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Brooklyn Park Police Brutality Case

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Published on Jul 16, 2013

A community group dedicated to fighting police brutality is calling for the dismissal of a Brooklyn Park police officer. Communities United Against Police Brutality says there are 31 complaints from 30 people against Sgt. Greg Burstad.

A police camera in 2007 recorded Burstad repeatedly hitting a suspect following a police chase. The video, which the group says it obtained from Brooklyn Park police, shows the suspect putting his hands in the air. The group says Burstad then punched the suspect in the head about 20 times. At the time, Burstad was working on behalf of the Metro Gang Strike Force, which disbanded in 2009.

Today, Burstad is back on the job after a five-day suspension. The group says that the punishment was far too light.

"There's nothing reasonable about battering and beating a man who has already submitted, has held his hands up. He surrendered. There's no reasonable use of force in this situation, whatsoever," said Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality.

The group also says that Burstad was not truthful in the police report about the incident seen in the video, saying there's no docuument on the punches.

Brooklyn Park Police said it did conduct a nine-month interval review of 106 potential policy violations involving Burstad. Brooklyn Park police say only eight of the violations had merit.

A statement from the Brooklyn Park Police Department calls Burstad a "highly decorated patrol office and detective," and says "Burstad has been admired for his ability to build trusting relationships with community members and in particular, the minority community and at-risk youth." You can see Brooklyn Park's complete statement here.

Communities United also says that the accusations extend beyond the Brooklyn Park area. They say two veteran Crystal police officers received unfair discipline for blowing the whistle on Burstad during his time with the Metro Gang Strike Force. Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering would not comment on the matter, citing state labor confidentiality laws.

Corey Bork & 12 News Staff

http://twelve.tv/
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12 News is on Comcast cable channel 12 in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and includes the cities Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.

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