Everyone makes mistakes, even all-time great NFL players. Well, former Vikings star and Hall of Famer Carl Eller was caught while making one of those drastic mistakes in judgment last April, when he nearly collided with a police car while driving drunk, then harassed arresting officers who attempted to take him into custody when he pulled into his house, leading to a diverse dossier of charges: fourth-degree assault, terroristic threats, driving while impaired and refusing to submit to a chemical test.
Well, now Eller is turning the tables on the Minneapolis police department, filing an 18-page lawsuit that the arresting officers who arrived at Eller’s home used “improper impact and unauthorized force” when arresting the 66-year old senior citizen. According to Eller’s lawyer Albert Goins Sr. in a story in the ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS, Minneapolis officers hit Eller in the head with a flashlight, subdued him with a chokehold and tasered him multiple times.
There’s no word on when Eller’s suit, which is scheduled to be filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, will come up on the docket, but there may be prior judgment on his DWI charge before then: His trial for the four criminal charges against him starts on Monday.
(Eller after his April arrest.)
If Eller was fighting the police, some of those charges might appear more rational, but Goins claims that the officers had no reason to believe, “he had committed an offense greater than a moving violation.” And before you write this off as Eller lashing out to try and protect his name, consider this: Police department records of video footage from cars called to Eller’s home show that nearly all the tapes that would have documented the arrest were changed very shortly after the arrest or, according to Goins, were blank when they reached his office.
If that’s not a sure sign that there might be some abuse being hidden somewhere, we don’t know what is.
“Once you evaluate that information carefully, you find a number of holes in it. You see them in violation of their own policies,” Goins said. “This is just common-sense stuff. These are their facts. These are their records. These are their documents.”
Making Eller’s case even more worthy of sympathy is relatively meager sum he’s asking for from the police: $75,000. In an age when a hot McDonalds coffee spill can be worth $500,000 or more, Eller’s willing to write off a fairly severe beating for $75G. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it?
It’s hard to tell who’s telling the truth in this case, and who may be out for money/an improved public image within the city of Minneapolis. Either way, something is up, and it bears watching as the case gets closer to trial.