What you gonna do
What you gonna do
When an equally corrupt
Force comes for you?
So came the reckoning when several Twin Cities law enforcement agencies, in an effort to stamp out rising gang-related activity, decided to combine resources and form a Metro Gang Strike Force. But what started out as a good idea soon turned into a legal nightmare.
How did it happen? I think lack of oversight caused certain members of the newly formed force to feel like they could act with the impunity and recklessness of a Nick Cage or Nolte Cop movie (i.e. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and Q&A). The Strike Force must have thought the criminal elements they routinely harassed with false arrests and illegal seizures would hardly complain. The problem was some of the victims were actually innocent and complain they did in a lawsuit that ended with a settlement for $2,000.000.00.
After reading the highlights of the 600 page investigative report, you have to wonder what the Strike Force was thinking. I mean how does any drug raid involve seizing a blender (ala Will Smith in Enemy of the State), an ice auger (only in Minnesota) and a flat screen TV (actually, I can see that one)?
It didn’t stop there. Strike Force members were so nonchalant in their carelessness $840,000.00 of the lawsuit went directly to compensate victims for property lost and civil rights violated. Special Master, attorney Mark Gehan, did reject 120 claims, one being from an individual who claimed the Strike Force took $100,000.00 from his backpack.
I don’t use this word often, but who would have the temerity to go in front of a federal court and say you were carrying $100K in a backpack? I can think of only two types of professionals who need to carry around that much cash: Drug Dealers and CIA agents who moonlight as drug dealers. How would you even write up the claim? Would you be direct and state, “It’s all about the Benjamin’s and you me a thousand of them.” Or would you be a little more subtle and try to hide such a large amount in the details:
CLAIM: One backpack and the following contents in said backpack.
- ½ Pack Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum
- Jakemans Throat Lozenges, Cherry Menthol Flavor (Unopened)
- 1 pack of Camel Cigarettes (17 remaining)
- 1 Nature Valley Trail Mix Bar Blueberry-Almond (Recommended if looking for a good protein bar)
- Gatorade G Series Perform Fruit Punch (Half-consumed)
- 2 Tickets To Randy Travis Live at Treasure Island (Really wanted to go but will accept currency value)
- 1 Semacon S-1000 Ultra Compact Currency Counter. (Used to bundle ten $100.00 bill bundles, the contents also included)
- 1 paperback, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. (Checked out from the Falcon Heights Community Library. Now 13 weeks overdue.)