5/11/2010 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Appeal in Fong Lee Case
  • Courtwatch for Paul Hansen
  • Courtwatch for RNC 8
  • Volunteers Needed for Charter Amendment
  • Court Requires Dolan to Follow the Law
  • On Eve of Fong Lee Appeal: Killer Cop Put Back on the Force

Appeal in Fong Lee Case

Wednesday, May 12
Press Conference at 8:00 a.m.
Hearing at 9:00 a.m.
Federal Courthouse
316 N Robert Street, St. Paul

Join us for a rally and press conference starting at 8:00 a.m. at the courthouse.  This case has great significance to the community, especially in light of today's rehiring of the murderer cop Jason Anderson (see below).  An all white outstate jury ruled in May 2009 that Andersen was justified in shooting the unarmed Fong Lee in the back as he fled, after Andersen ran him down with his squad car and knocked him off his bicycle.  Join this family in their struggle to gain some measure of justice in this truly horrifying incident.


Courtwatch for Paul Hansen

Wednesday, May 12 at 1:30 p.m.
"Public Safety" Building (new jail)
401 4th St, Minneapolis

Some of you joined us a couple of years ago when we protested the Newport City Council over ongoing harassment by the local police of CUAPB board member Paul Hansen.  Paul continues to experience harassment from police.  In this latest incident, he was changing the locks on a rental property he owns when cops accused him of having a knife.  When they searched him and none was found, he was charged with felony terroristic threats.  They handcuffed him so tight that his wrists bled before handing him a ticket.  This is just the latest in a long string of bogus charges.  We need to let the cops know that we have Paul's back.


Courtwatch for RNC 8

Thursday, May 13
Friday, May 14
9:00 a.m. each day
Ramsey County Courthouse
15 W Kellogg, St. Paul
Carpools leave each morning at 8:00 a.m. from Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis

This is the second week of pretrial hearings in the RNC 8 case.  Last week's hearings were on whether there is even a basis for the charges against the 8 and from the pathetic testimony of the cops, the bogus nature of this prosecution is becoming more apparent.  For great coverage of last week's hearings, see reports on Twin Cities Indymedia.  Chris Dugger, who spied on the RNC Welcoming Committee in exchange for a job as a Ramsey County Sheriff's Deputy, will testify next.  This should be really exciting.


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: NEW INITIATIVE TO HOLD COPS ACCOUNTABLE

During last weekend's Mayday festival, CUAPB launched a new initiative to amend the Minneapolis city charter so that police officers will have to purchase individual professional liability policies to cover police brutality and misconduct.  This initiative is long overdue as misconduct by the cops costs taxpayers millions each year--money that could have been used for housing homeless people, keeping our libraries open or any number of other important items.  Not only will this relieve the burden from taxpayers but it is an ingenious way to add an element of risk management to local policing--if a police officer gets too many complaints/lawsuits, he or she will be dropped by the insurance company and would no longer be able to be a cop in Minneapolis.

For this initiative to be successful, we have to get it on the ballot and that means we need to collect the signatures of 15,000 registered Minneapolis voters by July 1.  That's where you come in. We need lots of canvassers to go door to door in selected neighborhoods in Minneapolis to explain the charter amendment and ask people to sign to put it on the ballot.  From our work last weekend, we found that many people are eager to sign on once we explain the amendment.  You'll work on a team with others and will be trained and have a script to follow.

If you can be part of this historic effort, please come to a training session on Saturday, May 15 at 4:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis or call our hotline at 612-874-7867 to let us know you can help.


ONE STEP FORWARD: COURT REQUIRES DOLAN TO FOLLOW THE LAW
In response to our writ petition filed back on February 12, Judge Susan Burke issued an order requiring Minneapolis Police Chief Timothy Dolan to “comply with Minneapolis Ordinance § 172.130.”  Judge Burke further ordered that Chief Dolan “shall show cause before this court why he has not done so on June 4, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 757 of the Hennepin County Government Center.”  Folks, you are going to want to mark that date on your calendar as that hearing should be one great show!
 
Under Minneapolis ordinance 172.130, the police chief is required to make disciplinary decisions on sustained CRA cases “based on the adjudicated facts as determined by the civilian review authority board.”
 
The recently released CRA 2009 Annual Report and the previously released CRA Participation in Performance Review of MPD Chief Dolan provide ample documentation of Chief Dolan’s refusal to accept CRA findings and refusal to discipline based on those findings.  The 2009 Annual Report states “the MPD continued to use insufficient evidence and disagreement with the evidence as a reason for not imposing corrective action on officers who received sustained complaints” (p. 20-21).  This report also cites a new excuse by the chief for not disciplining complaints­that of the investigation taking “too long.”  For a discussion of this issue, see p. 29 of the report.  The 2009 Annual Report can be found at < http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cra/docs/2009-Annual-Report043010.pdf > and the CRA Participation in Performance Review of MPD Chief Dolan can be found at < http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cra/docs/CRA-Board_Chief-Dolan_review_2009.pdf >.
 
