State Fair Theft

Two Arrests Made In Minnesota State Fair Brew Theft

Two men have been charged with stealing more than $100,000 in cash from the beer and wine exhibit at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.

Jordan Strickland, 23, and Antonio Washington, 20, face charges of interfering with commerce and using a gun in a crime of violence in connection with the State Fair robbery.

According to police documents, Washington and Strickland entered the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild exhibit after closing time on Friday, August 29. Washington allegedly pointed a gun at an employee who was organizing the money from the registers while Strickland acted as a lookout. The pair forced the employee and another employee to sit in chairs, where they were then tied, taped and incapacitated. The thieves then made off with the day’s take – a hefty $104,000.

Washington was arrested a week later in Faribault after a search of his vehicle uncovered a revolver that matched the description of the gun used during the robbery. Strickland was arrested last week after police learned of his involvement. Both men face federal charges.

Third Man Arrested

A third man was also arrested for the crime, but he does not yet face charges.

Jarret Maiden, 35, was arrested after he told police officers that he, Washington, Strickland and another man met up at his house after the robbery to divide the cash. According to Maiden’s account, he helped set up the robbery and he enlisted Washington and Strickland to pull off the heist.

Maiden was released from custody and has yet to be charged in any capacity.

Check out this previous post for more information about crime at the Minnesota State Fair.

DUI Lawnmower

North Dakota Man Gets DUI on Lawnmower

A North Dakota man was arrested for driving under the influence on Sunday after authorities spotted him driving erratically on a lawnmower.

According to police documents, Earl Lee Jahner was operating the gas-powered lawn mower with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.27, more than three times the legal limit.

But Jahner’s troubles don’t stop there. According to authorities, Jahner was giving children a ride on the lawnmower with a six-pack of beer in tow when he was arrested. Police allege that Jahner damaged a corner of a building during his drunken joyride, and he was found to be in possession of marijuana. He was eventually charged with:

  • Felony driving under the influence
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Possession of marijuana.

Not surprisingly, this wasn’t the first time Jahner had been booked for driving under the influence. A quick criminal history search reveals that he’s been convicted of DUI on nine previous occasions.

Minnesota Lawnmower Laws

Jahner would likely face a similar charge if the incident occurred in Minnesota. We’ve all heard stories of people getting DUIs on a John Deere because they needed to get somewhere and thought they could avoid a DUI as long as they didn’t drive a car, but DUI isn’t specific to cars. It can apply to any motor vehicle.

That said, the law is still open to interpretation. Not too long ago a Minnesota man had a DUI charge thrown out after he was arrested for being drunk while on a Segway. The court ruled that since the device was battery-powered and its primary use is on pedestrian paths or sidewalks that it could not be classified as a vehicle subject to DUI laws. One can argue that a lawnmower isn’t primarily used on the road, but many arrested for DUIs on lawnmowers are driving on or near a road, and the device has as engine, so your appeal will likely fall on deaf ears.

Related source: Pioneer Press

Michael Phelps DUI

Michael Phelps Arrested For Second DUI

Michael Phelps was arrested early Tuesday morning for driving under the influence, according to a report by TMZ.

Although details are minimal and an investigation is underway, TMZ has reported that the swimming star was stopped in his Land Rover at approximately 1:40 a.m. this morning. Authorities recently issued a report saying Phelps was initially stopped for driving 84 mph in a 45 mile per hour zone. Phelps’ mannerisms during the traffic stop led authorities to believe he was under the influence.

No official report has surfaced, but TMZ is citing an anonymous source claiming that Phelps failed a subsequent field sobriety test. They also claim that Phelps blew nearly double the legal limit on a Breathalyzer test.

Phelps was eventually charged with driving under the influence and driving at an excessive speed. He was released after being booked.

Second DUI

This wasn’t the first time the Olympic champion got behind the wheel after a night on the town. Phelps was arrested back in 2004 when he was 19 for driving under the influence.

In that case, Phelps struck a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation for his initial DUI, but there’s certainly a possibility he’ll head to the slammer for a second DUI.

