Pointergate is back with a new participant, TV station says

Add Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman to the list of politicians embroiled in Pointergate, the KSTP story alleging Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was flashing gang signs with a felon during a get-out-the-vote effort in North Minneapolis in October.

KMSP is reporting Freeman has refused to charge the man — Navell Gordon — with being a felon in possession of a handgun after DNA tests showed Gordon’s DNA on a gun used in a robbery.

The investigator on the case has been transferred to another unit.

KMSP reporter Tom Lyden says Freeman’s office wouldn’t talk and police officials wouldn’t comment on the investigator’s demotion.

Whether anyone is bad or good, suddenly seems beside the point. Is the MPD front office and prosecutors taking a pass on a case too hot to handle? Is the detective carrying water for a union, who can’t let go of its grudge with the mayor? Like so many cases lately, this one is fraught with race and politics. It’s hard to know where exactly to point the finger.

The police union has filed a grievance on behalf of the investigator.

  • Gary F

    Not prosecuting hand gun violations? Hhhhmmmmmm.

    They are not making a very good case for more gun control when the don’t enforce the current laws.

    Tom Lydon, or MPR for that sake, should ask Heather Mertens what she thinks of not prosecuting gun crime.

    • I’d be interested in an actual legal analysis of whether DNA on a gun not in someone’s possession constitutes “possession.”

      • Gary F

        Looks like this would make a good Law and Order or Blue Bloods episode. Lots of politics involved.

        Would this be handled differently if it wasn’t part of Pointergate?

      • Thomas Mercier

        Bob, let’s not let reason get in the way of politics, ratings or emotions.

  • KTN

    Seems right. Freeman has authority to prosecute or not, and mere DNA only shows that Gordon once touched that gun, but that the gun was in his hand during a robbery, that threshold, beyond a reasonable doubt might be harder to prove.

    • Gary F

      How about asking Gordon if he has a carry permit? Of course he has a MN Permit to purchase! His gun shouldn’t be in public if he doesn’t have a carry permit. If his gun was in public and not in his possession, he should report a stolen gun.

      Oh, wait, he’s a felon.

    • jon

      Doesn’t even show that he touched the gun… what it shows is that his dna was on the gun.
      Ever sneeze into a gloved hand? Ever loss a glove? Some one else finds it, now your dna could be lots of places you’ve never been.
      Sounds preposterous? Or is it reasonable doubt.
      Seems like even with out pointer gate this is a hard case to prosecute, unless there is allot more evidence that no one is mentioning, because of…um…race and or politics or some other such nonsense, we can speculate about cause the simplest explanation can’t be the right one, unless of course it ashes with our political lens and other assorted beliefs…

  • DavidG

    If I’m not mistaken, Lydon admitted post story that it’s not uncommon for charges to not be filed. I believe he said that charges aren’t filed for for various reasons almost 30% of the time.

    • Gary F

      For felons possessing a handgun? 30% ? Maybe that’s our problem.

      And they say we need more gun control laws. Yikes.

      • KTN

        Like some felons can vote, some can also own a firearm. Depends where you are in your release and if you have completed your probation etc. Not a clear line, which is why there is so much confusion about this.

        • Gary F

          So you think he had a permit to carry? Really?

          • BJ

            permit to carry is not required to own or possess a gun, but as the story said if he had possessed it it would have been a violation.

          • Gary F

            It is illegal to have an uncased handgun on public property unless you have a carry permit.

            We will have to wait to see the details. If there was significant DNA on the slide/magazine or wheel, grip, and trigger, that means he held it, loaded it, and racked it.

            He’s a felon, he’s not supposed to do that. Unless he’s connected with the mayor and part of a media bruhaha.

          • BJ

            No where does it imply that he had an uncased handgun on public property. The story only IMPLIES that he at some point MIGHT have held the weapon.

            That is why no charges have been filed.

            At this time no one has come forward to say he actually held the weapon.

            If someone shows you a weapon, hands it to you to look at then hand it back is that ‘possessing’ it? I don’t know. I don’t know if that is what happened.

            Where was the DNA? Did someone shove the gun to his head and the DNA was at the end of the barrel? I’m pretty sure that would not be considered ‘possessing’ a weapon. We have not been given that info, so jumping to conclusions is fun on the internet, but should not be used to convict someone.

            Then again being ‘connected’ to the mayor by working on a get out the vote campaign and spending 5 minutes posing for photos does have a lot of ‘pull’ in the County attorney’s office, so there is that.

      • BJ

        >For felons possessing a handgun?

        All crimes

  • davehoug

    GREAT reason for unions to exist. No matter the cause for a workplace dispute, it is comforting to know you will be represented by a group that is on your side.

  • AngryHumanoid

    He’s not charging him because the list of reasons why his DNA could be on a gun are too long. Maybe before he was a felon he held it once at a gun range. Maybe he picked it up at a gun store once, maybe someone he was with handed it to him. Maybe he sneezed on it. A better question would be if there was a way to see the age of the DNA material on the gun to determine WHEN he held it, but if they had evidence that solid (that it happened after his conviction) then we likely wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  • Also, if the DNA evidence was enough to show he “possessed” the gun, wouldn’t it also be enough to charge him with the stickup outside the Denny’s?

    Were this charge and subsequent conviction be appealed, the Appeals or Supreme Court would turn to its favorite legal resource to determine these sorts of things: the dictionary.

    I would submit that “possession” involves control or ownership while DNA can only prove contact, not control nor ownership.

    Curiously, we’re back to the same questions with Lyden that we had with Jay Kolls.

    • AngryHumanoid

      That’s the problem with relying solely on DNA evidence in a situation like this. Put it this way: I have handled dozens upon dozens of firearms in the Atlanta area at ranges, gun stores, and gun shows. Given that a lot of guns used in criminal acts in other states come from Georgia it is conceivable that my DNA is on a gun that was used in a crime somewhere. Should that be enough to connect me to a crime?