Bjorn AgainstBjorn Against's Journal
I will probably be accused of spreading conspiracy theories for posting this, but I am not going to offer you any theories. What I am going to do is post some facts that were reported by major Minnesota news outlets and let you decide for yourself whether or not you think something smells rotten. I am not here to make any accusations, but I do think there are some serious questions that need to be asked about this case.
Last summer Officer Scott Patrick of the Mendota Heights Police Department was shot and killed in the line of duty. I live just outside of Mendota Heights and this shooting happened just a few blocks from my sister's house. Mendota Heights a quiet middle class suburban community just outside of Saint Paul. Police shootings are rare around here so Officer Patrick's murder got a lot of media attention but it was not until this week that some very interesting new details were revealed about Officer Patrick, a man who appears to have been a good cop in a very corrupt police department.
Michelle Patrick will now take her husbands place in that lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial days before the anniversary of his death. In an order earlier this month, Dakota County District Judge Martha Simonett granted Michelle Patricks motion to substitute for her husband in a July 27 jury trial.
We lost Scott even before he was actually killed, Michelle Patrick said Thursday, describing the way her husband often brought his displeasure with the department home at night.
Scott Patricks original complaint, filed in February 2014 in Dakota County District Court, accused Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener of retaliating against him for reporting a theft by two other officers in 2008. Patrick also alleged that the department failed to provide adequate written notice regarding the nature of an internal affairs investigation before a 2012 disciplinary hearing.
Officer Patrick's widow is continuing the fight her late husband started, she is working to expose the corruption in the department.
According to the lawsuit, the trouble began 7 years ago, when Officer Patrick saw 2 fellow officers moving a picnic table to city hall from the old Lilydale Tennis Club, which was being demolished. Patrick reported what he considered to be a property theft by city employees to Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener, who, according to the lawsuit, thought it wasn't theft but a "mistake in judgment." Patrick filed a complaint against the chief alleging "a pattern of questionable ethics and criminal violations."
Patrick documented the retaliation -- what he interpreted as payback. One day, his squad car was moved by a sergeant who parked it just inches away from another squad, keeping Patrick, who was admittedly overweight, from getting into his squad. There was also the time a label of rat poisoning was allegedly slipped into Patrick's locker. The officer didn't tell his wife about either incident. Same story with an email he received from the city shortly before he was killed. The city was offering him a settlement, early retirement, to leave the department.
And just days before he was killed, Patrick was suspended once more, for a day, for failing to turn over the audio recordings he'd made documenting his conversations with the chief.
Earlier this year Brian Fitch was convicted of killing Scott Patrick, it must be noted however that no were no witnesses who saw Brian Fitch at the scene of the crime.
A Stearns County jury of seven men and five women also convicted Fitch of attempted first-degree murder for shooting at three St. Paul police officers who captured him after a shootout.
In his closing arguments prosecutor Phillip Prokopowicz, standing at a lectern facing the jury, said the time has come for justice.
He acknowledged the weakest point in the states case: No one saw Fitch at the scene of Patricks shooting, and witnesses to the crime gave conflicting testimony about who was driving the Pontiac Grand Am that Patrick had pulled over.
As I said in the beginning I am not here to make accusations, what I will say however is that something smells very rotten in Minnesota.
As a person who has participated in literally hundreds of non-violent protests I absolutely hating seeing riots. I know that nearly all protesters are non-violent yet we will all be blamed for the actions of a few who got violent.
It is easy to condemn the violence as I most certainly do, but as we condemn the violence let's not pretend that we can ignore the societal problems that led to this violence.
Baltimore is a city that has suffered a great deal from violence throughout their community. When people are exposed to violence they are more likely to become violent themselves. If we have a society in which the police use violence against the community then we should not be surprised when members of that community respond with violence of their own.
You can say that is no excuse and I would agree with you, it is not an excuse. We should not be looking for excuses however, instead we need to start addressing the root causes of violence so that we can create a society in which people don't feel the need to riot.
I will condemn the violent protesters, but I will support the non-violent protesters as well and I will be joining them in the street in the near future just as I have many times in the past.
I would recommend that everyone who says they support peaceful protest but oppose violent protest to get out there and peacefully protest. If you want to show the rioters a better way then get out there and show them a better way, there are already many peaceful protesters showing that better way and many of us are more than capable of joining them.
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