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“Chicken Little” Sheriff Fletcher

by Grace Kelly on September 8, 2009 · 2 comments

What is amazing about the “Chicken Little” title being assigned to Ramsey County Sheriff Fletcher is that this title is coming from a undercover cop, who should normally be one of the Sheriff’s strongest supporters. In “Cop Book” a retired 27-year veteran of the Bloomington Police Department, Richard Greelis writes about a  honcho cop he calls “Chicken Little”. Ruben Rosario quotes Richard Greelis in his column:

“He wanted the credit for saving St. Paul from the sky that was, according to him, falling fast,” Greelis writes. “In addition to airing his concerns, he tended not to play well with other cop-types who did not work for him – like our intel unit.”

According to Greelis, this official was so adamant that his unit remove an informant who infiltrated a reputed anarchist group that he actually followed Greelis from a Minneapolis surveillance spot and pulled him over as if he was executing a routine pull-over traffic stop.

(Pioneer Press)


So do the statements that Sheriff Fletcher has made over the years sound like “The sky is falling”. You be the judge!

The sky is falling, tire spikes and slingshots could destroy St Paul.

The weekend before the September convention, he [Sheriff Fletcher] led raids on the homes of anarchists. Then he held press conferences justifying the raids by displaying tire spikes and slingshots that he says would have “destroyed” St. Paul.

(MPR)

Especially note the alleged spikes were found in the home of guy who recycles metal to earn money.

The sky is falling, protesters are criminal!

The “Welcoming Committee” is a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists who are intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention. These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers. They have recruited assistance in their criminal conspiracy from other anarchists groups throughout the country. Through their plans and actions they have exhibited a blatant disregard for the law and the safety of others.
(MPR)

I find it especially amusing that the group is mostly vegetarian!

The sky is falling, we need a giant holding pen to hold thousands of RNC people who will be arrested.

Unfortunately the original link to the Sheriff’s quote is gone, however there are still references to the giant pen.

A year and a half before the RNC, Fletcher and Bostrom publicly disagreed over the sheriff’s budget request to build a massive holding pen for people who would be arrested during the week.
(MPR)

The sky is falling, I will finger print these cards to find out who wrote that question!

“The lead law enforcer for Ramsey County is confiscating cards and threatening suits and threatening fingerprinting and stuff; this has just gone beyond the pale of what is appropriate for him,” contends community activist Pam Ellison, who ran for Congress as an Independence Party candidate, was at the debate.

(MPR)

At a political debate in 2003, Fletcher confiscated cards with questions from the audience. One of the questioners asked about Fletcher’s personal relationship to candidate Kris Reiter, who was running for a St. Paul City Council seat. Reiter lost the election and Fletcher was cleared.

Reiter and Fletcher had talked about suing the League of Women Voters for slander and defamation. So far, no lawsuit has not been filed. Fletcher and Reiter are now married.
(MPR)

The sky is falling, meth is far more dangerous than any other drug.

Law enforcement officers who see the growing impact of methamphetamine firsthand say meth is far more dangerous than any other drug they’ve encountered. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher says meth is easier to make and more addictive than marijuana, cocaine and crack.

(MPR)

The sky is falling, Asian Gangs have guns!

Fletcher estimates that, since 1989, Southeast Asian gangs have stolen 600 to 700 guns in this way in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For all the firearms that should be floating around as a result, there have been few reports of violent crimes by gang members.

(City Pages)

The sky is falling, gangs, gangs, gangs!

In 1997 the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill establishing the Minnesota Gang Strike Force. [precursor to Metro Gang Strike Force] O’Hara says that it never would have happened without Fletcher leading the way.

(Star Tribune)

By the same token, the Sheriff seems to be really good at telling the press and everyone to not look at his own department and responsibilities.

The sky is falling elsewhere, don’t look at the financial practices of metro gang task force.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher repeatedly tried to prevent a state investigation into the financial operations of the Metro Gang Strike Force, over which his office has fiscal oversight, according to officials directly involved in the state probe that led to the sudden shutdown last week of the unit’s activities.

(MPR)

The sky is falling elsewhere, really, really,don’t look at the financial practices of metro gang task force.

Hearing this, members of the Strike Force high-tailed it to their office in New Brighton. There, they allegedly shredded documents, tampered with computer files, and were busy boxing up their belongings when West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver, head of the Strike Force advisory board, showed up and confronted the cops. Shaver, in turn, called Omodt, who arrived shortly thereafter to find the aftermath of what appeared to be a hastily carried out cover-up operation.

Fletcher was once again in the headlines. He attributed the unaccounted-for cars and cash to “sloppy bookkeeping,” and maintained that the officers were merely “clearing out their desks.”
(City Pages)

The sky is falling elsewhere, don’t look at all the Ramsey county court settlements for Fletcher management practices.

In July 2001, Moore was summoned by Fletcher. The sheriff told him that he was transferring him to the Apprehension Unit, a lowly destination for a lieutenant. No officer ranked as high as lieutenant had ever served there. Moore remembered he had informed his colleague Dennis Flaherty, a Fletcher supporter, of his intent to run for sheriff just 10 days earlier. Fletcher’s parting words confirmed his worst suspicions.

“By the way,” he said. “I spoke to Flaherty.”

