The video below shows a curious police chase. Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Carrie Rindal says that she was forced to ram the van of a man attempted to flee in his van and then succeeded in arresting him. The only problem is that Sam Salter was only suspected of an unlawful lane change and his flight was for only one mile at a slow speed. Salter had his children in the van and says that he was trying to find a safe place to pull over when Rindal rammed his van and came at him with his gun drawn.
Salter ended up in jail for two days while his kids had to be picked up at the jail. Rindal did $1500 damage to his 2001 Toyota Sienna van, and endangered his three children, ages 2, 3 and 6, who were in the van. Yet, after reviewing the tape, the prosecutors admitted that they saw no evidence to support Rindal’s claim that he was fleeing an officer. There is of course no reason to do so since he had not committed any crime and he had no alcohol in his bloodstream.
The exchange between the two reveals the mindless approach of Rindal:
Salter: … I really didn’t expect you to hit my car. … I just thought it was extremely unreasonable….
Rindal: OK. What we do is called the P.I.T. maneuver.
Salter: It was fairly obvious.
Rindal: No, it wasn’t fairly obvious. That’s why I did the P.I.T. maneuver.
Salter: So you thought I was going to slow down and then take off because I was obviously slowing down and pulling over? You hit me when I was next to the curb so I don’t know where you thought I was going.
Rindal: Well, you kept driving. …
Salter: I drove from the corner to here.
Rindal: You drove all the way from 94 and Earl to here.
Salter: Right, which is the safest spot to stop between where I saw your lights.
Rindal: Well, that’s why we are in this spot that we’re in, Samuel. When you see red lights and sirens, you don’t keep on driving and driving and driving [so] you decide where you are going to stop. We decide that.
Salter: I understand that, but I feel that I [didn’t] have a safe place to stop between where I saw your lights and here.
Rindal: OK, well that’s why we’re at where we’re at, OK? Next time, maybe you’ll realize that we decide where the safe spot is.
Salter: I’m not a criminal. I’m not trying to evade you. I was not trying to run away.
Rindal: OK. I don’t know that. All I know is that I’m behind a vehicle that’s not stopping when my red lights and siren are going.
Salter: … I slowed down and I pulled to the side and I was looking for a safe place to stop. That corner on 61 seemed to me hidden from the rear as you went around it. It’s slippery. I didn’t want to stop on a dime. I was really trying to be safe.
Paul Gustafson, a spokesman for Ramsey County attorney’s office simply announced: “It was our belief there was insufficient evidence to prove that the suspect was knowingly fleeing police, and that is what he had been arrested for.” Yet, they mailed Salter a ticket for an illegal lane change.
Of course, the department has taken no action against Rindal who rams the car of a citizen, brandishes her weapon without apparent cause, terrorizes children, and then files a baseless charge. As in the recent Chattanooga case, the lack of action taken against the officer raises a troubling question of a double standard for officers and citizens engaged in wrongdoing. While Rindal should not be criminally charged, her actions raises serious questions over her fitness to serve as an officer.
The only way to get the Minnesota Patrol to seriously police its own ranks may be a civil lawsuit in this case. The video below shows that the use of a PIT was unwarranted and that the arrest was bogus.
For the video and full story, click here.