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Ramsey County Sheriff's Dept running true to form?
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elisem
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Department has been playing SWAT team during the last few days, busting in on houses of people they suspect are planning to protest the Republican National Convention in St Paul this week. From what some of the early stories said, they did not show warrants when entering, did not identify themselves, and made comments ("Is the Terminator ready?") that may have been intended to provoke fear among those lying face-down and handcuffed for forty-five minutes while the raid went on. (The charges, after the raid? A fire code violation.)

St. Paul city council member Dave Thune is rather peeved that the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department took it upon themselves to handle things within the city of St. Paul, which does have its own police force, as he points out. Then again, the St. Paul city cops are, you know, actual cops, not guys dressed up as officers and carrying sidearms (and pocketing money in videotapes) but mysteriously lacking in law enforcement credentials, unless you consider being best man at the sheriff's wedding a law enforcement credential. My favorite quotes from the linked article by David Hanners of the St. Paul Pioneer Press are these:

Legal experts and state regulators said they would be concerned about Naylon's role as a civilian performing police work. Paul Monteen, standards coordinator of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards & Training, said he couldn't talk about the case specifically, but generally, if "an individual practices law enforcement outside the license system of the state, it may violate the statutory obligations of impersonating a police officer."

Stephen Cribari, who teaches criminal law and procedure and evidence at the University of Minnesota Law School, said it seemed an unusual case.

"I frankly have never encountered a Police Department that has used its civilian personnel in their investigations, other than in the forensic sense," he said. "It's odd, but I'm not sure there's anything illegal about it. It's certainly interesting if they've got a civilian employee who is acting as peace officer without the qualifications of a peace officer."

"It's certainly interesting" is a phrase which might be translated from the Scandosotan as "ça va pêter des flammes,*" perhaps. (I'm in Montreal at the moment, following Jo Walton's excellent convention Farthing Party.)

Today's protest march in St. Paul is expected to top 50,000, say organizers. We'll see how that goes.


*"Well, that's gonna fart flames." As in, this is gonna hit the fan.

Here via friendsfriends. Fletcher is planning a gubernatorial bid -- so active public dissent happening while he's trying to impress the GOP? It wasn't gonna fly. Hence the SWAT team antics. (I got nothin' on Naylon, though. That's just crazy.)

Fletcher may have all sorts of ambitions -- there's that old saw about a newly-minted corporal putting a field marshall's baton in his kit -- but it's a non-starter. Right now, he's got two very close associates looking at years in a Federal prison, and a County Commission looking seriously at making the RamseyCo sheriff's office the one appointed sheriff in the state, just to get rid of him.

If Naylon had had good connections among the criminal set that nobody with a badge had, using him for much of what the RamseyCo SO did would have been okay; not a big deal. But letting the sheriff's Best Man play cop just because he's Fletcher's buddy? A big deal.

Watch the FBI tape. The decision that Rehak and Naylon made to grab and hide the money was very, very quick, and took few if any words. The chances that this was the first time they did something like this is, basically, nil, and the chances that they're the only Friends of Bob with their hand out isn't much larger.

They said that they did want to point out that they don't consider Iran an enemy. They don't consider the Iranian people to be enemies.

Since when was it illegal to participate in a protest?
If it is illegal, one has to wonder which country they are now living in.....

In Minnesota, at least since the mid-90s.

None of these tactics are new. Minneapolis specifically repealed it's laws about decent police behavior (such as, if you seize film of an event where police are involved, you have to give it back.) especially for the RNC.

Re: I'm confused..

opalsprite

2008-09-02 03:30 pm (UTC)

Huh.
One wonders what happened to Constitutional rights of free expression and freedom to assemble, then.

And then there is the first ammendment, I beleive it goes the right to peacably assemble, the right of free expression and freedom of the press.

New rule of thumb, if you have a (D) next to your name, I’ll assume that you are corrupt and crooked.

" If you had said the above, you'd have been laughed out of town, or perhaps even protested by teachers and other educators.

