Victim in police beating speaks out

VIDEO -- It was a traffic stop like many others: 42-year-old Derryl Jenkins pulled over in February as he drove through north Minneapolis...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

It was a traffic stop like many others: 42-year-old Derryl Jenkins pulled over in February as he drove through north Minneapolis, stopped for speeding as he allegedly went 15 miles per hour over the limit.

“I was nervous. Very nervous. Very, very, very nervous,” Jenkins said.

The stop was recorded on tape from the squad car of officer Richard Walker. Jenkins says Walker refused to explain why he was stopped, and he asked for a police supervisor. When Walker said one isn’t available, Jenkins said he got out of the car to get his drivers license from his back pocket. That’s when he says Walker tried to tackle him.

Backup arrived, and six officers helped Walker as Jenkins was punched, kicked and stunned three times with a Taser. Police claim Jenkins was uncooperative, that he smelled like alcohol and slurred his speech. Jenkins said he drank three beers with dinner that night, but insisted he was not impaired, and repeatedly asked, “What did I do wrong?”

“All I remember is getting out of the car, getting thrown down and feeling the punches. And those last words were ‘I can’t breathe,’” Jenkins said.

Jenkins says he next remembers waking up to paramedics with cuts, bruises, chipped teeth and permanent damage to his thumb. He spent four days in jail, but says he’s never thought the arrest was racially motivated. “I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, a black man angry with police.’ This isn’t a black issue, this is a people issue,” Jenkins said.

Paul Edlund, Jenkins’ attorney, says anyone who doubts his story need only watch the video. “His palms are outstretched, they’re flat. He’s not in a combative position. He never bear hugs the officer, never swings at the officer, never punches him,” Edlund said

But worse than the beating, Jenkins says, was being criminally charged, accused of a felony for assaulting an officer. Walker has never wavered from his version of the arrest, insisting in court hearings his actions were justified. And nine other policemen at the scene that night back up Walker in official reports, but Edlund says those, too, are an injustice.

“I think you can clearly see from the video that what happened was not right. And then writing reports that are false is not right. And there should be accountability for that,” said Edlund.

A judge agreed, after watching the squad car video finding Walker had no reason to suspect Jenkins of DUI and dismissing the charges against him. But Jenkins says he may not have been so lucky without the tape, and that others who don’t have proof on video could be the victims of police.

“They just did that way too easy. And then lied about it and tried to cover it up,” said Jenkins. “That’s the kind of stuff that scares me.”