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Duluth officer who dragged man through skywalk assigned to desk job

Adam Huot has been assigned to "administrative duties inside the Duluth Police Department headquarters" since Monday.

A screenshot from Duluth Police Department body camera footage shows Adam Huot dragging a man through the skywalk in downtown Duluth.
A screenshot from Duluth Police Department body camera footage shows Adam Huot dragging a man through the skywalk in downtown Duluth.

A Duluth police officer who was ordered reinstated after he was fired for dragging a handcuffed man through the downtown skywalk system was back at work this week.

Officer Adam Huot returned to active duty Monday and is assigned to "administrative duties inside the Duluth Police Department headquarters," Duluth police spokesperson Ingrid Hornibrook said Friday afternoon.

Hornibrook said he'll be overseen by the administrative lieutenant and "will be assigned a variety of tasks."

Huot, a nine-year veteran of the force with six substantiated complaints on his record, was seen on body camera video dragging a homeless man down a hallway, slamming his head against a door, in the May 2017 incident. He also did not report the use-of-force to supervisors, as required by department policy.

When administrators learned of the incident from fellow officers, they moved to fire Huot. But the union challenged the action. Arbitrator Mario Bognanno called the officer's actions "unreasonable," but said there was no "just cause" for termination, reinstating Huot after a 13-month unpaid suspension.

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Sixth Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden and a three-judge appeals panel subsequently rejected the city's motion to vacate the arbitration award.

The city filed its petition to the Supreme Court on Oct. 2 — making a final attempt to reverse an arbitrator's June 2018 ruling in favor of Huot and his union.

In November, the Supreme Court, per standard practice, denied the petition in a one-page order without elaboration .

The city had kept the 36-year-old Huot on unpaid leave as it continued to contest the arbitrator's findings. With nine years of service, Huot had an annual salary of $73,522 at the time he was first placed on leave.

While it's rare for a court to reverse an arbitrator, the city argued Bognanno's findings violated a "well-defined and dominant public policy" against the use of excessive force by police officers. The appeals court agreed that Huot's actions were "contrary to a public policy," but the judges said the arbitrator's award of reinstatement without back pay was not .

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Bygones is researched and written by David Ouse, retired reference librarian from the Duluth Public Library. He can be contacted at djouse49@gmail.com.