Opening statements heard in Jouppi trial

By KBJR News 1

November 19, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 8:31 PM CST

Pine City, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- Opening statements were made today in the trial against a Duluth Police Officer accused of assault and disorderly conduct after allegedly beating a man in a wheelchair.

Prosecutor Shawn Reed told the jury this is a case that asks the question "can a police officer assault a defendant?"

Reed says Jouppi swung his fist five times, calling the number of punches unnecessary under the circumstances and not reasonable force.

The defense, however, laid out a different story, saying that no harm was caused and no crime committed by Jouppi- he was simply trying to gain the compliance of a suspect under arrest.

Defense attorney Fred Bruno said what Jouppi did was reasonable in the situation.

Five witnesses took the stand on the prosecution's behalf, including the officer who was with Jouppi the night of the alleged assault and the detox worker seen in the room on the video.

The trial was halted Tuesday due to envelopes found with a suspicious white substance inside, addressed to many departments within the Pine City Government Center.

It is unknown at this time what that substance may be or if court will resume as normal on Wednesday.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com