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Minneapolis police ‘scrutinizer’ comes under scrutiny, too

In today’s department of ironic hiring choices, the Minneapolis Police Department has hired an expert on “how to identify officers with issues,” but, as Reg Chapman from WCCO informs us, the expert apparently has some issues of his own. Specifically, he was “accused of showing photos of his topless wife to a female detective.” When questioned about the wisdom of having such an image on a city computer, he is supposed to have responded by saying, “Oh, I’m not going to worry about it, it’s on my C: drive.” Although this might sound like a scene from the recent Gerard Butler rom-com “The Ugly Truth,” in real life, according to a representative from the Minneapolis Police Federation, it’s no laughing matter; he tells Chapman that the expert “is a guy we wouldn’t hire as a recruit because of his background.” Come to think of it, “The Ugly Truth” was no laughing matter either.

One expects this is part of Police Chief Tim Dolan’s efforts to get a lid on misconduct, as described in a story by Brandt Williams of Minnesota Public Radio. According to Williams, misconduct lawsuits are costing the city a lot of money and causing embarrassing media scrutiny. MPR even provides a helpful graphic of lawsuit settlements, which offers an amazing spike in 2003, when the city paid out more than $6 million in settlements. This year hasn’t been quite so impressive, but the city has paid out about $500,000 to “an unarmed man who was punched in the head by an officer” and more than $600,000 to a Hmong family “after police officers raided their home. A SWAT team, acting on a search warrant, had gone to the wrong address.”

Interestingly, one of the settlements listed in 2003 is to one Mr. Alfred Flowers to the tune of $15,000, who, as far as we can tell, is the very same Al Flowers, community activist, who has recently declared his candidacy for Minneapolis mayor (He references the event on his “Who is Al Flowers” page), Flowers was recently seen attempting to interrupt current mayor R.T. Rybak at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new KMOJ-FM studios in north Minneapolis, and just had charges of marijuana possession dismissed on Friday. David Chanen from the Star Tribune explains what the charges stemmed from: Flowers’ wallet was found in an Edina bedroom belonging to a longtime friend whose boyfriend has past drug convictions. In the room with the wallet, police “confiscated an unspecified amount of marijuana, including two ‘blunts,’ according to the warrant.” Flowers responds to the charges being dropped: “I can never gain back what they did to my reputation,” he tells the Strib. “I’m just happy to move on.”

Tuesday is Election Day, and Minneapolis begins its experiment with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) although, as the City’s own website remind us, Minneapolis prefers to call it “Ranked Choice Voting,” in the way that bureaucrats have of selecting names that nobody will remember or use. But how does it work? “Minneapolis Voters Get 1st, 2nd And 3rd Choices,” the Associated Press helpfully explains. The Star Tribune tries to be more comprehensive, offering up a “What You Need to Know” article, and does its best to explain IRV: “voters designate first, second and third choices for each office, with lower-ranking preferences coming into play if first-choice votes alone don’t produce a winner.” Dawn Stevens from FOX9 also offers up an explanation on video: “Voters choose three candidates in order of preference in each race.”

Sounds simple enough, but let’s not be lulled into a false sense of confidence: Huddlesfield, in England, is having an IRV election today, and at least one Yorkie is offering up the sort of bewildered Tweet that we might be seeing a lot of tomorrow: “on the voting form its asking me to give a Preference of 1 to 5. Does 1 mean first choice or does 5 mean highest ranked?

It’s nice to know that there are a few growing markets in this economy. Motorized La-Z-Boys used by drunk drivers, for instance? Going gangbusters, as FOX9 tells us: The family of Dennis LeRoy Anderson, the Proctor fellow who recently pleaded guilty to riding his motorized recliner, put the unusual piece of home furnishing up for auction on eBay. So far, with just a day left in the auction, bids for the item have topped $40,000.

Anybody who was out driving on Saturday night must have noticed the visible police presence for Halloween and, so far, it seems like it was a pretty quiet one. Except, of course, in Ham Lake, where a house party got out of control when some interlopers produced knives. WCCO’s Maya Nishikawa gets credit for an interview with one of the house party’s hosts, who produces one extraordinary quote after another. There’s this one, for instance: “They were ready, they came here, they found some homemade knives, they all had knives.” They found some homemade knives? What? Well, what did they do with them? “When I came down the driveway, ‘What’s going on?’ And I seen a knife sticking out of my buddy’s back and a guy with a black glove and a coat on with a knife in his back.” Good Lord! That must have ruined the party! “Overall, it was a good time, a good party until there were those few people who ruined it for everybody.”

Paul Walsh from the Star Tribune offers up a story about Denny Hecker’s Medina mansion, which is going for the bargain basement price of $5.6 million (“down from $6.5 million,” Walsh tells us. Hopefully Walsh doesn’t read his own stories in the Strib’s RSS feed, where the item has been posted with the title “That’s one Hecker of a house for sale“; a title like that is enough to make a journalist cry. Just break down and cry.

As you might remember, the last time Brett Favre played against his former home as a Viking, things got a little crazy: Bars planned to burn Favre memorabilia, and one person was caught with a sacrificial Favre goat. Things haven’t exactly quieted down: Packers fans held a mock funeral for Favre, as KARE11’s Boyd Huppert tells us, also reporting on the Packers enthusiast who has a Favre tattoo on her back (The money quote: “‘The first time cheering on the Vikings, I’m like what did I just say? I can’t believe I’m cheering on the Vikings,’ says Hoard with a hand over her face.”). Packers fans booed Favre, and he responded by kicking their team’s collective butts.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 11/02/2009 - 10:47 am.

    It’s never a REAL party in Ham Lake until the homemade knives come out, max.

  2. Submitted by Pat McGee on 11/02/2009 - 01:19 pm.

    MPR should check into how much Roco Forte has cost the city too. Culture of intimidation is what the City of Minneapolis is.

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