Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-17-3645
Marylee Abrams, Tiffany L. Schmidt, Abrams & Schmidt LLC,
Kaufman, Kimberley Sobieck, Law Enforcement Labor Services,
Inc., (for respondent)
P. Michels, Erik Bal, Rice, Michels & Walther LLP, (for
amici curiae Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis,
Bloomington Police Federation and Duluth Police Union)
L. Naughton, League of Minnesota Cities, (for amici curiae
League of Minnesota Cities and Minnesota Chiefs of Police
M. Corwin, Joshua D. Hegarty, Gregg M. Corwin & Associate
Law Office, P.C., (for amicus curiae American Federation of
State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 5)
L. Joppa, (for amicus curiae American Federation of State,
County, and Municipal Employees, Council 65)
M. Beck, Joseph A. Kelly, Kelly & Lemmons, P.A., (for
amicus curiae Teamsters Local No. 320 and Teamsters Local
A. Alsop, Kennedy & Graven Chartered, (for amicus curiae
Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association)
Christopher K. Wachtler, Wachtler Law Office, (for amici
curiae Minnesota Conservation Officers Association, St. Paul
Police Federation, and Woodbury Police Officers Association)
Timothy J. Louris, M. William O'Brien, Emily L. Marshall,
Miller O'Brien Jensen, P.A., (for amici curiae
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1005, Int'l Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers, Local 160, Int'l Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers, Local 949, Int'l Union of Operating
Engineers, Local 49, Int'l Union of Operating Engineers,
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge;
Connolly, Judge; and Reilly, Judge.
prevent the use of excessive physical force by the police,
there is a clear public policy in favor of transparency and
proper reporting on the use of force. An arbitrator's
decision to reinstate a police officer who was terminated by
his municipal employer violates that public policy and will
not be enforced where the police officer failed to report his
use of force in violation of the employer's policy and
had been previously disciplined, trained, and counseled for
failing to report prior instances of the use of force.
City of Richfield terminated a police officer after an
internal investigation concluded that the officer (1) used
excessive force during an encounter on October 3, 2015, (2)
failed to report this use of force, and (3) violated his
training and the standards of conduct expected of a Richfield
police officer. The officer filed a grievance through his
union, respondent Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc. (the
union), and the matter was submitted to arbitration. The
arbitrator found that the officer was fired without cause and
directed that he be reinstated to his position and made
whole, less three days of unpaid suspension. The city filed a
motion to vacate the arbitration award, which the district
court denied. The city appeals, arguing that the arbitration
award should be vacated based on the public-policy exception.
We agree and reverse.
Kinsey was hired as a police officer at the Richfield Police
Department (RPD) in February 2006. In March 2012, he became
one of two canine officers with a new special assignment. On
October 3, 2015, at around 6:15 p.m., a Richfield resident
reported that "more than 50 Somalis" were gathered
in a park and "driving crazy on the roads."
Kinsey's K-9 squad and another officer (Officer 2) in a
separate squad car were dispatched to the park.
Kinsey approached the park, he had to brake sharply to avoid
a collision with two vehicles coming from the other
direction. Kinsey pulled these vehicles over, and
Kinsey's squad video camera and synced microphone
automatically activated at 6:30 p.m. The first driver, D1,
was a nearly 20-year-old Somali male with three passengers in
his vehicle. The second driver, D2, was a nearly 16-year-old
Somali male with one passenger in his vehicle. Kinsey told D1
that he had been called because "you guys were driving
like idiots." Neither driver was able to produce a
driver's license or proof of insurance. D1 claimed that
his license was at home, and D2 claimed that he had a permit
that was not with him. Kinsey warned the drivers that without
proof of insurance, their cars would be towed. Both drivers
used their phones to try to find their insurance information.
of responding to Kinsey about his license and proof of
insurance, D2 was argumentative about whether he was driving
too fast or following too closely. After talking with D2 and
the passenger in his vehicle for about six minutes, Kinsey
said, "Jesus Christ, you guys ever tell the f---ing
truth one day in your life . . . if you can't prove the
insurance, I'm towing the car, ok, so f---ing find
returned to D1 and asked him, as well as his vehicle
passengers, who had been in the park. They responded that
none of them had been in the park, and Kinsey said,
"Jesus Christ you guys are so full of s--t I can't
believe it." Kinsey called dispatch to get the
drivers' licenses and to report the driving violations.
