consultants are sandburs

Monday, September 07, 2015

While Republican legislators Mack and Kelly now decline to press matters further and are paying off citations issued them; the question of law enforcement integrity in the process appears to still need cleaning up.

Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie, in a post titled, "Do law enforcement officers lie? Dakota County should investigate Mack and Kelly accusations," raised concerns not yet put to bed by the capitulation of the legislatures on paying and not contesting the citations.

In a remaining relevant part of that post, Sorensen wrote:

Gustavus Adolphus College computer science and math professor Max Hailperin commented in a discussion of the article:

Indeed. It is all well and good that the sheriff has such faith in his deputy, but in the face of such a serious allegation against that deputy, he ought to treat it with corresponding seriousness. He ought to request the county attorney name an investigator unconnected to the Sheriff's Department to conduct a through, transparent investigation into the allegations against the deputy. That investigation would presumably not be limited to the statements by the three parties, but would also examine any evidence that might tend to corroborate either version of the events, such as communication between the deputy and dispatch, Mr. Kelly's photos, and any textual communication between Mr. Kelly and Ms. Mack from before or after the incident.

Hailperin is referencing these parts of the Pioneer Press story:

Kelly said he had had simply met Mack to receive some documents when an officer approached their vehicle about a parking violation.

“When we met, a park ranger approached my vehicle and told me I was double-parked. I disputed his characterization and got out of the car to take a picture. He became visibly agitated and returned to his own car,” Kelly said in a statement to the Pioneer Press. “Approximately ten minutes later, he returned to my vehicle with a parking ticket citing a nuisance. When I asked what that meant, he responded ‘whatever I want it to mean.’”

[link in original, itaics added] That ten minute gap between initial encounter and "Here's a citation," is reminiscent of the Nixon tapes eighteen minute gap; in that it screams for disclosure of what transpired between the initial encounter and the decision to cite; especially what role communications - which should be preserved still - between the ranger and headquarters weighed in causing the young park ranger to cite the legislators. From reporting, the Dakota County Sheriff, himself, has chosen to be reticent about any such detail.

Who said what back and forth over the sheriff's radio channel during that ten minute period? In such an encounter situation ten minutes is a long time, and what if the legislators had shown the good sense in that intervening time to simply attempt to drive away? Would they have been intercepted?

Don't we deserve to know such things, in order for the public to respect not only the law, but also those holding discretionary enforcement power?

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