Luckily for Phelps, his second DUI arrest comes 10 years after his first arrest. Under Maryland law, for a DUI to be considered a second offense, it must come within five years of the first violation. That said, the judge is unlikely to take it easy on Phelps since he’s already been booked for a DUI. Under Maryland law, Phelps faces the possibility of:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • A fine of up to $1,000.
  • A six-month license suspension.
  • Extended probation.

We’ll keep tabs on the developing situation as more details emerge.

Related source: TMZ, ESPN

DUI Football players

DUI is the Most Common Crime Committed by NFL Players

A comprehensive look at the crimes committed by NFL players since 2000 reveals that drunk driving is the most commonly committed crime.

Last week we touched on the fact that your very own Minnesota Vikings have been the most arrested team since 2004, but now we’re taking a look at which crimes are most commonly committed. According to USA Today, more than a quarter of all NFL player arrests are for driving under the influence. 202 of the 713 reported arrests since 2000 have been for drunk driving.

Here are some more statistics from the USA Today database:

  • The second most common crime is assault and battery. 88 of the 713 arrests – 12.3 percent – have been for assault or battery.
  • Domestic violence crimes are the third most popular crime. 85 of the 713 arrests – 11.9 percent – were for situations of domestic violence.
  • Despite recent events, on average, only 1 in 40 players are arrested in a given year.
  • The arrest rate for NFL players is far lower than the national arrest rate for 25-29-year-old males.
  • 38 players have been arrested so far this year. 57 players were arrested in 2013.
  • 67 players were arrested in 2006, the most in a given year.

Vikings players hold the dubious distinction of being arrested the most since 2004. 44 players have been arrested since then, which is double the league average of 22 arrests since 2000.

Related source: NY Daily News, USA Today

Police Camera

Farmington Police Unveil Body Cameras

Add the Farmington Police Department to the growing list of law enforcement agencies in Minnesota who have adopted police body cameras.

Farmington is following in the footsteps of Burnsville and will likely be watched closely by Minneapolis, who just recently approved a pilot program to outfit a few officers with the video recording equipment. Unlike the Minneapolis project that has a rather extensive budget, Farmington had to make due with much less, purchasing 17 mountable cameras and a year of video storage for $13,000. Despite to bill, Sgt. Gary Rutherford expects the cameras to pay for themselves by showing judges and juries exactly what happened and what pressure situations his officers were faced with.

“The judge and jury will get to see that genuine terror that we see, as opposed to just reading our own words on paper,” he said. “It’s just such a great evidence tool.”

Farmington Police Sgt. Jim Constantineau added that the recordings will keep officers and citizens on their best behavior.

“We’re all professionals,” Constantineau said. “These are going to protect all of us — law enforcement officers and citizens — and make it more efficient for us to do our jobs.”

How They Work

As we’ve documented in the past, the body-mounted cameras clip onto an officer’s cap, collar or a set of clear glasses and record every detail of a citizen encounter. The department began exploring the idea of body cameras after deciding that dash camera footage simply couldn’t provide the necessary evidence that a moveable camera could.

“These days, society is video-driven,” Rutherford said. “This technology is small enough and affordable enough, there was no reason not to go with it now. And it’s such a great evidence collection tool.”

The cameras are expected to help sort out he said-she said affairs and protect the officers against unwarranted claims of misconduct or excessive force, but police also believe the cameras will be especially helpful in cases of domestic abuse. Oftentimes a victim will recant their statement out of fear of retribution, but the cameras will help record the initial interaction that can better portray scenes of abuse or domestic violence. With video evidence, judges and juries will hear honest testimony and see firsthand accounts of what transpired, which should help keep victims from being manipulated by their abuser.

Farmington police have been using the cameras for three weeks, and by all accounts the initial adoption has been a success.

“I can’t imagine life without one now that I have it,” said Rutherford.

