Here’s Part III of Joel Rosenberg’s side of his encounter with Minneapolis Police sergeant Bill Palmer last month.
The incident was the subject of a fairly egregious bit of lousy reporting by the City Pages, among others.
And so, we finally arrive at the point of this particular part of the exercise, where we get to the crimes that Bill Palmer committed when he lunged at me, took my gun without authority, acting under color of law and authority, and only gave it back — and only let me continue to examine the public data that he, as MPD Data Practices Officer, had invited me to Tim Dolan’s office to examine — when I submitted to his unlawful order to remove it from City Hall.
And, let’s once again, look at the law, as it’s written, with some emphasis added.
Subdivision 1. Acts constituting. Whoever orally or in writing makes any of the following threats and thereby causes another against the other’s will to do any act or forbear doing a lawful act is guilty of coercion and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 2:
(1) a threat to unlawfully inflict bodily harm upon, or hold in confinement, the person threatened or another, when robbery or attempt to rob is not committed thereby; or
(2) a threat to unlawfully inflict damage to the property of the person threatened or another; or
(3) a threat to unlawfully injure a trade, business, profession, or calling; or
(4) a threat to expose a secret or deformity, publish a defamatory statement, or otherwise to expose any person to disgrace or ridicule; or
(5) a threat to make or cause to be made a criminal charge, whether true or false; provided, that a warning of the consequences of a future violation of law given in good faith by a peace officer or prosecuting attorney to any person shall not be deemed a threat for the purposes of this section.
Whoever violates subdivision 1 may be sentenced as follows:
(1) to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or to payment of a fine of not more than $1,000, or both if neither the pecuniary gain received by the violator nor the loss suffered by the person threatened or another as a result of the threat exceeds $300, or the benefits received or harm sustained are not susceptible of pecuniary measurement; or
(2) to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both, if such pecuniary gain or loss is more than $300 but less than $2,500; or
(3) to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both, if such pecuniary gain or loss is $2,500, or more.
History: 1963 c 753 art 1 s 609.27; 1971 c 23 s 40; 1977 c 355 s 7; 1983 c 359 s 87; 1984 c 628 art 3 s 11; 1986 c 444; 2004 c 228 art 1 s 72
609.43 MISCONDUCT OF PUBLIC OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.
A public officer or employee who does any of the following, for which no other sentence is specifically provided by law, may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both:
(1) intentionally fails or refuses to perform a known mandatory, nondiscretionary, ministerial duty of the office or employment within the time or in the manner required by law; or
(2) in the capacity of such officer or employee, does an act knowing it is in excess of lawful authority or knowing it is forbidden by law to be done in that capacity; or
(3) under pretense or color of official authority intentionally and unlawfully injures another in the other’s person, property, or rights; or
(4) in the capacity of such officer or employee, makes a return, certificate, official report, or other like document having knowledge it is false in any material respect.
History: 1963 c 753 art 1 s 609.43; 1984 c 628 art 3 s 11; 1986 c 444
Lets review the bidding, shall we?
Palmer threatened to arrest me if I didn’t leave. He had no right to arrest me; none at all, regardless of his interpretation of the court order. (I’ll get to that in a minute.) Doesn’t matter what the judge’s interpretation of the court order is, either, for the same reason. It’s null and void, and WOULD BE constitutionally overbroad with regard to the Minneapolis City Hall, if it applied to City Hall at all.
It doesn’t. I’ll get back to that again.
Whoever orally … makes any of the following threats and thereby causes another against the other’s will to do any act or forbear doing a lawful act is guilty of coercion….
a threat to unlawfully…hold in confinement…. (that’s the threat of arrest that Palmer made, repeatedly. Let’s keep going) a threat to make or cause to be made a criminal charge
609.43 Misconduct of a public officer …
A public officer or employee …. does an act knowing it is in excess of lawful authority… or intentionally and unlawfully injures another in the other’s rights…
Which is why Palmer’s lawyered up.
One last, minor thing. “But wait, you say; there was a court order for Minneapolis City Hall at 300 South Fifth Street. It might be questionable, but until the courts determine that it’s invalid, you have to abide by it, Joel. That court order, just as it was written, was effective on that date — Craig Steiner, the head of Minneapolis Data Practices, told you so.”
And I’ve shared with you a copy of that court order, which was, arguably (not very, but a weak argument could be made) effective on that date for 300 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis City Hall.
Let’s take Bill Palmer’s word for it that he was familiar with this court order. He’d read it, he studied it, and by God he was going to enforce it. He was going to grab me, to threaten me to compel me not to carry at 300 South Fifth Street.
The address of Minneapolis City Hall, though, is at 350 South 5th Street. It says so, right on their official web page.
Hell, you can ask Bill Palmer that. He should know. He works there. At 350th South 5th Street.
Ask him, but remember, he does have the right to remain silent. He had that right in Tim Dolan’s office, too. He had the right to remain silent; he had the right to keep his hands to himself; he had the right to not engage in coercion or misconduct. He had every right to not grab my property — and no right whatsoever to take it, without my permission — at all. He had no right to hold it as a hostage to my compliance to his unlawful demands.
He had the right to not commit any crime at all.
He did not, however, have the ability.
Too bad that you can’t find a City Attorney around when you need one to draw up a summons and warrant, isn’t it?
Susan Seigel, Minneapolis City Attorney: please have one of your prosecutors draw up papers and charge the son of a bitch?
Thanks in advance.
More on this story coming up, I have a hunch, this week.