St. Paul officer involved in Frank Baker incident “calls it quits” and testifies against fellow officer

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Defendant Anthony Spencer, one of the officers involved in the horrific June 2016 K9 and officer attack of Frank Baker, retired from the St. Paul Police Department in October 2016. In a recent article in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Spencer discussed testifying on behalf of the City of St. Paul in an arbitration hearing regarding fellow-Defendant Brett Palkowitch’s use of force against Baker. Palkowitch, who kicked Baker three times in the torso while he was being attacked by a K9, is fighting to get his job back and claims his actions were justified.  Spencer disagreed, claiming he testified because: “I owed it to [Mr. Baker].  How do you explain to that guy what happened to him was justified.”  The kicks and the K9 attack were caught on video and can be viewed below:

More information regarding Spencer’s take on the incident and the impact it left on him can be found here:

St. Paul cop who testified in police kicking incident calls it quits

 

Bob Bennett Featured in Minnesota Trial

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Bob Bennett was featured in the Fall 2016 edition of Minnesota Trial, The Journal of the Minnesota Association for Justice.  The article, written by Brendan Flaherty, discusses civil rights litigation and the hot topic of police excessive force.  The full article can be found here and includes a Question and Answer section with Bob.

If you feel you have been a victim of police brutality, excessive force or other police abuse, please contact Bob or any member of the GBBS civil rights team for a consultation.

Steve Gaskins, Andrew Birrell and Timothy Schupp Featured in Super Lawyers Business Edition

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The Super Lawyers Business Edition features the nation’s top attorneys in business practice areas.  To qualify for inclusion in this nationwide directory, the attorneys must have demonstrated excellence in practice areas useful to business, as well as having been selected to a 2016 or 2017 Super Lawyers list.  Three of GBBS’s managing partners were included in the 2016 directory – Steve Gaskins for Business Litigation; Timothy Schupp for Civil Litigation Defense and Andrew Birrell for White Collar Criminal Defense.  The entire directory can be viewed here.

Steve Gaskins, Andrew Birrell and Timothy Schupp Featured in Super Lawyers Business Edition

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The Super Lawyers Business Edition features the nation’s top attorneys in business practice areas.  To qualify for inclusion in this nationwide directory, the attorneys must have demonstrated excellence in practice areas useful to business, as well as having been selected to a 2016 or 2017 Super Lawyers list.  Three of GBBS’s managing partners were included in the 2016 directory – Steve Gaskins for Business Litigation; Timothy Schupp for Civil Litigation Defense and Andrew Birrell for White Collar Criminal Defense.  The entire directory can be viewed here.

Robert Bennett and Paul Dworak Named Minnesota Lawyer’s 2016 Attorneys of the Year

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Members of the Reid Sagehorn Litigation Team, including GBBS partners Robert Bennett and Paul Dworak, along with Joe Friedberg and Ron Rosenbaum, were chosen as 2016 Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer.  Sagehorn, a former honor student and two-sport varsity captain who was suspended, expelled, and forced to withdraw from Rogers High School because of a two-word, sarcastic tweet he posted outside of school hours, off school grounds, and without using any school property. The team sued the school district, superintendent, assistant superintendent, and the principal for violating Reid’s First Amendment right to free speech, and they also sued the Rogers Police Chief for defaming Reid by falsely and continuously reporting to the media that Reid, a minor at the time, committed a crime punishable by up to a felony. 

The defendants each filed motions asking the Court to dismiss the lawsuit. In a 45-page opinion, U.S. District Chief Judge Tunheim rejected all of the school defendants’ arguments and held that Reid’s constitutional claims against the school defendants and his defamation claim against the police chief were supported by the law and were to proceed. Defendants subsequently settled the matter for a total of $425,000. 

Click here to view the Attorneys of the Year 2016 digital edition.

Robert Bennett and Paul Dworak Named Minnesota Lawyer’s 2016 Attorneys of the Year

News

Members of the Reid Sagehorn Litigation Team, including GBBS partners Robert Bennett and Paul Dworak, along with Joe Friedberg and Ron Rosenbaum, were chosen as 2016 Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer.  Sagehorn, a former honor student and two-sport varsity captain who was suspended, expelled, and forced to withdraw from Rogers High School because of a two-word, sarcastic tweet he posted outside of school hours, off school grounds, and without using any school property. The team sued the school district, superintendent, assistant superintendent, and the principal for violating Reid’s First Amendment right to free speech, and they also sued the Rogers Police Chief for defaming Reid by falsely and continuously reporting to the media that Reid, a minor at the time, committed a crime punishable by up to a felony.

The defendants each filed motions asking the Court to dismiss the lawsuit. In a 45-page opinion, U.S. District Chief Judge Tunheim rejected all of the school defendants’ arguments and held that Reid’s constitutional claims against the school defendants and his defamation claim against the police chief were supported by the law and were to proceed. Defendants subsequently settled the matter for a total of $425,000.

Click here to view the Attorneys of the Year 2016 digital edition.

