Duplex Owner to Sue City of St. Paul
The Pioneer Press reported that the owner of a duplex that was raided by police two days before the Republican National Convention said he will sue the city of St. Paul in federal court.
Michael Whalen, 60, said police surrounded the occupants of 949/951 Iglehart Ave. on Aug. 30 with weapons drawn.
Whalen's attorney, Ted Dooley, said police did not have a warrant, thus were not allowed to enter. A couple of hours later, police returned with a warrant and handcuffed Whalen and others in the back yard.
According to the warrant, they were searching for explosives in heavy boxes, among other things.
The boxes in question contained vegan literature.
"They found nothing, absolutely nothing," Dooley said. "We want the police to back off and stop screwing around with people's rights."
Whalen resides in the 951 half of the house. The 949 half was empty, but members of an independent media group, I-Witness Video, were given permission to stay there during the convention.
The group, which helped exonerate the charges of 400 people arrested during the 2004 Republican Convention in New York, planned to film a documentary about protests during the convention.
Dooley said he thinks I-Witness group members were the real reason behind the police raid.
The city will forward the suit to its insurance company for defense and indemnification under the $10 million police liability insurance once it receives notice of the lawsuit and determines if it is related to the RNC, City Attorney John Choi said.
Police were operating under the authority of the Ramsey County district judge, who signed the search warrant. "I'm confident that the St. Paul police acted in good faith in obtaining and executing the search warrant," Choi said.