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Somali man kicked in face by ex-Minneapolis cop sues for $1 million

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Libor Jany

A man has sued former Minneapolis police officer Christopher Reiter for kicking him in the face during a May 2016 arrest that was captured on video and led to Reiter being charged with felony assault.

According to the lawsuit, Reiter’s kick left Mohamed Osman with a broken jaw, broken teeth and a brain injury after he and three other officers ordered him out of his car at gunpoint while responding to a domestic assault report in south Minneapolis last May. Osman contends that he was assaulted despite complying with police commands. A video of the encounter surfaced in March, 10 months after the incident happened.

Osman’s suit, filed this week in Hennepin County District Court, seeks $1 million in damages. The case is expected to move to federal court.

The suit, which also names the city and police department as defendants, say they failed to train Reiter on the use of appropriate force in arresting suspects, and of being “persistently and deliberately indifferent toward civil rights violations by its police officers.”

Reiter was later fired and subsequently charged with felony third-degree assault in connection with the incident. He has appealed his termination. Another officer involved in the assault, Josh Domek, was reprimanded, but hasn’t been charged.

At a news conference Thursday, Osman told reporters that the experience left him “shocked.”

“He didn’t ask anything. He kicked my face. He destroyed my life,” Osman said, as he described the events of that night to reporters.

Osman eventually pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in the domestic case. He served about two-thirds of a 75-day sentence in the county workhouse.

Whether the city will indemnify, or defend, Reiter from damages arising from the suit remains unclear. The city attorney’s office declined to comment on the most recent lawsuit through a spokesperson. His attorney in the criminal case, Robert Fowler, said that because Reither was on duty at the time of the incident, the city of Minneapolis is obligated to defend him in the civil case.

Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the union that represents the city’s 860-plus cops, said the city had a “duty” to defend Reiter since he was acting under the color of the law. He declined to say more about the case, citing the pending litigation.

Osman’s attorney, Paul Applebaum, said the episode bore a striking resemblance to a 2014 incident involving Reiter, in which the officer kicked a gas station attendant in the chest within moments of pulling up to the scene of a fight.

“They gave him the boots that he used to kick Mr. Osman,” said Applebaum, who also sued Reiter in the earlier case. That case was settled out of court earlier this year for $105,000.

More worrying, Applebaum said, was the officer’s “spontaneous outburst.”

“Reiter comes upon a situation and doesn’t understand the larger context and just kicks somebody,” he said. “How he could know the right way to proceed in milliseconds is just mind-boggling.”

Reiter was the second Minneapolis cop to be charged with felony assault this year.

In January, former officer Efrem Hamilton was charged with second-degree assault and intentional discharge of a firearm for shooting his service handgun at a car full of people during a downtown melee last November. None of the car’s occupants were injured, but the episode attracted wide public attention. Hamilton, who was working off duty when the shooting occurred, was fired and is challenging the termination.

He is scheduled to go to trial in November.

Crime

Southall shooting: Man charged with murder of Khalid Abdi Farah

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Detectives investigating the shooting of 26-year-old Khalid Farah in Southall have charged a 21-year-old man.

Malique Thompson-Hill was charged with murder on Sunday (December 3), the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Mr Farah was fatally shot in the chest while he was sat in a Ford Focus car in Lady Margaret Road on November 11.

London Ambulance Service attended the scene and the victim was taken to a central London hospital where he died at 3.32am.

Following his death, Crimestoppers announced a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

In a statement, his family said: “Khalid was such an amazing son, brother and nephew.

“We can’t stress enough how distraught we are that our beautiful boy was taken away from us.”

The family statement added: “He was a kind and lovable soul who made an impression with everyone he would meet.”

Mr Thompson-Hill was due to appear at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

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Somali man found guilty in kidnapping of Canadian journalist

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FILE PHOTO: Somali national Ali Omar Ader arrested for 2008 hostage-taking in Somalia of two freelance journalists, Canadian Amanda Lindhout and Australian Nigel Brennan, is seen in an undated photo from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Courtesy RCMP/Handout via REUTERS

REUTERS — A Somali national has been convicted in an Ontario court for his role in the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian Amanda Lindhout, who was held captive in Somalia for 460 days and released only after her family paid a ransom, Canadian media reported on Wednesday.
Ali Omar Ader, 40, was found guilty of one charge of hostage-taking for his role as negotiator for the kidnappers, in a decision handed down on Wednesday in Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa.

Lindhout, a freelance journalist, was taken hostage in Somalia on Aug. 23, 2008, along with Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, while working on a story. They were released for ransom in November 2009.

Ader was lured to Canada from Somalia in 2015 and arrested in Ottawa as part of a sting operation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in which an officer posed as a publisher interested in a book Ader was writing on Somalia, according to court documents.

Prosecutors argued that Ader had been the main spokesman for the hostage-takers, negotiating first with Lindhout’s mother and later with a private consultant hired by the families of Lindhout and Brennan.
According to court documents, he referred to himself as “a commander” and repeatedly threatened that the hostages would be harmed or killed unless the ransom was paid.

During his trial, Ader said that he too had been kidnapped by the group holding Lindhout captive, and was forced to act as their spokesman, as he spoke some English.

In his ruling, Justice Robert Smith said Ader’s claims were “completely unbelievable,” numerous Canadian media outlets reported. Reuters has not read the ruling.

Ader faces up to life in prison. Sentencing in the case is not expected until next year.

Lindhout has said she was repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted during her captivity, and both she and Brennan have said they were tortured and starved.

In 2013, Lindhout recounted her experience in the book “A House in the Sky.”

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Crime

Father beaten to death with chair as fight breaks out over snooker table in north London cafe

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A father was beaten to death with a chair when a fight broke out over the snooker table in a high street cafe.

Police launched a murder inquiry after Mohamed Hersi, 40, died in hospital following the attack in Bethel Cafe, Finsbury Park.

Mr Hersi, who recently left his job at a central London hotel to care for his elderly father, was set upon when he complained about players jumping the queue for the table.

He was rushed to hospital with critical injuries at 10pm on Tuesday. He died yesterday with his wife and their four children, aged five to 11, at his bedside.

His wife Barlin Ali, 36, told the Standard: “He was the best husband and father you could ask for.”
It is understood that Mr Hersi, who had been working as a hotel kitchen porter, was drinking tea and playing snooker in the cafe when the row broke out.

He was struck with the metal chair, fell to the floor and hit his head, his family said.

Mrs Ali said: “It is vitally important that anyone who saw what happened comes forward because the person who did this should not be on the streets.

“No other family should suffer this. Please come forward if you know anything and speak to police. We want justice for Mohamed because I have lost such a loving man.”

Mr Hersi’s sister-in-law Mariam Ali, 37, said: “Mohamed was a peaceful man. He would always say to us to not worry and ‘enjoy the moment’.
“Those were his favourite words. He was a lovely person and a good father. He was so happy around his children.”

“He was working at a grand hotel in central London until a few months ago when he had to stop work to look after his father.

“We just know he was drinking tea in the cafe on Tuesday night. We got a phone call saying Mohamed was on the floor. My sister ran to the cafe but the police were already there and took us to hospital. Doctors said he would not survive.”

The cafe in Seven Sisters Road was cordoned off. A worker at a nearby internet cafe said: “He was playing snooker. There’s only a small table there, it was full of people. A guy came in and was trying to jump the queue. Then there was an argument.”

The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command is investigating. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or via 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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