A now-former Minneapolis police officer who the department tried to fire twice over his long history of excessive force cases will now remain fired.
An arbitration ruling — which was decided in November of 2019, but only made public on Thursday — found that the Minneapolis Police Department was justified to fire Blayne Lehner for kicking an 18-year-old handcuffed man in the face, breaking his jaw and nose and knocking out two teeth in December 2013.
The department’s internal affairs investigation into the incident took nearly seven years because it was temporarily paused when Lehner was fired for a separate excessive force case.
But after Lehner won his job back in arbitration in 2016, internal affairs re-started its investigation for the kicking incident. It found the use of force was not justified. Lehner was on paid leave for nearly four years until he was fired the second time in February 2019.
In upholding Lehner’s termination, arbitrator Stephen Befort said, “This pattern of continued use of force violations poses a significant problem for the MPD. This conduct damages police-community relations and subjects the city to the potential of significant liability.”