As seen in...
The Atlantic
The Economist
Washington Post
ABC News
National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Rogue Metro Gang “Strike Force”

From the Star Tribune:

A toddler, not yet 2 years old, was kicked in the head by a Metro Gang Strike Force officer and his crib was destroyed during a botched drug raid. The government’s payout to the child: $6,000.

A Lincoln Navigator SUV, seized by the Strike Force, was returned to the owner 18 months later, with 20,000 more miles on it. Payout to the owner: $25,000.

In other raids, officers improperly seized a blender, class rings, an ice augur and a stump digger. One man lost some Twins baseball hats he said were autographed by Joe Mauer. His compensation: $2,000 if the caps are not returned.

The stories and payouts to 96 victims of the now-defunct Strike Force, cited in 600 pages of documents released last week in a class-action lawsuit, provide the most detailed picture yet of an out-of-control police squad, and put a price on every wrongful seizure, unjustified punch or dubious raid.

The $3 million suit was filed on July 30, 2009, less than two weeks after the scandal-ridden unit, made up of officers from metro agencies, was shut down by then-Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion. The collapse of the Metro Gang Strike Force revealed widespread illegal behavior by officers and prompted new laws and policies designed to improve oversight and accountability of police in Minnesota. …

In August 2006, Strike Force officers and the Minneapolis police SWAT unit broke into a residence, based on an informant’s information about the sale of cocaine. They found a small amount of marijuana, but no cocaine or two drug dealers they were looking for. An officer tried to kick a woman, but instead kicked her toddler. A photo showed a bruise on his forehead. A $289 crib was destroyed.

In its defense, the Strike Force called it “a high-risk raid and that officers are permitted to use force commensurate with the danger,” Gehan wrote.

“I am unable to discern why it would be necessary to kick claimant’s mother,” Gehan wrote, issuing a $6,000 award.

And this:

The payouts come from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which insured the Strike Force. About $2 million will be used for training law enforcement statewide on proper seizure methods and racial and cultural sensitivity.

Training??  Like … “Remember people!  Y’all can’t just take flat screen TVs whenever you want to.  Or take cash away from Hispanics.”   One wonders where these officers are now and what they’ve been doing since these incidents.



Creative Commons License
This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.