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St. Paul City Council to vote on $385,000 settlement of cops’ database-peeking case

The St. Paul City Council will vote Wednesday on a $385,000 settlement with Anne Marie Rasmusson, the former police officer who has filed suit asking for compensation because hundreds of law enforcement personnel around the state — including 61 St. Paul police employees — illegally viewed her driver’s license data.

The proposed settlement has been agreed to by the city and by Rasmusson, and also has been approved by a judge. The council approval is the final step.

Rasmusson, the former St. Paul and Eden Prairie police officer, has said she was shocked and devastated to learn that her information was accessed at police departments around the state. She has said that “they weren’t looking me up to see my personality.”

This settlement only affects the St. Paul part of the Rasmusson lawsuit. A separate settlement calls for many other cities to pay her $280,000. But her suit against Minneapolis is still unresolved.

The St. Paul settlement says that the city “expressly denies Ms. Rasmusson’s allegations and liability for Ms. Rasmusson’s alleged damages” but is willing to settle because “the parties wish to settle and resolve all outstanding disputes and claims between them to avoid the uncertainties and costs associated with continued litigation of this matter.”

Police Department spokesman Howie Padilla says that the department cannot comment on whether any of the 61 officers who allegedly peeked at the data will be disciplined, because the investigation into the matter is ongoing.

In police personnel matters, that often means that officials can’t comment until any appeals of disciplinary actions are resolved.

St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing said today that the city agreed to the settlement because it faced the possibility of much higher payments in the case.

“The statutory minimum payment for each ‘lookup’ is $2,500 each, and we had 226 alleged ‘lookups,’ so we were potentially at risk for up to $565,000,” Grewing said.

At Rasmusson’s request, in addition to paying the $385,000 for “complete satisfaction for all damages, medical liens, costs and attorneys fees in this matter,” the settlement says the city also will “remove Ms. Rasmusson’s name, picture, address and any other of her personal information from the City’s and/or St. Paul Police Department’s internal directory, intranet and website.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/16/2012 - 03:20 pm.

    I know better

    but I’d like to see that money come right back out of the officers’ wages. They invaded her privacy, violated the law and stole $385,000 from the people of St. Paul.

  2. Submitted by Mac Riddel on 10/16/2012 - 03:54 pm.

    The Lookup Law…?

    What kind of crazy law demands $2500 in penalties for police officers for looking at personal data for another officer? At most, they should get a slap on the wrist.

    And since this officer lost 100 pounds, I’m sure she was flattered to have her official snapshot viewed by so many. And a $385K payout?? How on Earth did she suffer so much to deserve ANY money?

    I kind of want to find this woman, walk in front of her, and if she glances my way, immediately demand she pay me $2500 or I’m taking her to court. What’s the difference?

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 10/16/2012 - 04:17 pm.

      You don’t see the difference ?? You’ve gotta be kdding

      Then why don’t you publish your address, phone, dob, social security number, etc. here on this site, if you don’t think personal privacy and protection of confidential information are a serious matter ??

      THEN come back and tell us there’s no difference !!

      It isn’t really a question of how much she suffered, although an individual can be seriously harmed, and it should be taken into consideration. But the main focus is responsible custody of private information and professional responsibility by those who use the information system.

      It’s a question of police officers abusing information resources they can lawfully only use in certain ways, and under certain conditions, related to their professional duties. Obviously, they were using these resources to satisfy some idle curiosity, or some other kind of curiosity, that had nothing to do with their official duties.

      The law spells out penalties to discourage this.

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