A Vikings fan who was accused of attempting to grab a police officer’s stun gun during an encounter at a game has been acquitted of criminal charges and is now suing the city of Minneapolis and the police over the incident.
The fan, Anatascio Lopez, acknowledges he had been drinking at the game and doesn’t remember a lot of what happened. Police were physically removing him from the game when an altercation took place that resulted in officers on top of him on the ground, punching him and tasing him.
The police said Lopez tried to take a stun gun from an officer and charged him with that, but a jury that watched a surveillance video of the incident acquitted him of those charges this week. Now Lopez has filed a lawsuit, accusing police of excessive force.
The officers were wearing body cameras, but the cameras were turned off during the encounter. Lopez’s lawyer, Michael Nadimi, says the security camera footage from the stadium is the most important evidence in the case.
“The most telling piece of evidence was the surveillance video,” Nadimi told KSTP. “We don’t believe the fact that he was drinking justifies what was done to him. It’s our belief that what happened that day was completely excessive and unreasonable given the circumstances.”
Videos showing violent encounters among fans during NFL games are all too common. Usually those videos show fan-on-fan violence. In this case, with police officers involved, there will be even more scrutiny, and a greater need to get to the bottom of what happened.