Duluth Police Officer Investigated for use of Force

By KBJR News 1

September 27, 2012 Updated Sep 27, 2012 at 11:07 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - A Duluth Police officer is under investigation for criminal assault following the use of force over the weekend.

Officer Richard Jouppi, a two-year member of the force, is currently on administrative leave until the outcome of the investigation has been finalized.

Police say Jouppi was involved in a confrontation last Friday with a 50-year-old intoxicated Duluth man.

The incident happened at the Duluth Detox Center. Authorities say the man struck Officer Jouppi in the face. They say officer reacted to the blow by striking back multiple times.

The Duluth Police Department says its conducting and expedited investigation.

"Tomorrow we will be referring this case to an independent prosecutor and requesting that the independent prosecutor charge of assault in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor offense on officer Jouppi," said Mike Tusken, the deputy chief of the Duluth Patrol Division.

Police say the 50-year-old man had an existing wound reopen during the altercation.

Officers from the Duluth Police Department met with the man at the San Marco building on Thursday. The visit was to ensure the serious nature of the matter and they indicated an investigation is in progress.

Police say this incident isn't the first complaint against Jouppi. They would not elaborate on any prior incidents.

Justin Reis