Related source: Pioneer Press

NFL Arrests

Vikings Most Arrested Team in NFL

The Minnesota Vikings have been in the news lately, and for all the wrong reasons. First there was the controversy surrounding Adrian Peterson, and just yesterday we posted a blog about the most recent arrest of now-former Viking Jerome Simpson. So it should probably come as no surprise that an analysis of NFL arrests over the last 10 years revealed that the Minnesota Vikings are the most arrested team in the league.

The data compiled by the Dayton Business Journal found that the Vikings are tied with the Denver Broncos for the most arrests over the last 10 years, but it’s certainly possible that the list didn’t include Simpson’s arrest which came to light on Friday.

NFL Teams With The Most Arrests

Here’s the list of the 10 franchises that have had the most players arrested over the last decade.

1. Minnesota Vikings (32 arrests)

1. Denver Broncos (32 arrests)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (31 arrests)

4. Tennesse Titans (30 arrests)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26 arrests)

6. Jacksonville Jaguars (25 arrests)

7.  Chicago Bears (20 arrests)

7. Miami Dolphins (20 arrests)

9. Cleveland Browns (19 arrests)

9.  Indianapolis Colts (19 arrests)

9. San Diego Chargers (19 arrests)

9.  Seattle Seahawks (19 arrests)

According to the website, the worst year for the Vikings came in 2011 when seven players were arrested on a litany of charges. Over the past decade, Vikings players have been arrested for a slew of crimes, including child abuse, domestic abuse, driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.

Related source: Dayton Business Journal

Jerome Simpson

Vikings Cut Simpson After Marijuana Arrest

The Minnesota Vikings parted ways with troubled wide receiver Jerome Simpson on Friday after it was revealed he was arrested for marijuana possession this offseason.

Simpson would have rejoined the team today after being suspended for the first three games of the season for a DUI arrest, but the team decided to cut the problemed receiver before he could be reinstated.

Already embroiled in the controversy surrounding suspended star running back Adrian Peterson, head coach Mike Zimmer issued a statement saying the team wants to find players who are committed to being examples on and off the field.

“We’re going to look for high-quality guys. We’re going to keep guys who care about football, guys who are passionate about playing the game. We’re going to continue to get those guys and keep working. There’s really nothing I can do about what everybody else says. All I can do is what I think is best at the time,” Zimmer said.

Latest Incident

Simpson’s most recent run-in with the law occurred on July 7 when he was stopped in Bloomington, Minnesota. According to the arrest report, Simpson was charged with possession of marijuana, driving with an open intoxicant, and violating driving restrictions.

Instead of being open about the arrest, Simpson decided to keep the incident under wraps. Head coach Mike Zimmer was informed of the incident on Thursday, and unlike other NFL executives, he decided to take swift action and release Simpson from his contract the following day.

This is the second time Simpson has been found to be in possession of marijuana. In 2012, authorities intercepted a 2.5-pound package of marijuana en route to the wide receiver’s home. He received a three-game suspension from the NFL for that incident as well. Simpson again faces the possibility of a suspension for his latest arrest.

Simpson is set to make an initial appearance in Hennepin County on November 3.

Jonathan Dwyer

Cardinals RB Dwyer Booked For Aggravated Assault

The dark cloud hanging over the NFL two weeks into the season grew more ominous on Wednesday after Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on charges of aggravated assault.

The incidents in question occurred back in July, so it’s either a smart move by the prosecutor to finally move forward with a case during one of the most tumultuous weeks in NFL history, or the league is simply on the wrong end of an unfortunate coincidence. Things don’t often happen by chance in the legal world.

According to the police report, neighbors called police after hearing a loud argument between Dwyer and his girlfriend. Police arrived on scene but left without making an arrest because Dwyer allegedly hid in the bathroom while his wife told police she was arguing with someone on the phone. A second incident supposedly took place the following day. Dwyer’s girlfriend said the running back threw a shoe towards his son and broke her cellphone so she could not call the police. The woman moved out of the state shortly thereafter, but came forward with the allegations last week, saying Dwyer, “was going to harm himself because of what had been going on.”

who throws a shoe gif
“Who throws a shoe? Honestly!”