In a companion ruling, Judge Burke set a trial schedule in the matter of whether CRA Board Chair Don Bellfield adequately responded to a requirement in the CRA ordinance that he submit notice to Minneapolis City Council’s Executive Committee of Chief Dolan’s failure to follow the discipline section of the CRA ordinance and that this failure could subject Chief Dolan to discipline.  With this ruling, we are two for two against the city's shenanigans for shielding Dolan from the law.

Judge: MPD chief must explain discipline decisions

Created: 05/10/2010 10:51 PM KSTP.com By: Becky Nahm
http://kstp.com/news/stories/S1553383.shtml?cat=1

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Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan will be required to tell a Hennepin County judge why he did not discipline police officers found to be at fault by a citizen review board.

A judge ordered Dolan to appear in court in June.

The ruling is a victory for the group Communities United Against Police Brutality.

In February, the group filed a lawsuit, saying Dolan failed to punish officers even after the Civilian Police Review Authority sustained complaints against them.


TWO STEPS BACK: ON EVE OF FONG LEE APPEAL, KILLER COP PUT BACK ON FORCE

Hold your stomachs, folks--the sympathetic tone of this article will really make you ill.  Note that no one from the community was interviewed for a response.  This is an old pattern--pretty much every cop fired after an incident of excessive or deadly force who appeals to the arbitrator gets rehired.  Folks will remember that Mike Sauro was reinstated after costing the city $3 million.  All the more reason to be at the Fong Lee hearing tomorrow.

Fired Minneapolis police officer in Fong Lee case is ordered rehired
By David Hanners
Updated: 05/11/2010 07:33:53 PM CDT
http://www.twincities.com/ci_15064684?nclick_check=1

An arbitrator has ruled that Minneapolis Chief of Police Tim Dolan was wrong to fire Jason Andersen, the officer involved in the 2006 shooting of Fong Lee, and has ordered the cop reinstated with back pay.

Dolan fired Andersen for allegedly violating the department's code of ethics; the firing came after a prosecutor dropped a misdemeanor domestic assault charge that had been filed against Andersen.

"It feels good to be vindicated," the officer said in a statement released by his father, Steven Andersen. "I'm anxious to get back to work and serve the citizens of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department administration with pride."

The 33-year-old officer was fired four months after a jury in a federal wrongful-death trial found that he did not use excessive force in the July 2006 shooting of Fong Lee. Andersen shot the 19-year-old eight times after he said the Hmong man began to raise a pistol towards the officer.

Dolan had long defended Andersen's actions, even returning him to duty before the department's own investigation into the shooting was complete. But after the verdict, some of Andersen's colleagues expressed concern that even though he'd been cleared of wrongdoing, the publicity created by the trial ­ and the rift the shooting had left in the Hmong community ­ had left him a marked man.

When the chief fired Andersen, the Minneapolis Police Federation filed a grievance, and today the union's vice president said the union was pleased with the arbitrator's ruling.

"We're obviously very happy," said Lt. Bob Kroll. "Jason's looking forward to getting back to work. He's one of these guys who was born to be a cop."

Sgt. Jesse Garcia III, a spokesman for the police department, said he hadn't heard of the ruling and couldn't comment.

He said Dolan was not available for comment.

Fred Bruno, the attorney who represented Andersen in the domestic assault case, said he was glad the arbitrator ruled in the officer's favor.

"I always thought that thing stunk from the beginning, so I'm happy to hear that," he said. "He's a single dad with kids and a mortgage, so he deserves it."

Andersen had been placed on paid administrative leave after he was arrested June 14 following an incident at his Big Lake home. His ex-wife had called a Big Lake policeman and complained that Andersen had struck his girlfriend.

Both Andersen and his girlfriend were charged with misdemeanor domestic assault. Sherburne County prosecutors soon dismissed the charge against the woman, and on Sept. 2, the charge against Andersen was dropped as well.

Prosecutors said there wasn't enough admissible evidence that Andersen had broken the law.

Bruno then asked the department to reinstate the officer, a second-generation cop who had joined the Minneapolis police department in August 2005. But the domestic assault cause had sparked an internal affairs investigation; a disciplinary panel recommended to Dolan that the officer be fired, and the chief agreed.

Andersen was told that he had violated the department's single-paragraph Code of Ethics, which reads:

"All sworn and civilian members of the department shall conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner at all times and not engage in any on- or off-duty conduct that would tarnish or offend the ethical standards of the department. Employees shall abide by the City's Ethics in Government Policy, Chapter 15."

"I think from the get-go, the city's case was baseless," said Kroll. "We think that the arbitrator came to the right conclusion. It was a right and just decision."

Andersen's father, Steven Andersen, said that his son is "a public servant through and through" and that he had learned from the experience.

"He's grown as a person," said the elder Andersen, a retired Beltrami county sheriff's deputy. "He's grown in his faith, I think he's matured a lot over this. There's been some real growth in his life. And he's not bitter. When he called me (to tell him of the ruling) there was absolutely not a breath of bitterness from him. He was just elated that he can go back and continue to serve the citizens of the community. That's what he wants to do."


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