(St. Paul, Minn.) – This week elected student leaders sent a letter to University of Minnesota administration “demanding” the Chief’s resignation from the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) along with a list of “demands” for change, which if not satisfied, they’ll begin “planning direct actions.”
In addition, an elected Executive Board member of the University of Minnesota Student Association recently called for criminal activity to disrupt and impede the work of the U of M Police Department and its officers on the Twin Cities campus.
In this recorded virtual meeting held with fellow U of M Minnesota Student Association Board Members in regard to the UMPD, MSA Chief Financial Officer and Executive Board Member Lauren Meyers advocates to “make their lives hell,” “annoy the shit out of them,” and “use up their resources. Make their officers show up to something.” This type of activity by elected student government officials is repulsive and dangerous.
Law enforcement agencies are tasked with the duty of responding to emergency situations in order to promote and protect public safety. Minnesota law prohibits using emergency calls to report a false emergency or crime, and claims that lead to serious injury or death is a felony publishable by 10 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $20,000.
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters said, “Actively planning to thwart UMPD by generating false calls for help is insulting to the overwhelming majority of the campus community that rely on public safety services. MSA leaders should be ashamed – and apologize to the campus community and victims of crime on campus. Last month the campus community had 13 incidents of aggravated assault, 52 burglaries, 22 car thefts, 4 sexual assaults, numerous thefts, and a murder on or near campus. We’re frustrated that elected student leaders would purposefully choose to stir further division to make the campus less safe.”
Law Enforcement Labor Services Executive Director Jim Mortenson (the organization that represents the officers of UMPD) said, “Everyone deserves to be safe, and advocating to impede police from assisting victims of crime is mindboggling. Public safety officials and the University of Minnesota Police Department exist to protect and serve the community and work hard to earn community and campus support. MSA’s actions are damaging and don’t represent the desire for those on campus who wish for safety and security.”
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and Law Enforcement Labor Services ask:
- Ms. Meyers to apologize to the UMPD for her statements and unethical misconduct,
- The University Administration to initiate an investigation into this incident for Student Code of Conduct violations. (For reference, the University of Minnesota’s Student Conduct Code, Section IV, Subsections. 3 (Falsification), Subsection 5 (Attempt to Injure or Defraud), and Subsection 9 (Disorderly Conduct).
- To have an outside agency conduct a criminal investigation into this incident to determine if charges are warranted.
Minnesota statue has several criminal penalties for disrupting and impeding public safety officials, cited below.
609.78 EMERGENCY TELEPHONE CALLS AND COMMUNICATIONS.
Subdivision 1.Misdemeanor offenses.
Whoever does the following is guilty of a misdemeanor:
(4) makes a call for emergency police, fire, medical, or ambulance service, knowing that no police, fire, or medical emergency exists;
(6) makes or initiates an emergency call, knowing that no emergency exists, and with the intent to disrupt, interfere with, or reduce the provision of emergency services or the emergency call center’s resources, remains silent, or makes abusive or harassing statements to the call recipient.
Subd. 2.Gross misdemeanor offenses.
Whoever does the following is guilty of a gross misdemeanor:
(1) intentionally interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or interferes with an emergency call or who intentionally prevents or hinders another from placing an emergency call, and whose conduct does not result in a violation of section 609.498;
(2) places an emergency call and reports a fictitious emergency with the intent of prompting an emergency response by law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical services personnel; or
(3) violates subdivision 1, clause (6), after having been previously convicted or adjudicated delinquent for violating that clause.
Subd. 2a.Felony offense; reporting fictitious emergency resulting in serious injury.
Whoever violates subdivision 2, clause (2), is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both, if the call triggers an emergency response and, as a result of the response, someone suffers great bodily harm or death.
Subd. 2b.Other felony offenses.
Whoever does the following is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both:
(1) violates subdivision 1, clause (6), after having been previously convicted or adjudicated delinquent for violating that clause on more than one occasion; or
(2) intentionally uses multiple communications devices or electronic means to block, interfere with, overload, or otherwise prevent the emergency call center’s system from functioning properly, and these actions make the system unavailable to someone needing emergency assistance.