St. Paul Police Chief Apologizes to GBBS Client Attacked by K9 and Kicked by Officer

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Video footage that was recently released depicts Frank Baker’s disturbing June 24, 2016 encounter with St. Paul Police officers.  In the video, Baker is viciously attacked by St. Paul Police officer Ficcadenti’s police K9 and kicked three times in the ribs by officer Palkowitsch, while he was trying to comply with the officers’ orders.  Baker sustained serious injuries and spent 14 days in the hospital as a result.  He underwent skin grafts and other surgical procedures on his leg that was ripped apart by the K9.  Further, Baker suffered broken ribs and collapsed lungs as a result of the kicks.

On Friday, November 4, 2016, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell released squad video of the incident and issued an apology to Baker.  During his press conference, Chief Axtell declared the video “is not the Saint Paul way” and described why he was releasing the video, noting, in part:

“As St. Paul’s police chief, I’m disappointed and upset by what the video shows. As a person who deeply cares about this community and our department, I’m profoundly saddened…I am releasing this video today because it’s the right thing to do. Our community has a right to know what’s happening with their police department. For me, it’s about transparency. It’s about honoring the trust that our public has in its department, its officers and myself.”

Despite Chief Axtell’s words, the Union alleges the officers’ conduct was proper.  This is belied by Ficcadenti’s acceptance of his discipline in which he admitted to the factual basis for the discipline.  Click HERE to view the Settlement Letter that details the factual basis for Ficcadenti’s 30 day suspension and the numerous policy violations he committed during his encounter with Baker.  Meanwhile, Palkowitsch was been placed on unpaid leave.

Baker’s story quickly gained media attention and has been widely reported in many news outlets including the New York Times and many others due to the video evidence depicting the violent encounter.  More coverage of the incident and Chief Axtell’s apology can be found on the individual media websites (visit: the New York Times, StarTribune, Kare11, Fox 9, MPR, KSTP and WCCO).  The video itself can be viewed HERE.

St. Paul Police Chief Apologizes to GBBS Client Attacked by K9 and Kicked by Officer

News

Video footage that was recently released depicts Frank Baker’s disturbing June 24, 2016 encounter with St. Paul Police officers.  In the video, Baker is viciously attacked by St. Paul Police officer Ficcadenti’s police K9 and kicked three times in the ribs by officer Palkowitsch, while he was trying to comply with the officers’ orders.  Baker sustained serious injuries and spent 14 days in the hospital as a result.  He underwent skin grafts and other surgical procedures on his leg that was ripped apart by the K9.  Further, Baker suffered broken ribs and collapsed lungs as a result of the kicks.

On Friday, November 4, 2016, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell released squad video of the incident and issued an apology to Baker.  During his press conference, Chief Axtell declared the video “is not the Saint Paul way” and described why he was releasing the video, noting, in part:

“As St. Paul’s police chief, I’m disappointed and upset by what the video shows. As a person who deeply cares about this community and our department, I’m profoundly saddened…I am releasing this video today because it’s the right thing to do. Our community has a right to know what’s happening with their police department. For me, it’s about transparency. It’s about honoring the trust that our public has in its department, its officers and myself.”

Despite Chief Axtell’s words, the Union alleges the officers’ conduct was proper.  This is belied by Ficcadenti’s acceptance of his discipline in which he admitted to the factual basis for the discipline.  Click HERE to view the Settlement Letter that details the factual basis for Ficcadenti’s 30 day suspension and the numerous policy violations he committed during his encounter with Baker.  Meanwhile, Palkowitsch was been placed on unpaid leave.

Baker’s story quickly gained media attention and has been widely reported in many news outlets including the New York Times and many others due to the video evidence depicting the violent encounter.  More coverage of the incident and Chief Axtell’s apology can be found on the individual media websites (visit: the New York Times, StarTribune, Kare11, Fox 9, MPR, KSTP and WCCO).  The video itself can be viewed HERE.

 

 

Robert Bennett of GBBS presents at Congressional Briefing

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Washington, D.C.:  On November 1, 2016, Robert Bennett of GBBS presented at a Congressional Briefing, where he discussed police brutality and excessive force.  He noted the importance of video evidence in such instances, as it has helped increase public awareness on these topics.  Further, video evidence has been beneficial in his federal civil rights practice – helping him to better assess and prove the violation of his clients’ rights.  Bennett showed video footage and still images from squad videos and pen cameras as part of his presentation, which had a profound impact on the audience.  C-SPAN covered the event and it can be viewed in full here.  Bennett also participated in a Town Hall Session at the National Press Club on Policing and Training during his time in D.C., which can be viewed in full here.

Robert Bennett of GBBS presents at Congressional Briefing

News

Washington, D.C.:  On November 1, 2016, Robert Bennett of GBBS presented at a Congressional Briefing, where he discussed police brutality and excessive force.  He noted the importance of video evidence in such instances, as it has helped increase public awareness on these topics.  Further, video evidence has been beneficial in his federal civil rights practice – helping him to better assess and prove the violation of his clients’ rights.  Bennett showed video footage and still images from squad videos and pen cameras as part of his presentation, which had a profound impact on the audience.  C-SPAN covered the event and it can be viewed in full here.  Bennett also participated in a Town Hall Session at the National Press Club on Policing and Training during his time in D.C., which can be viewed in full here.