Do Saint Paul Cops deserve a raise?
Posted in the Minnesota Forum
Saint Paul, MN
#1 Oct 18, 2013
In recent years, the Saint Paul Police Department has been the target of several well-publicized lawsuits alleging egregious acts of illegitimate use of force, brutality and abuse of power against many vulnerable people in the community including persons with disabilities, people of color, journalists, peaceful activists and defenseless citizens.
Although the Saint Paul City Council has denied wrongdoing in most, if not all, of the cases alleging police misconduct, since 2006, the city has agreed to settle its unwinnable lawsuits with awards ranging from $93,450 to $400,000. Settling these lawsuits has cost the taxpayers of St. Paul and Minnesota millions of dollars, and has now become quite simply the cost of doing “police business.”
While the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars were being used to fund police abuses and brutality, Mayor Coleman justified increasing the city's property tax levy by an average of 7% per year to - among a number of things- cover the escalating costs of the police department from 2006 to 2011.
The public should be outraged that the same SPPD cops who suppress and abuse the poor, trample over innocent civilians’ rights, disenfranchise people of color through excessive use of force or discriminatory enforcement of the law, violate civil liberties and cost the taxpayers millions in lawsuits ever day are the very same people asking for a 10% salary increase.
Saint Paul, MN
#2 Oct 18, 2013
Examples of well-publicized Saint Paul Police abuses in Minnesota:
In 2006, a hearing-impaired man was pepper-sprayed, dragged out his car and beaten by a police officer after requesting written communication with the officer.(Citation 1)
In 2008, armed groups of police raided more than half-a-dozen private homes in a series of "preemptive raids" before a presidential nominating convention. Police illegally seized literature and educational materials such as pamphlets and other constitutionally-protected forms of free speech from peaceful activists, journalists, and other innocent civilians.(Citation 2)
In 2009, an elite multi-jurisdiction law enforcement unit, named Metro Gang Strike Force, was shut down after numerous complaints that GSF officers “broke through people’s doors without justification, seized property without authorization, and injured citizens who were not suspects.”(Citation 3)
In 2010, police raided a home to search for cocaine in a home occupied by a disabled African American woman and her son. According to a local news report, when the son “tried to explain that his mother had physical problems, police kicked him in the head and caused his face to smash the floor, breaking his nose and cutting his face. Officers then threw a ‘flash-bang’ grenade at [the disabled mother], causing her to catch fire and suffer third-degree burns on her thighs and the bottoms of her feet.” The police found no cocaine in the search.(Citation 4)
In 2011, a woman was taken to the ER and administered “more than 300 stitches after she reported a police officer threw her through a glass door and then falsely claimed she caused her own injuries by tripping.”(Citation 5)
Citation 1: Gottfried, Mara. "Deaf motorist who got $93K from St. Paul hopes police learn from arrest incident." TwinCities.com -Pioneer Press 05/09/2013: 2. Internet.
Citation 2: ACLU. "ACLU Sues St. Paul and Minneapolis For Release Of Educational Materials Seized During Raids." 09/04/2008: 1. Internet.
Citation 3: Furst, Randy. "Victims of Metro Gang Strike Force awarded $840,000." Star Tribune 07/23/2012: 2. Internet.
Citation 4: Olson, Rochelle."St. Paul prepares to settle police brutality case for $400,000." Startribune 11/7/2012: 1. Internet.
Citation 5: Olson, Rochelle. "St. Paul to pay $270,000 in a police brutality case." StarTribune 03/07/2011: 1. Internet.
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