As we await the verdict, these comments are ‘not helpful’
The pandemic, the death of George Floyd, the trial of Derek Chauvin and now the death of Daunte Wright have put the state of Minnesota and its people under a…
Now more than ever you have to wonder why anyone would sign up to be a police officer. Not knowing whether they’ll get shot at or assaulted when they go to work always went with the territory. But now cops in too many jurisdictions have to deal with the ever-present threat of rioting, looting and bricks, in addition to responding to a wildly escalating level of violence and shootings in many cities.
Then there’s the reality of being lumped in with the few “bad apples” whose malfeasance does not represent the vast majority of police officers, but stereotypes all law enforcement in the eyes of their critics–even in Greater Minnesota. That’s what happened last weekend to two cops making a routine traffic stop in the north central town of Nisswa in an incident covered by Forum Communications.
Police body camera footage shows Nisswa Mayor Fred Heidmann in a profanity-laced tirade against two police officers conducting a traffic stop of a third party Saturday, Aug. 29, in Nisswa.
“You guys are just as bad as the cops in Minneapolis,” and “I’m the mayor of this (expletive) town” were among the statements Heidmann made to the officers in provided footage.
Once again, the police body cam footage went viral.
But this time the public got to see a textbook case of how most police operate most of the time with an officers from the Pequot Lakes and Nisswa Police Departments handling the unexpected confrontation coolly and professionally without regard to the suspect’s status.
According to the police report, Heidmann stated, “Don’t you guys have something better to do? … Go patrol the (expletive) streets,” and “You guys aren’t qualified to be out here on the highway.”
The officer again advised Heidmann to leave and stand back where it was safe. Heidmann refused to leave and continued to argue, stating, “I’m the mayor of this (expletive) town,” “You guys are not drug people,” and “You guys are (expletive) (expletive)…”
After refusing officers’ warnings to move to a safer area, Heidmann was arrested under probable cause for disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process while officers were conducting a traffic stop near his business on Highway 371 and Skillman Street, south of Nisswa. In a written statement, Heidmann said he planned to fight any charges resulting from the incident because he had a right to free speech and the traffic stop was over when the confrontation occurred.
Unlike their counterparts in some big cities, however, the two arresting officers’ superiors have their back in this case.
Nisswa Police Chief Craig Taylor said, “I’m disappointed and extremely sad that an elected official feels justified in inserting himself into a traffic stop that has nothing to do with him and feels it is appropriate to yell and swear at two officers from two jurisdictions that are doing nothing more than trying to do their jobs and making people safe.
“I would hope there would be more accountability to our elected officials.”
Taylor said he watched the body camera video in its entirety.
“I am extremely proud of the patient and restraint used by the officers in this altercation,” Taylor said.
The Nisswa City Council plans to hold a special meeting at 4 pm Friday to update residents on the incident between the mayor and police officers. There won’t be any body cam footage but the meeting will be carried live on the city’s YouTube channel.