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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rich Stanek Gets Police and Fire Fighter Endorsements

Tom Scheck at MPR blogs about these endorsements.

As I've said earlier, I have serious concerns about Rich Stanek's candidacy for County Sheriff.

The Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, MPR and other big mainstream media have an obligation to look into the lawsuits that were filed - and settled - against the City of Minneapolis - naming Rich Stanek.

From the Spokesman Recorder:

In 1992, Black motorist Anthony Freeman was involved in a traffic accident with Stanek after allegedly running a red light. Freeman said that after the accident Stanek broke his window, dragged him out of his car, yelled racial epithets and beat him in the middle of the street.

Under oath, Stanek admitted to using the word "nigger" in the presence of his fellow officers on other occasions and to telling racist jokes. In denying Freeman's account, Stanek claimed that he wasn't even conscious that Freeman was a Black man until hours after the incident, when he had to fill out insurance forms. The City settled the case out of court.

A year after the incident with Freeman, Stanek was one of four officers named in another police brutality suit filed by Ronald Kennerly. In that case, Kennerly said that officers beat him, threatened him, and placed him under arrest without probable cause. A female neighbor who tried to intervene was beaten with a flashlight and also placed under arrest, according to the complaint.

Again, the City settled.

In 1996, Jerold Wahlin filed a suit against the City and a local club, claiming that Stanek, who was moonlighting as security, struck him twice in the head with a flashlight and smashed his head into the club floor a number of times. Stanek admitted to using the flashlight, but said he only did so to stop Wahlin from attacking an off-duty Drug Enforcement agent who was also working security. The City decided to settle this case as well. All tolled, allegations of brutality against Stanek have cost the City over $50,000.

There's a pattern here.