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Friday, December 17, 2010

A move to make up for Strike Force misdeeds

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Anonymous Tribune said...

A $3 million settlement for Metro Gang Strike Force victims gets court's approval.

By RANDY FURST, Star Tribune

Last update: December 16, 2010 - 10:08 PM
Victims of the scandal-ridden Metro Gang Strike Force are eligible for a share of $3 million set aside by a settlement approved Thursday in federal court in St. Paul.

"It's a good thing to put this entire matter in the rear-view mirror," U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen said.

About 100 people so far have claimed they were victimized by the Strike Force, a multi-jurisdiction police agency, abolished in July 2009, that was the subject of four investigations as well as legislative hearings.

Findings of wrongdoing by the unit included seizing property from people who weren't charged and failing to give them proper forfeiture notices.

To be eligible for a share of the settlement, people must demonstrate that the unit improperly seized their money or property. The deadline for claims is Dec. 30.

Any money that remains in the $3 million pool after claims are paid is expected to go into a fund to train officers on procedures designed to prevent another Strike Force scandal.

Three lawyers who filed the lawsuit, which was certified as a class action for the purposes of the settlement, will receive $800,000, and another $25,000 if the number of claimants exceeds 100. Ericksen approved the payment, calling it a "fair compensation." The legal fees will not come out of the $3 million settlement.

Under the settlement's terms, people who say the force victimized them will have their cases weighed by Mark Gehan, a St. Paul attorney named special master. He will make recommendations to the court on each claim. Gehan was the special master in a landmark tobacco lawsuit settled in Minnesota in the late 1990s.

Claims and lawyers fees will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Trust Fund, the insurance arm of the league, which insured the Strike Force.

"The League of Minnesota Cities does not pass out $3 million readily and easily, so they have to have come to a conclusion that they were at grave risk if this case went to trial," said Joseph Daly, a Hamline University law professor who followed the Strike Force scandal since it began to unravel publicly in April 2009.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous story continued said...

Manila (Bud) Shaver, chairman of the advisory board that oversaw the Strike Force, acknowledged Thursday that "going to trial has risks." He said a jury could award more or less than the settlement amount. "To make an assumption on an award amount and assign wrongdoing based on that is just that -- an assumption," he said.

Shaver called the settlement "a most equitable resolution to this," one that assures that "any victim that comes forward can be made whole if they were wronged."

Liability not admitted

Joseph Flynn, attorney for the league, said the defendants denied liability. Had the case gone to trial, he'd have mounted a vigorous defense, arguing that the Strike Force had done good police work that benefited the community, he said.

But he called the settlement "fair, adequate and reasonable." Those sentiments were echoed by Randy Hopper, the lead attorney for Strike Force victims, and by Judge Ericksen.

Hopper, who outlined the settlement to Ericksen, referred to the "egregious" conduct of Strike Force officers. He said the settlement would "bring closure to an unfortunate, ugly chapter in Minnesota history." Afterward, he said, "Justice has been done," and "we can now go forward to see that victims are properly compensated."

As part of the settlement, five alleged victims whose names appear in the suit each will be paid $2,500, beyond any money they may receive as a result of claims they file.

Behind the lawsuit was a rash of allegations that spilled out in investigations by the state legislative auditor and a special panel appointed by state Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion. Among the allegations were claims that Strike Force officers targeted minorities, conducted unjustified raids, seized property and money even though no one was charged and failed to give people forfeiture notices as required by law.

Two Minneapolis police officers were fired over their Strike Force activity, though one got his job back. The Strike Force's office manager was dismissed by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

The U.S. Justice Department prosecuted Jason Andersen, a Strike Force officer, for allegedly kicking a black teenager in the head, but a jury found him not guilty.

The FBI conducted a yearlong investigation of the Strike Force. But the U.S. Justice Department has not said whether it plans other prosecutions. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has said his office did not plan to file state charges against the Strike Force officers.

