Officer Rams Van Full of Children, Brandishes Weapon, Arrests Father on Baseless Charge, and Receives No Punishment

squad2008tThe 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.

26 thoughts on “Officer Rams Van Full of Children, Brandishes Weapon, Arrests Father on Baseless Charge, and Receives No Punishment”

  1. When traveling 60 MPH – one mile comes up in about 1 minute. So from the time he makes the ‘illegal lane change’, realizes the HP is after him, signals shifts from the far left lane (avoiding other vehicles), sees he is coming to a stop at a freeway interchange, and looks for a safe place it takes a whopping 60 seconds. Then as he comes to a stop she PIT’s him and pulls a gun on him as if it was some kind of high speed pursuit of a wanted suspect. That all took 1 minute. Ridiculous.

    Seriously she should be put on unpaid leave, required extra training and have a desk job for a month. Salter should have been awarded twice that much with a public apology from the police dept.

  2. Sgt. Rindal was just formally reprimanded, and at least one news story said that the videotape of the “pursuit” and arrest will be used in future patrol training.

    Sam Salter has accepted a settlement of $9,500 from the State Patrol to compensate for his actual expenses and a small amount for aggravation.

    He was quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press as saying, “I don’t want to put any more negative energy into it. It’s been a traumatic event for my family.”

  3. I have worked with the police when I was running a neighborhood watch program in Maryland. I was sent to a ten week training program (known as the Citizen’s Academy) at our county police academy.
    My perceptions of the police really changed for the better after having the pleasure of working with such intelligent and wonderful people. Together, we addressed and resolved some very serious issues in our community.
    One of the many things they taught us about police work was that no reasonable officer would have any problem with you proceding to stop at a safe place as long as you didn’t try to evade them and signal to let them know you are going to stop. They said that in the event of an unmarked car, proceding to the local police station was quite acceptable.
    As I was in Minneapolis at a two week telecom seminar three years ago, I could have been the recipient of Officer Rindal’s complete lack of good judgement.
    I’m not one that believes that every dispute should be taken to the courts, but in this case Professor Salter should find the meanest, winniest attorney available and sue the State Police Police for every cent he can get out of them. This is the only way they are going to be forced to address this situation. From my perception, they seem to be doing nothing about this.
    If this officer’s actions were indeed within MSP policy, the policy is seriously flawed.
    I ask everyone to keep Professor Salter’s family in prayer (especially the children after having to witness the traumatic event of their father having a gun put to his head. I wonder how this is going to affect those children’s attitude towards Law Enforcement as they become adults?). As the Bible says we should pray for everyone, I’d ask that you pray that Officer Rindal comes to realize how seriously she has erred.
    And we should also pray for the fine police officers that protect us. Their reputations have been dirtied by Officer Rindal’s irresponsible actions.

  4. I’ve always been taught, and I still feel that if you don’t feel safe drive the extra length at a reasonable pace until you do.

    In some cases that may be a police station. In this case, it was 1 mile down the road.

    If it was myself, my wife or my kids in that car, I would have been furious. Rediculous.

    I don’t hate our public servents. I hate anyone that would abuse their power as such. Giggling and laughing? It seems sad to me that our officers would be this way.

    I really hope that they take some sort of disciplinary action. Something like this should not be tolerated.

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