If they could make a living in their own country, they would prefer to do that. One must be deluded to think that people are spending thousands of dollars and risking death to travel illegally to this country just because our immigration laws are too lax.

Nowhere near 50,000, but a few thousand, at least. Mostly trying to find shade during the lengthy speechifying phase, while I was there.

But there we are taking somebody's word for it again. How many of those alleged crimes did result in arrests or convictions.

Huh. Well, a couple things (full disclosure-my brother is a Ramsey Deputy):

The RCSD has jurisdiction in St. Paul, as St. Paul is in fact in Ramsey County (not being flip, just pointing out- same for Hennepin and Mpls, and so on; that's how this works). 45 minutes is not an excessive time to search some buildings (moderate sized house like my own). They are pulling in forces from all over Minnesota to an event which has been held up to be the happy hunting ground for several whackball groups who protest not to get a point across, but to bust stuff up. This makes law enforcement edgy to begin with...and frankly? It's Really Easy to point at a cop now and say "S/he treated me mean!" as our perception of police officers has been manipulated into "jackbooted thug" by movies, media and the Baby Boomer crowd. SWAT team tactics is nicely emotional, but did anyone ask why those tactics may have been employed? Anonymous tip? Agitprop? Hey, all it takes to get attention is a phone call, and it's lose-lose for the authority figures. Because no matter what goes down, they get the blame. Right or wrong.

Anyway, that's probably going to be seen as me going to the defense of my big brother, but it actually is more than that; it's a call for rational thinking and getting past the emotional manipulation; especially cops bad/protesters sweet flower children. Everybody has a right to protest, and be heard, absolutely and not just in "free speech zones"- but to have the opportunity to cause harm for no reason? Nope.

Edited at 2008-09-02 02:07 pm (UTC)

"Everybody has a right to protest, and be heard, absolutely and not just in "free speech zones"- but to have the opportunity to cause harm for no reason? Nope."
Exactly so

From knowing you, I would figure that a big brother of yours wouldn't do the bad stuff.

But the reports of them not showing warrants, not identifying themselves, and so on are extremely worrisome. (The stuff coming out today about the AP photographer and the reporter and producers from Democracy Now is pretty disquieting too.) It's looking pretty strongly like somebody's trying to discourage videotaping and coverage of any of these activities, and the allegations of dangerous materials and plans are just pretext. If that's the case, either somebody's using the RSCD for their own agenda and figuring the RSCD will be amenable to such things, or somebody within the RSCD is a self-starter on the issue. Sure, I know they act on a tip or on probable cause or the like, but ... well, I'll just come out and say it: provocateurs. Y'know?

Sorry. My neighbor and childhood hero was a sheriff's deputy, and I get kinda defensive when I think such folks are being used for really bad political ends, and I get angry when I think there are bad apples shaping departments so that they are more easily used for such things. The chief doesn't strike me as a model of probity, y'know?

Then again, I wasn't there. Though I am getting forwarded e-mails from people who were, because a bunch of people from my church know them and were working with them to peacefully protest. I tend to believe their accounts.


Note: the rest of this is not about RSCD, but about the events involving law enforcement and protesters as a whole:

After some of the coverage today I am also left scratching my head over some of the charges. I have never heard of "gross misdemeanor riot charges" before. Also, since when does asking for medical attention become grounds for arrest?

(moved two paragraphs to the end because I had a continuity error; nothing has been deleted)


Edited at 2008-09-02 04:42 pm (UTC)

"Looking pretty strongly"; it always does. Since Seattle, on both sides. "Allegations of Dangerous materials"- so they should show photographs of them, eh? But how do you know the photos aren't stock photos? When do you trust something that doesn't fit your personal prejudices? People manipulate what they see and hear for their own ends. I am unsurprised either that the protestors are crying police-havoc or the police are crying people-havoc...It's now pretty much obvious that people will believe what they want to, as people are easy to manipulate that way. I don't trust second-hand reports at all, sure, it can be indicative of a trend, but there needs to be further prying- and not just one side. It's hard to doubt friends' veracity- but in some cases, it does need to be done, either with me and my friends on the police force, or me and my friends in the protesting camps. Emotionally, I sympathize with the protestors mostly, which means that I am biased, and due to knowing that about myself and my personal quirk, I need a control sample to test my convictions- but I don't see others doing so on either side, which is a recipe for trouble, and grants both sides a "I told you so!"

