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Arrested Vikings fan cleared, alleges excessive force

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A football fan arrested during a Minnesota Vikings game in December said he is focusing on his excessive-force lawsuit against police after being acquitted this week of criminal charges.

Anastacio Lopez, a lifelong Vikings fan who lives in Texas, was charged after allegedly trying to grab an officer's stun gun while being escorted from the stadium during the Dec. 1 game against the Dallas Cowboys. He was acquitted Wednesday of attempting to disarm an officer, due in part to surveillance footage from inside the stadium.

That video, obtained by St. Paul television station KSTP-TV , shows two officers using their stun guns on Lopez, striking him with closed fists and kneeing him. Shortly after being cleared of criminal charges, Lopez told the TV station that he was drinking during the game and didn't remember much of the incident — until he saw that footage.

"I see myself getting tased, several, several times," Lopez said. "I see myself getting kicked, or kneed and punched in the face." Lopez filed his federal civil rights lawsuit in April. Along with police, defendants include the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota Vikings and several stadium operators and contractors.

In a statement, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the city will be defending its interests. Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley declined comment on the case, citing the pending litigation. A representative of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which operates U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, also declined comment on the allegations in the lawsuit. The lawsuit has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

Lopez's attorney, Michael Nadimi, said the surveillance footage cemented their case that the officer's actions went too far. "We don't believe the fact that he was drinking justifies what was done to him. It's our belief that what happened that day was completely excessive and unreasonable given the circumstances," Nadimi said.

Information from: KSTP-TV, http://www.kstp.com

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