Slew of Charges

Dwyer faces many charges for his actions, including:

• One count of aggravated assault causing fracture.

• One count of aggravated assault involving a minor.

• Two counts of criminal damage.

• One count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency.

• One count of simple assault.

Dwyer was freed on $25,000 cash bond early this morning and ordered to wear an electronic tracking device. He has been forbidden from contacting the victims, from traveling out of the state of Arizona, and from using alcohol, drugs or possessing a weapon.

Dwyer admitted to police that arguments occurred during the two days in question, but he denies physically assaulting either his girlfriend or child.

NFL Future in Doubt

Dwyer was immediately deactivated from the team after the Cardinals were made aware of the incident, which they say they only learned about yesterday.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities,” the Cardinals announced in a statement. “We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it becomes available.”

The NFL also announced it would review the arrest under the league’s revamped personal conduct policy.

Related source: ESPN

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon Pleads Guilty to DWI

Troubled Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday. Gordon was originally arrested for driving while intoxicated over the July 4th holiday weekend.

Gordon will avoid jail as long as he follows through with the conditions put forth in his plea agreement, which include:

• 12 months of unsupervised probation

• $100 fine

• $290 in court costs

• Driver’s license suspension

Gordon also received a 60-day suspended sentence, meaning he’ll be forced to spend two months in jail if he violates his probation.

Further NFL Punishment?

The NFL has already suspended Gordon for the first 10 games of the season for a second failed drug test, and it’s possible that the league could impose an additional suspension. Gordon was originally suspended for the entire season, but he had his suspension reduced after the league and the NFL Players Association came to terms on a new drug policy that, without getting too into the details, lessens penalties for recreational or “party” drugs while taking a stronger stance on violent behavior and Human Growth Hormone testing.

The new policy would tack on an additional two games to Gordon’s suspension, but the deal has yet to be officially finalized, so it’s possible that his suspension will remain unchanged.

An NFL spokesperson declined to discuss further punishments for Gordon, saying, “We’ll decline to comment as we work through the revisions to the drug policy.”

Attorney Geoff Saltzstein, a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, said he doesn’t believe Gordon will receive an additional suspension for his DWI.

“I think the league took into account all of Gordon’s off field issues when they reduced his suspension to 10 games,” Saltzstein said. “Some believed Gordon would have his suspension cut in half to eight games, so the reduction to 10 likely means the NFL took note of Gordon’s recent off field antics. I think his suspension will remain at 10 games.”

Related source: ESPN

Police Body Cameras

Minneapolis Approves Police Body Camera Program 

Minneapolis officials have taken the next step in equipping the city’s police force with body cameras after they approved a $170,000 pilot program to set 36 officers up with the surveillance equipment.

The Minneapolis City Council Committee approved the plan on Monday, and the council is set to finalize the pilot program’s plans by the end of the week. The council plans to evaluate the success of the program at six- and nine-month intervals to determine if the city should continue with the program or make strategic changes.

The city believes the program will be a success, and they have already begun taking measures to budget for additional body cameras. Minneapolis will provide an additional $1.1 million to the program in the fall of 2015.

The city will equip officers with two types of cameras to determine which capture the best picture and are less of a hindrance to the officer. One type of camera will attach to the front of an officer’s uniform, while the other camera will be clipped onto eyeglasses. The city will test out both methods during the pilot program.

Officers in Duluth and Burnsville are already using body cameras, and although statistics aren’t yet available, if it’s going anything like the program in Rialto, California, citizen complaints are likely down.

Avery Appelman comments

This is a step in the right direction for justice. Cameras mean that both officers and citizens will be held accountable for their actions by an unbiased third party. These cameras will clear up any question as to what events transpired.

I have little doubt that the pilot program will be successful in reducing complaints against officers and excessive force suits, as both parties will be on their best behavior. 10 years from now I think police body cameras will be the norm.

Related source: Pioneer Press

 

by Appelman Law Firm