All that being said, I stand by my belief that the 'cops bad/protestors good' mindset being displayed as the easy (suspect) choice. "Hair" was a long time ago, and both sides got a lot more savvy and manipulative. If officers arrested people unjustly, yep, those officers need to be punished, no matter who they are. If someone is manipulating the police to get an intended result, that too, needs to be punished.

In any case, why can't a protestor have 'started it', so to speak? Is there any hard evidence here to convict either side yet? Not that I've seen, but perhaps someone is in posession of proof that cops live to arrest journalists...and Amy (she's not a journalist, she's an advocate).

All that being said, I stand by my belief that the 'cops bad/protestors good' mindset being displayed as the easy (suspect) choice. "Hair" was a long time ago, and both sides got a lot more savvy and manipulative. If officers arrested people unjustly, yep, those officers need to be punished, no matter who they are. If someone is manipulating the police to get an intended result, that too, needs to be punished.

In any case, why can't a protestor have 'started it', so to speak? Is there any hard evidence here to convict either side yet? Not that I've seen, but perhaps someone is in posession of proof that cops live to arrest journalists...and Amy (she's not a journalist, she's an advocate).


Having had time to think about it, and also having gotten more information, I do believe I agree with you on those points.

Though I still can't help being suspicious about provocateurs. But anyhow.

If you can’t do that, maybe you should think if you could do something more useful and constructive with your time and resources.

The reason I can't help being suspicious about such is that I knew one once. A provocateur, I mean. In college. I didn't know he was at the time, but it came out later.

Once you know that such things happen, it changes how you look at similar current events thereafter. I sifted through a lot of memories, after finding out, looking at things in the light of new knowledge....

As for "something more useful and constructive," could you give some examples, please?

Don't expect him to come back: his single LJ entry is a huge blob of reeking spam. Trolling in order to get visitors to his block-of-nonsense-followed-by-ad-links? Charming.

Hyep- no problem...btw; here's the relevent charge mentioned

Absent death or use of a firearm, a criminal charge of “Riot” in Minnesota is a gross misdemeanor. Minn. Stat. §609.71.

Dunno how that can be applied, but it's on the books anyway. Now off to look up "riot".

I don't know how it works in Minn., but in Calif, the sherrif has jurisdiction over the jails, unicorporated county lands, and within those cities which contract with them to provide primary policing.

In other words, if the deputies from LACSD were to show up at my door with a warrant, as the lead agency, the warrant would be invalid on it's face.

TK

Yep; used to live in Alameda, and there are some really odd-shaped jurisdiction laws there. The RCSD does have the same jurisdiction areas you do, plus they're involved through contracts with the city of St. Paul, the Capitol buildings, and I know at least (at least) White Bear Lake, Shoreview, North Oaks, and Vadnais Heights (learned in a rather high-speed and convoluted route in High School, alas). All of which are very much incorporated towns. They also supply forces for the State Fair grounds, and events such as the RNC, and other big whoop-te-doos like the St. Patrick's Day parade. They have training duties for evasive driving, riot police, rescue/recovery diving, issue firearm permits for the county and a pile of other crap. Their warrents tend to be sound.

I also have been assured by my brother that they have special standing orders to shoot me (they'll only cite other citizens) if I so much as jaywalk in the county, as my brother tends to not want me to compliate his day, me being the commie pinko liberal public radio worker of the family, much to his shame.

Oh, now, I very much hope he doesn't do that, as I would hate to have to go smack him for it.

Well, I'd have to try, anyway.

Probably best that you avoid jaywalking. Yup.

Well, yeah. A guy could look kinda dumb, getting plugged for jay walking...

This may just be a 'brother' thing...

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