A Minnesota cop with three disciplinary actions on his record is facing 90 days in jail for twice punching a handcuffed 14-year-old Native American girl in the face, then grabbing her by the jaw and calling her a “fucking bitch.”
The Minneapolis city attorney’s office charged him Monday with one count of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault, according to the Star-Tribune.
Despite there not being any reason why an armed cop would need to protect himself against a 14-year-old girl handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, St. Paul Police Officer Michael Soucheray II 38, claims he was acting in self-defense when he wailed on teen last month after she spit in his face during an apparent mental health episode.
Soucheray’s excuse falls even further flat considering laws protecting the right to self-defense allow a person to legally defend themselves only if their action is proportional the menace or threat they’re defending themselves from.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell has not yet fired Soucheray, but reportedly did place the cop on paid administrative leave while his detectives investigate.
Soucheray and his partner, Chris Rhoades, arrived at Brittany’s Place, a shelter in St. Paul for girls and women who’ve experienced trauma and other challenges, after receiving a call from the shelter’s staff after she refused to get in the ambulance to be transported to a hospital for psychiatric help.
Officers Soucheray and Roades were initially sent to Brittany’s Place to defuse the situation, but things escalated for the worse after Soucheray handcuffed her and threatened to drag her to his police car if she didn’t cooperate.
The girl, who’d been giving staff at the shelter the silent treatment before the cops arrived, answered the threat by going limp as Soucheray and Rhoades dragged her to their patrol car where Soucheray attempted to secure her seat belt.
According to Soucheray, that’s when the 14-year-old cleared her throat and spit at him, which caused him to so much fear he was forced to defend himself by punching the girl in the face.
Then he did it again, grabbing the girl by the jaw, cursing and calling her a “fucking bitch.”
Peter Wold, Soucheray’s attorney, stated his client’s actions don’t stem from anger issues. Instead, the attorney said, the punches were an appropriate use of force, blaming the political environment for the charges against officer Soucheray.
Soucheray’s arrest comes on the heels of another controversial claim of self-defense, which resulted in 2nd degree manslaughter charges being brought against St. Paul cop Jeronimo Yanez, who was arrested for unnecessarily shooting Philando Castile, 32, during a traffic stop about 70 miles away from St. Paul.
“No reasonable officer knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances,” the Ramsey County attorney John Choi during a St. Paul press conference.
“I have given Officer Yanez every benefit of the doubt on his use of deadly force, but I cannot allow the death of a motorist who was lawfully carrying a firearm under these facts and circumstances to go unaccounted for.”
St. Paul police are in possession of video from the incident, but won’t release it stating it is part of the criminal investigation against officer Soucheray, who has been disciplined three times for two preventable car crashes and for not showing to a court date.
Meanwhile, on Facebook, the St. Paul police department wrote a message saying they would not be “commenting further or taking any additional actions” adding the department is waiting for the legal process play out.