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

A number of other cities, too, will pay $280,000 to settle the suit brought by former police officer Ann Rasmusson, who claimed hundreds of police officers around the state illegally viewed her driver’s license data.

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.

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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.”