Kinsey told dispatch, "they are all lying" about
why they are here and whether they were in the park. Kinsey
learned that D2's permit had been revoked. He returned to
D2 and told him that he could not be driving and he needed to
find a licensed driver.
returned to D1 and gave him a careless driving ticket
"for nearly causing an accident." When D1 said he
was concerned this would go on his license, Kinsey said,
"don't drive like an idiot." D1 responded,
"I wasn't driving like an idiot." Kinsey said,
I watched you nearly cause an accident because you were
speeding around a corner. The time for arguing is done. You
want to take it to court and we can talk about it in front of
a judge . . . but we are not going to discuss it anymore. You
can carefully drive away from here ok I don't want to see
you back in the [c]ity again. I should be towing your car.
argued about being excluded from the city, and Kinsey
replied, "not tonight." D1 said he had cousins who
lived there, and Kinsey told him and his passengers to get
out of the car because it was going to be towed. D1 argued
again, and Kinsey said:
For careless driving I can tow your car[.] I am giving you a
break[.] I'm saying I don't want to see you again
tonight driving around my [c]ity like an idiot. OK, it does
not require an argument it requires a yes sir and drive away
carefully. Can you do that?
returned to D2 to get his mother's name for the ticket.
D2 again asked why he was pulled over. While Kinsey was
trying to get information from D2, D2 was talking to his
mother on the phone, giving her directions to come get him.
D2 said one of the three young men sitting on the curb,
monitored by Officer 2, was a licensed driver who could drive
his car. D2 said he could not get his insurance information
because his internet was too slow. Kinsey told him to figure
it out or the car would be towed.
point, two and a half minutes had passed since Kinsey told D1
to drive away, but D1 had not moved. Kinsey returned to D1
and said, "You need to leave now ok, drive around my
squad car, it's time to go." The vehicle moved away,
and Kinsey put his squad car closer to D2. Kinsey exited his
car and saw D1 and his passengers approaching on foot. As
Kinsey walked toward D2's vehicle, Kinsey said, "Hey
I thought that you weren't coming to the park . . . you
didn't know anything about the park." Kinsey then
muttered, "You guys never told the f---ing truth ever in
your life, none of you f---ers." Kinsey then asked D2
for proof of insurance, asked how long until his mother would
arrive, and asked which guy on the curb was a licensed
then started walking the approximately 50-foot distance to
where D1 and his passengers were, about 15 feet from
Kinsey's squad car. The following conversation ensued:
Kinsey: Thought you didn't know anything about the park
and were just driving around.
D1: Well you just gave me a ticket that is going to go on my
Kinsey: Oh I'm sorry. Don't drive like an a--hole and
you won't get tickets.
Kinsey: Don't blame me, blame yourself.
D1: I'm not blaming you, I'm just saying
Kinsey: Oh you gave me a ticket and it's going on my
insurance. Tough s--t. Don't drive like an a--hole.
D1: I am just saying that you gave me a ticket
Kinsey: You're right I did. You're lucky I didn't
tow your car too.
D1: What are you going to tow my car for? What did I do, man?
Kinsey: Careless driving. Do I need to explain it again?
point, D2 began to record the exchange on his cellphone. This
36-second video shows Kinsey and D1 on the grass near the
street. D1 is several feet behind his group with a cellphone
to his left ear as the group is headed down the path toward
the park. D1 is facing the path. Kinsey is facing D1's
right side. The video shows Kinsey and D1 talking and Kinsey
pointing down the street toward the corner where D1's car
D1: Where is my car now?
Kinsey: I'm guessing around the corner. It's not
going to take that ...