Homeless Person's Bill of Rights Coalition speaks out against court order to reinstate abusive p

STATEMENT BY THE HOMELESS PERSON"S BILL OF RIGHTS COALITION - JANUARY 3. 2019

On May 21st, 2017 Officer Adam Huot of the Duluth Police Department (DPD) grabbed a homeless man by the chains of his handcuffs and dragged him down the length of the skywalk for 15 seconds. As Huot approached the doors exiting the skywalk, the man’s head was slammed into a metal door frame with an audible thud. Huot did all of this without warning to the cuffed individual or to his police partner filming the incident. At no point did Huot show sympathy or compassion for his victim: he never checked on the physical health of the person nor offered an apology. Following the incident Huot did not file a notification of excessive use of force as mandated by DPD policy.

In addition to this act, Huot has been the subject of 12 complaints, six of which were substantiated. Chief Tusken has testified that no other officer in the 155-member department necessitated as much oversight, coaching, training and discipline as Huot.

On December 28th, 2018, Judge Eric Hylden ordered the City to reinstate Huot to the police force. This goes against the wishes of Chief Tusken and other city officials that asked the courts to reverse an arbiter’s decision to reinstate Huot. Susan Hansen, a Twin Cities attorney retained by the city, stated in late September during the initial ask to vacate that, "Returning Adam Huot to his position violates the public's trust and subjects them to unreasonable use of force, unreported police misconduct and abuse of authority by those sworn to protect and serve them."

The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition was created in an effort to stop this kind of mistreatment of people experiencing homelessness, and much of our work has been focused on improving interactions between police and those without residence.

Officer Huot’s behavior makes him unfit to serve in the police department. His presence on the force would undermine public trust in the DPD and put more vulnerable community members at risk of violence at his hands. The Police Union’s decision to fight for his reinstatement shows a complete lack of regard for standards of professional and human decency. We applaud the City and Chief Tusken for fighting his reinstatement in court, and we urge the City to refuse to reinstate Officer Huot until the appeal process is resolved.

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