As the face of the Minnesota State Patrol in western Minnesota, Sgt. Jesse Grabow, the public information officer, has been expert as using social media to get people to drive more safely. He often uses the hashtag #SlowDown.
Now Sgt. Grabow is in trouble. He’s been charged with driving 94 mph in a 55 mph zone while on duty, the Forum Communications reports.
“Sgt. Jesse Grabow, a 17-year veteran and valued member of our agency, erred in judgment and broke the law when he was observed speeding on duty without cause,” Col. Matt Langer said in a statement. “We take this very seriously and have initiated an internal affairs investigation now that the city attorney has completed his review.”
The incident on Minnesota 210 happened in April and the State Patrol has not said why it’s taken two months to file speeding charges against Sgt. Grabow.
(Update 1:29 p.m. – A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety says the incident was being reviewed by prosecutors.)
A police officer jumps out of his squad car to detain a suspect. He leaves his squad car unlocked and running, given the situation. The suspect eventually jumps into the police vehicle, takes off, crashes into another car, killing its driver and seriously injuring its passenger.
Is the police officer liable for the death and injuries?
Today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals refused to provide immunity to Crookston, Minn., police officer Don Rasicot, who is being sued by the widow of Eddie Briggs, who was killed when suspect Richard Mello crashed the police car in September 2011.
Patricia Briggs alleges negligence, wrongful death, and negligent infliction of emotional distress against Rasicot and the city of Crookston, because a city ordinance makes it unlawful to leave a vehicle running when unattended.
Minnesota law provides immunity to a public official who is charged by law with duties calling for the exercise of his judgment or discretion from being held personally liable for damages unless the official acted willfully or maliciously.
But the Court of Appeals turned aside Rasicot’s assertion that he is immune from the civil suit, saying he should’ve known the Crookston laws.
It said he wasn’t in pursuit, because he and another officer were closing in on the suspect in a bar and he hadn’t yet fled.
“Officer Rasicot was investigating a damage-to-property complaint and there is no evidence that anyone was in immediate danger,” Judge Michael Kirk wrote in today’s decision (pdf).
He did not activate the lights or sirens of his vehicle when responding to Officer Bergquist’s request for backup, which is clearly required by police department policy when responding to an emergency.
Only after Officer Rasicot parked his squad vehicle, leaving it unattended with the engine running, entered the bar, and confronted Mello did the situation develop into an emergency.
Judge Kirk also ruled that the city of Crookston is not immune from the lawsuit.
Artist Niki Johnson created “Eggs Benedict,” in which she used 17,000 condoms to fashion a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI.
“This was never intended to be derisive, mocking or disrespectful of the pope,” museum board of trustees president Don Layden tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It was to have a conversation about AIDS and AIDS education. And my hope is when the piece appears in the museum that will be the focus of the discussion.”
That’s a hard one to believe, says Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki.
“What’s at play here is either an intentional attack on a faith tradition and its teachings or a publicity stunt for the artist,” he said. “And we would be opposed to any faith tradition or religious leader being attacked in such a way.”
The museum bought the piece from gay rights activist Joseph Pabst for $25,000. It will display the portrait this fall.
The museum acknowledges complaints, including canceled memberships, from about 200 people so far, according to the newspaper.
“It seems like in the world of art, the last bastion of acceptable prejudice is Catholic Christians,” said Kathleen Arenz of River Hills, a longtime docent who expressed her disappointment to the museum.
“I’m not a Luddite. I understand that art can be controversial and political,” said Arenz. “As a docent, I feel I’m in an impossible situation. The work is very offensive to me personally. How am I going to justify its artistic integrity and the motives of the curators who acquired it to the people on my tours?”
Another longtime docent severed her ties with the museum over the gift. She declined to be interviewed. At least one donor notified the museum that his company’s foundation would no longer contribute. He did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
The director of the museum is unrepentant.
“Museums do not make decisions about programming based on donors and donations,” Dan Keegan said.
“If museums made their decisions on donor reaction or negative responses to programming, we as a nation and a free society would be far poorer than the loss of a future donation,” he said.
The soap opera in Lake Elmo has taken another turn. The sixth member of the city’s government is quitting, adding to the perception of a city in turmoil following the election of a voting bloc on the City Council. Read more →
We’ll wait for the website before passing judgement, but color us interested in how people can really take control of their financial lives when their existence in the working world depends on the profiteering whims of someone else. Read more →