This exchange would come out in a lawsuit Moore filed in 2006. Joining the suit was Sergeant Joyce Shockency, who had campaigned extensively for Moore and found herself similarly transferred. The case never went to trial. The circumstances and evidence were strong enough in the plaintiffs’ favor to compel attorneys for Ramsey County and Fletcher to settle. The settlement cost Ramsey County taxpayers $750,000.

(City Pages)

The sky is falling elsewhere, don’t look at the medical care or other care given to prisoners in Sheriff Fletcher’s jail.

St. Paul, Minn. – Randy Gallmeyer, 46, was arrested Oct. 19 for allegedly riding a motorized bicycle drunk. He was taken to the Ramsey County jail on that Friday night. By the following Sunday morning he was dead.

Gallmeyer died of untreated diabetes. But his blood sugar levels had not been tested. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said an internal investigation shows that the nurses on staff did try to test Gallmeyer when he was booked…

Fletcher has been named in a wrongful-death suit filed by Gallmeyer’s family. The family is also suing the city of St. Paul, Ramsey County and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department. Gallmeyer’s mother Nora had dropped off medication for her son while he was in jail. She says, even if the blame is shifted to a jail nurse, she still holds the sheriff responsible for what happens in the county jail.

(MPR)

Paul, Minn. – Cameron Kennedy, 19, of Mankato, was arrested last Monday, on the first day of the convention, after he and his friends joined a protest in downtown St. Paul.

The next night at the Ramsey County detention center, Kennedy says he witnessed a brutal beating of a young man named Elliot Hughes after Hughes and others chanted for food all day.

“The guards tackled him, threw him to the ground. I saw him specifically hit his head against the concrete,” said Kennedy. “That’s when a bunch of guards swarmed him. I didn’t see the rest because there were about 13 guards that swarmed him.”

Kennedy also says many of his friends didn’t get immediate medical attention for injuries they sustained during the arrests in downtown St. Paul.

He says one friend had an injured wrist, while the other had an injured ankle. Kennedy says he didn’t have access to his asthma medicine, even on the day he was released.

“That morning I asked for my inhaler. I’m an asthmatic. I have an inhaler, and he said it was going to take him about 15 minutes to get it out of my property. And I never got it,” said Kennedy.

Not getting medications or medical attention is the biggest complaint that lawyers with the National Lawyers Guild received throughout the week of the RNC. Gena Berglund, Coordinator of the NLG Legal Observer Program, has some examples.

The guild listed some of those complaints.

There was a hemophiliac who had a wound, and rather than being treated appropriately for that, the person was given a gauze for the wound.

There was a woman who was pepper-sprayed, who was not decontaminated in the jail.

There was one arrestee that had severe asthma and his medication was denied to him.

A man with schizo-affective disorder was not getting his medication.

Another person with gastrointestinal problems.

There was one other person on psychiatric meds that were denied.
(MPR)

The sky is falling elsewhere, don’t look at two close working buddies in Sheriff Fletcher’s jail convicted of theft.

Two Ramsey County sheriff’s department staffers were convicted of theft. Bob Fletcher buddies Timothy Rehak and Mark Naylon failed an “integrity test”; they kept an FBI-planted $6,000. The men were also convicted of civil-rights deprivation, which apparently happens when you steal stuff, the Strib’s Rochelle Olson explains. Each count carries a 10-year sentence; the judge will be tough, an ex-U.S. attorney says. The jury took less than four hours to convict the men, the PiPress’ David Hanners notes.
(MinnPost)

The sky is falling elsewhere, don’t look at closely at the way that Sheriff Fletcher hands out gun permits.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher wants to revoke a gun permit from a Bill Finney supporter.

(MPR)

Performing the same calculations that were used for the 2007 data, Sheriff Fletcher’s actual denial rates for 2005 and 2006 are 20.0% and 25.7%, respectively. These cumulative denial rates are so far outside the norm for any other county as to stretch the limits of believability. The only explanation seems to be that Sheriff Fletcher is denying applicants based on some other standard known only to him, a standard which is apparently much higher than the legislated one that 86 other sheriffs in Minnesota seem to be using with great success.

(Muckraker)

The sky is falling elsewhere, don’t look at the growing budgets of Sheriff Fletcher, when everyone else has to cut back budgets.

Since Fletcher took office, his roster of full-time deputies has swelled 31 percent from 311 to 408, and his budget has climbed from $20 million to $43 million, a 51 percent rise after inflation. The rest of the county budget, adjusted for inflation, grew 21.5 percent during the same span.

(Star Tribune)

ericf September 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

I assume a sheriff race, even in a big county like Ramsey, is easy to miss in an election year with so many other offices being decided, but Fletcher is a menace. He seems like an ambitious, loyalty-obsessed authoritarian. Though the militarization of St. Paul during the RNC is what has me ready to donate to his opponent, the gang strike force fiasco ought to finish him.

Coleen Rowley September 28, 2009 at 7:57 pm

This is a really excellent post putting all the past data and abuses together!  The “Chicken Little–Sky Is Falling” name given to Fletcher by former undercover police officer Richard Greelis is spot on!  Just part of the same old fear mongering “orange alert” to manipulate the public, but…  (I don’t agree with everything Greelis said in his chapter about the RNC, but I give him credit for being more honest, forthcoming and insightful than the “Heffelfinger-Luger Report” which cost St. Paul a lot–like $100,000 if I remember right.)    

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