- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A former University of Minnesota basketball star who says he was injured during his arrest in a Twin Cities suburb is suing police.

Melvin Newbern says a Robbinsdale officer knocked him to the ground while he was in handcuffs, causing a concussion. The officer had stopped Newbern in February 2013 for allegedly swerving and suspicion of drunken driving.

The officer repeatedly ordered Newbern, who is 6 feet, 5 inches and 330 pounds, to get into the squad car, but Newbern told the officer it was too difficult for him to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court this week.

After being handcuffed and placed under arrest, Newbern again told the officer he couldn’t get into the squad car, the lawsuit said. The officer then kneed Newbern in the back of his leg and he fell to the ground, hitting his head on the road, according to the lawsuit.

Shortly before the officer used force, a squad car video recorded Newbern saying, “I’ll get on the ground” and “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”

“When you are handcuffed and you take out somebody’s leg, the risk of injury is high,” Andrew Noel, Newbern’s attorney, told the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1gewStS ). “What else is going to happen?”

Robbinsdale Police Chief Steve Smith declined to comment, saying his department hasn’t yet been served with the lawsuit.

Newbern, 46, was charged with obstruction, but not with drunken driving.

Currently a Hennepin County juvenile detention officer, Newbern was a star point guard for the Gophers, when the team got within one game of making the Final Four in 1990.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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