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Minneapolis DWI Attorney Blog

Rosemount Police Did Not Engage in Overzealous DWI Enforcement, Despite Complaints by Bar Owners

Minnesota DWI Lawyer Defends Charges Brought by the Rosemount Police DepartmentTwincities.com reports that an internal review of the Rosemount Police Department found no impropriety in its recent DWI enforcement, despite several complaints by owners of downtown drinking establishments alleging that the police were overzealously targeting its patrons. The owners complained that police officers were stopping drivers for no reason and consequently, scaring away business. One restaurant manager reported that she was stopped five times by the Rosemount Police. WCCO News even conducted its own investigation.  
 
In response to the complaints, Rosemount's city council ordered a review of nightly traffic stops made between December 2011 and February 2012. Lieutenant Jewel Erickson conducted the review and looked at squad video footage of 333 traffic stops. Of those stops, 265 motorists were given warnings. That's over 79% of the traffic stops. Ordinarily, 50% of motorists receive warnings and 50% receive tickets or worse according to WCCO
 
With respect to trivial stops, the article reports that Rosemount's Officers "made 18 stops for license-plate light violations, resulting in two arrests; 28 stops for obstructed view, resulting in three arrests; and 14 stops for a suspended object, resulting in two arrests." Collectively, these three reasons account for 18% of the traffic stops. Generally, police only stop drivers for these reasons late at night, hoping that it leads to a DWI arrest. If the driver has not been drinking, the driver usually gets a warning for such minor infractions. 
 
Minnesota's driving laws require a functioning license plate light. The driving laws also prohibit any obstructed view of a license plate due to snow, dirt, debris, or even a dealer's license plate bracket. Obstructed view may also include prohibit stickers and decals that can partially obstruct the back window or windshield of a vehicle. A suspended object violation refers to any hanging object from one's rear view mirror, which is illegal yet commonplace. 
 
The review found that 10% of all traffic stops between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. resulted in field sobriety tests being administered. To wit, of the 333 traffic stops, the police asked 35 drivers to perform field sobriety tests, and 26 of those drivers were arrested for suspected DWI.
 
Despite the overall conclusion of the review, the City of Rosemount did acknowledge that it is making "refinements" to its police procedure and will be patrolling areas outside the downtown district and be focusing on equipment violations that pose the highest risk to public safety.
 
If anyone thought that your local police department isn't zealous about stopping drivers at night  (especially in the vicinity of drinking establishments), think again. Under Minnesota law, sobriety checkpoints are unconstitutional, but the police are turning trivial traffic stops into de facto sobriety checkpoints. People should  be concerned about an erosion of our rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Over the years, the per se standard of alcohol impairment in Minnesota has fallen from a BAC of 0.15 to 0.10 and now 0.08, yet there's been a marked increase in trivial traffic stops at night, i.e., where there is no evidence of driver impairment based on the individual's driving conduct. Most would agree that these police practices undermine the public's confidence in the integrity of law enforcement.    

6 Comments to Rosemount Police Did Not Engage in Overzealous DWI Enforcement, Despite Complaints by Bar Owners:

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Liv2Win on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 3:30 PM
I live in Rosemount and a friend and I were walking home from downtown over Leprechaun days. Three Rosemount cops came flying by us on Connemara Ave with all of their lights off, including their headlights. They were driving in the dark probably around 30 to 40 mph. I turned to walk up my street and then they came up along side of us in their vehicles. A female cop asked "how are you doing tonight?". I said "we are fine thanks". Then when we walked up further they came by us again. This time a male cop from another squad car instructed us to walk on the sidewalk. I was 20 paces from my house and told him that. I was walking on the side of the road. He continued to tell me to walk on the sidewalk. I ignored him and walked up my drive way. He continued to tell me to walk on the sidewalk. The instant I punched in the code and my garage door opened all of the cop cars sped away. Again, in the dark with all their lights off. I have a few thoughts about this. 1) Driving with your lights off seems very dangerous to me. There was no need for that other than intimidation. 2) The male officer was clearly trying to provoke me to do something so he could take some kind of action, like ticket me or arrest me. It felt really disturbing. My friend and I both felt very harassed. That's why I chose to ignore him and walk directly into my yard and driveway. I felt very unsafe by they way they approached us in the dark and tried to provoke us. 3) I have had other similar experiences walking and biking at night in Rosemount. The cops swarm in and tried to intimidate and provoke me. 4) I went to the Rosemount website, found the link to the city codes. I did a keyword search on the word "sidewalk" and got hits in 19 documents. I read each one and could not find anything that says a pedestrian must use a sidewalk if one is present. This further points to my assertion that this cop was trying to provoke me into some kind of conflict with him so he could take some kind of action against me. 4) I have lived in 8 different communities in my life, including both coasts and the midwest. I have never been made to feel so unwelcome by the local authorities as I do living in this town. I'm moving. Something is not right in Rosemount.
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Derek Boykin on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 4:15 PM
Something about the youtube video and the investigation of the Rosemount Police don't stack up! http://youtu.be/BO0NBIK87as This is the real version!!!!!
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police on Saturday, February 09, 2013 12:56 AM
I was looking forward for such kind of blog which deals with Rosemount Police Did Not Engage in Overzealous DWI Enforcement, Despite Complaints by Bar Owners. I am much lucky man that I have come to get my expected site. Thanks. Keep it up.
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Dennis on Monday, December 09, 2013 11:48 PM
That was good post.
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J Willis on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 1:14 PM
Always complaints, personally, I'm rather impartial on the whole issue. I think law enforcement do need to be a little more people friendly
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Janice Willis on Friday, September 12, 2014 7:51 AM
I live in Rosemount and a friend and I were walking home from downtown over Leprechaun days. Three Rosemount cops came flying by us on Connemara Ave with all of their lights off, including their headlights. They were driving in the dark probably around 30 to 40 mph.
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