiter’s kicking somebody in the face, that’s beyond the pale," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told KARE, noting that it's rare to gain a conviction of an officer for use of force while on duty.
Reiter was among four white officers responding to the call on May 30, 2016. They confronted the suspect, Mohammed Abdi Osman, a Black man, who complied with the officers' orders.
When they arrived, officers found the suspect, Mohamed Osman, sitting in a vehicle parked outside the building. They ordered him to get out of the vehicle and lie down on the ground.
Osman complied with the officers’ commands, but Reiter walked up and kicked Osman in the face while he was on his hands and knees. Reiter is white and Osman is a Somali American.
The incident was captured on surveillance video, and three other white officers at the scene said they did not feel it necessary to kick him in the face, according to charges.
A jury believed Reiter kicked Osman in the face with deadly force, breaking his nasal cavity and causing a traumatic brain injury. The brain injury still prevents Osman from working and caring for his children.
The video shows Domek and two other officers running out of the building with their guns drawn and toward a silver SUV where Osman was sitting. Osman got out of the car with his hands up and knelt on the ground. Domek then kicked Osman in his midsection. Immediately after, Reiter, dressed in a darker uniform, kicked Osman in the head.
According to the criminal charge, Reiter's kick caused Osman to collapse to the ground "unconscious and bleeding."
In reports they filed after the incident, Domek wrote that as he approached Osman, he ordered him to get on the ground. Domek then wrote that he moved toward Osman "in an effort to push him to the ground to get him in handcuff position. While doing so, I felt resistance from the male, causing me to believe that he was going to attempt to fight as he had just been involved in a violent assault."
The video does not show Osman either resisting or pushing off the ground.
In charging Reiter with a felony, County Attorney Mike Freeman said, "in this case, a kick to the face is a use of deadly force, and simply not justified," Freeman said.
Domek was not charged.
Prosecutors argued Reiter assaulted Osman out of anger for what Osman did to his girlfriend.
"They saw her. They saw the injuries, and shortly thereafter they assaulted my client," Osman's attorney told KARE 11 in March.
Reiter was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department on January 11, 2017, although the administration would not confirm whether his dismissal was spurred by the case.
Sentencing for Reiter will be December 12.
Freeman said the presumptive sentencing in an assault case like this, for someone without a prior criminal history, would be probation. But Freeman said he'll ask the judge in the case to impose jail time, which would be an upward departure from sentencing guidelines. [Don't expect justice in racist system.]