People who want to file a claim against the Strike Force can call 1-866-211-0079 or go to before Dec. 30.

Randy Furst • 612-673-7382

8:27 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

These PIGS got away with crime that would have put us ordinary citizens in prison!

And they still have their jobs! How many citizens rights will they abuse in the future?

Definition of a PIG-
Any government official who willfully violates citizens rights.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I told you all before I read the settlement agreement and the lawyers are the BIG winners here.

The lawyers brought this lawsuit and pretended to represent the victims.

They filed this suit on the victims behalf so they say, and left the victims holding the bag to prove their claims to a special master ?

The lawyers are supposed to take it to trial with the evidence they have but instead let the strike force off again, with the force admitting no liability.

I hope that for each victim that says they were ripped off by the strike force, that the attorneys for them are guiding them every step of the way to file claims with the special master overseeing the compensation fund.

Jeff Matiatos

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To bad about the Fong Lee case where a minneapolis officer alleged to have used excessive force by shooting him 8 times and that a gun was alleged planted, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review.

More cops getting away with murder if you ask me .

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the law-dogs get taxpayers get $800k, the victims get $2500 and the taxpayers get left with the tab.

And not a single strike force gangster gets a day in jail.


1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not over:

"The FBI conducted a yearlong investigation of the Strike Force. But the U.S. Justice Department has not said whether it plans other prosecutions."

I think we'll see the other shoe drop in 2011. That's why these guys are still mostly mum.

I am concerned when our agencies that have oversight recommends punitive action and then a jury disagrees. I think its the whole hero-worship thing.


2:24 PM  
Anonymous Red Rivers said...

Kinda shows you what's gonna happen when the city loses the landlords' suit.

Officialdom always looks out for each other. They know that if the courts stop watching the bureaucrats' sixes, they're all going down someday.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know some of those scumbags; they're scattering to the winds.

And new scumbags have already taken their place. Nothing has changed; nothing.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Sharon4Anderson said...

You People really bother me Judge Joan Erickson issues Settlement on Crooked Cops, yet ignored the LandLords Suit.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Ericksons Order said...

Just called to file claim

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go, Ericksons Order....get your $2500 and make those taxpayers squirm.

How about spending a fucking minute to contact your legislator to demand the strike force gang be prosecuted...I mean, if it's not too much trouble.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Bill Dahn said...

Mike Freeman has said his office did not plan to file state charges against the Strike Force officers.

Strike Force SS can get away with murder, we as the common folks will be arrested for spitting in the street.
This show who the crooks are and they are being protected from prosecutions. Hennepin by County Attorney Mike Freeman.
In 1998 Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner covered a bribery charge against Jesse Ventura and Dean Barkley, lets remember that Dean Barkley is a lawyer and for Dean to take a video of the BRIBE at Bill Dahn's home on July 19, 1998.
Jesse gave Susan's boy friend John Wodele a good job in his administration and Wodele was a friend of Barkley's and this is the biggest bullshit we as Americans can ever ender.
Let talk about Conspiracy By Jesse Ventura and Dean Barkly before going to Bill Dahn's home to get him to "change" political Parties and that along is a crime of "Conspiracy">
Jesse Ventura And Dean Barkley are two of this state dirtiest politicians Minnesota ever had, that makes
U S Senator Norm Coleman and Al Franken look like angels.
Jesse put a restraining order on me with as soon as he took office in Jan. 1999 to shut me up about the bribe and the video of the Bribe that can be seen on youtube
This is the video that mad Bill Dahn such a treat to Jesse and Dean over the years

My opinion of any one mentioned in my post are just low down dirty skunks that will screw a dog just to get their nut off!!

Bill Dahn received 104,000 Votes on Nov. 2, 2010 for Minnesota's Attorney General and only spent $80.00 on 2,000 Business Cards.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$80.00 on 2,000 Business Cards.
1:51 PM

Not bad for the money.

8:27 PM  

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