The Ramsey County Sheriff is suddenly in the spotlight for orchestrating raids, days before the Republican National Convention was to begin. This is after one Twin Cities mayor, visiting Denver, which had a very heavy police presence, promised a more “low key approach.”
In a news release today, Fletcher defended the raids on the RNC Welcoming Committee:
The “Welcoming Committee” is a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self- described anarchists who are intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention. These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers. They have recruited assistance in their criminal conspiracy from other anarchists groups throughout the country. Through their plans and actions they have exhibited a blatant disregard for the law and the safety of others
The raids have launched Fletcher into the spotlight, but the raids are not his first encounter with controversy. This week, two of his “close friends” were convicted of stealing money during an FBI sting operation. (Background here) He has “reinvented” the sheriff’s office, “expanding its reach, doubling its budget and polarizing its ranks. His high-profile approach has strayed into empire-building, some believe, and he now faces a rare threat that could make this term his last,” according to a profile in the Star Tribune last week. He’s the subject of a blog Fletcher Exposed. He survived an attempt to make his position appointed, rather than elected. He’s a Republican, headquartered in a city run by Democrats. In 2004, he had his agency arrest his teenage son. In 2003, he confiscated questions on cards submitted to a League of Women Voters Ward 5 council debate, after one anonymous question alleged a relationship between Fletcher and one of the candidates. That prompted a citizens group to launch a petition drive to oust him. It failed.
(Photo: ©2003 Minnesota Public Radio/Laura McCallum)
About the blogger
Bob Collins has been with Minnesota Public Radio since 1992, emigrating to Minnesota from Massachusetts where he was vice president of programming for Berkshire Broadcasting Company. Previously, he was an editor at the RKO Radio network in New York, and WHDH Radio in Boston. He is the founder of the MPR News’ website.