Duluth officer with history of violence returns to patrol, says he’s a “better person”

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 5:51 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (CBS) -- A Duluth police officer with a history of excessive force incidents is back on patrol in the community.

The Duluth Police Department tweeted a picture of Office Adam Huot responding to a medical call Sunday night.

It says he is shoveling the stairs and sidewalk for the person who called.

Huot is the officer the department fired in 2017 after he dragged a handcuffed Native man down a skywalk and slammed his head into a doorway.

The department was forced to rehire Huot after arbitration with the union.

Huot returned to the department in January 2020 but at the time, the department said he would stay behind a desk.

The tweet was the first time the department revealed Huot had been allowed to resume his patrol duties.

In a statement Tuesday, the department said Huot was transferred to the Financial Crimes Unit in September 2020 and was reassigned to patrol this month.

Chief Mike Tusken says Huot’s actions in 2017 were unacceptable, but his decision to put the officer back on patrol is based on Huot’s personal and professional growth.

“Upon his reinstatement to the department, Officer Huot was presented with clear expectations to regain the public’s trust by being kind, caring, and compassionate in his service to the community. My decision to put Officer Huot back on patrol is based on my observations of Officer Huot’s personal and professional growth aligning with our department’s values, core beliefs, and mission,” said Tusken.

DPD said in August 2018, Huot went back to school at the College of St. Scholastica, graduating with his Masters of Social Work in May 2020.

In a statement, Huot acknowledged the harm his actions caused.

“I think it is important to acknowledge that what happened in May 2017 is my own failure. I didn’t show up to work that day and give the City of Duluth, the community, or my Duluth Police partners the best version of myself,” said Huot.

He said thanks to his coursework and continued training, he now focused on empathy and understanding.

“I returned to the Duluth Police Department a much better person than when I left it. I hold the negative impacts I have created close to me as a reminder that I can do better,” said Huot.

Duluth NAACP President Classie Douglas said the issue isn’t just Huot’s return to patrolling, but the department’s lack of communication with the people it’s supposed to serve.

“We’re looking at systemic changes and if we really want to see that growth within the department and the growth within individuals as well and really make this a people-first place to live in, we need to see the DPD have that accountability factor within the community,” she said.

Douglas also said this was a missed opportunity for the department to highlight an officer’s ability to grow and change.

She thinks the department should have had a conversation with the Native community, traumatized by the 2017 use of force incident, along with the community-at-large before putting Huot back on patrol.

When asked for comment, the police union did not respond.

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