Retired St. Paul, Mn., police officer Tony Spencer explains why he testified on behalf of the city in an arbitration hearing involving a fellow cop fired for his role in a controversial, videotaped incident that went international. “It was very difficult because it was something I had been programmed throughout my career to never do,” Spencer, 44, tells Ruben Rosario of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Frank Baker of St. Paul suffered permanent damage to his leg, several broken ribs and collapsed lungs last June after he was bitten by a police dog and kicked three times in the torso area by St. Paul officer Brett Palkowitsch. Spencer says, “I decided that the right thing to do was tell Mr. Baker’s story. I owed it to him. How do you explain to that guy what happened to him was justified?” The Pioneer Press reports that the case will lead to a $2 million settlement, the largest police misconduct payout in the city’s history.
Baker was mistaken for a suspect armed with a weapon involved in what Spencer said turned out to be a possibly bogus and unfounded call about a group of men fighting with bats and golf clubs at an apartment complex. Baker had no gun and was sitting inside his Jeep in a small parking area behind his apartment building when he was ordered out of the vehicle. His arrest on charges of obstructing the legal process was later voided.