Deputy Dan Ruettiman's suicide rocks Ramsey County Sheriff's Department

Bob Fletcher foe left files detailing his struggle for justice

"The internal investigation uncovered a history of abuse," the demotion letter read, saying Ruettimann ought to have been charged with felony strangulation and stalking. "Even though you were not charged for these crimes your actions are grounds for demotion."

When Ruettimann walked out of the meeting, Fletcher was outside.

"I just want you to have a wonderful holiday weekend," Fletcher said, according to Ruettimann's recollection of the incident to friends. (Fletcher did not return numerous requests for comment.)

The law enforcement union challenged the demotion immediately, and a few days later, Fletcher was ushered out of office. The new regime decided that Ruettimann's case would be one of three to be considered for re-investigation by an outside jurisdiction.

The shot at redemption gave Ruettimann hope—until someone leaked the confidential details of his investigation to Fox 9.

For weeks after he returned to Minnesota, Ruettimann refused to go anywhere in public. He fretted to Deters: "People will see me."

   

ON APRIL 1, 2011, Ruettimann arrived at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center with his union lawyer, ready to go on the offensive. His Internal Affairs case was being reviewed by the Minneapolis Police Deparment, and Ruettimann had come armed with two years' worth of evidence. He hoped it would put everything back as it was before the election.

"You are being questioned as part of an official Ramsey County Sheriff's Department Administrative investigation," the Minneapolis investigator rattled off. "Do you understand that?"

"Yes, I do," Ruettimann answered.

In January, after Sheriff Bostrom took office, officers speculated that he would make sweeping changes in the ranks. Those who had campaigned for him would be rescued from their abysmal reassignments and whisked into more favorable positions.

But after several weeks, it became painfully clear that this wasn't going to happen.

Even so, Ruettimann thought he could fix the situation himself now that it was in his hands.

Ruettimann printed out all the incident reports he could find of Fletcher supporters involved in offenses similar or worse than his who were never subjected to Internal Affairs.

One deputy had rolled his car over on the highway and responding officers had to extract his service weapon as the vehicle burned. At the hospital, the officer tested at twice the legal limit for alcohol.

Another deputy had racked up several offenses, including a drunk-driving arrest and a domestic assault in which the wife told St. Paul police her husband had strangled her. The similarity to Ruettimann's case was not lost on him.

At one point, Ruettimann pushed the reports across the table to the Minneapolis investigator.

"The IA process in my estimation for the last several years has been corrupt and crooked," Ruettimann pronounced. "There's some pretty interesting charges here on some of these folks."

Ruettimann laid out the whole story—from his divorce, to his support of Bostrom, to the backlash from the other deputies, to the Fox 9 leak—crisscrossing from family dynamics to issues within the department.

"For 28 years, I have never been so humiliated in my life in terms of the actions that have been done," he told the investigator. "I just want to be able to see my kids. I want to be able to return back to my patrol position and move on."

Afterward, Ruettimann went back to jail duty to await what he hoped would be a better outcome.

   

ON AUGUST 1, 2011, Ruettimann got his answer.

"Notice of intent to suspend," the letter read.

It was very much like the letter Fletcher's administration had written. While all mention of the Polaroids of his ex-wife were scrubbed, as was the implication that Ruettimann committed any felonies, the result was no less crushing. His punishment would be a 30-day suspension. He also learned he would not be allowed back on patrol duty. The demotion was halted, but he'd have to work in the courts. It'd be years before he could get back his old job.

At the time, he told friends he was fine.

"I'm going to take my punishment," Ruettimann said. "I'm going to earn my wings."

   

IN THE MONTHS AFTER the decision, Ruettimann's demeanor began to change.

He started spending an exorbitant amount of time on the phone. He called his best friend in Arizona, the friends he'd made in DARRT-PAC, his pastor, his sister—sometimes he called each of them multiple times in one day.

If he was talking to an acquaintance, Ruettimann pretended he was satisfied with the reassignment to the Ramsey County Courthouse. He'd have nights and weekends free to see his kids, and he'd be back on patrol in no time.

But closer friends knew Ruettimann had found out something new. Multiple local media outlets were requesting his Internal Affairs file. Once the investigation was finally closed, the outcome—along with the justification for punishment—would be available to the press.

"It's going to make me out to be a wife abuser and a liar," Ruettimann told his best friend Hilger. "My reputation is destroyed."

"It's not as bad as you think," Hilger responded.

Ruettimann would agree, but a few hours later he'd call back with the same worries.

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57 comments
let it go
let it go

Oh yeah? Sheriff Matt Bostrom is not vindictive huh or political ? Why don't you try and explain it to these two young deputies whose careers he's ruined now because our new and better Sheriff "Bostrom" decided to bring politics into office! I'm not saying Fletcher was a saint, but these two kids didn't deserve this, thats all!!! Retired Deputy 2440

http://www.startribune.com/loc...

a m0m
a m0m

Sheriff Matt Bostrom does not compromise his ethics, integrity, and sense of fairness to become vindictive, condemning and controlling. Unlike Bob Fletcher.

Please share a time when Bostrom has gone out of his way to condemn or destroy any of his many employees over the year. How about community members? How many stories can you bring to light where people would say that they could not speak candidly to Bostrom because they feared retaliation at a later time?

Dan was absolutely right when he choose to campaign for Bostrom. He told me "He is a good man, well educated with morals and integrity." Has anyone ever heard Bob Fletcher described that way? No, he is evil, vindictive, lying, manipulating who gets off on destroying people...

Rest in peace Daniel~ you are loved by many!

Caroline Mannheimer
Caroline Mannheimer

All in all, I feel most sorry for those twin boys. No father and a manipulating mother. May God watch over them.

anreader
anreader

the files are not confidental files... they are public info, he passed on the file to the reporter for a reason... he wanted his story to be heard!... if the files were confindental then why did the ones on the deputy get to the press??????

Whats the point of this story
Whats the point of this story

Wow. For a minute I thought I had accidentally visited the National Enquirer website. When did the City Pages turn in to a tabloid? The man took his life and obviously had some mental illness that included paranoia. I doubt anyone from the general public knew that before this article was published. I can't understand why somone would publish this stuff. It puts the deputy in a bad light, for taking confidential records from a government agency. And his friend, who has been described as a reserve deputy, distributed them without authorization from the County. Let the man rest in peace instead of opening his death up to gossip and petty arguing and mud slinging by the readers. One really has to wonder why the current sheriff allowed his political supporter to provide the file for publication. After reading this article, it seems the deputy who killed himself felt betrayed by the current sheriff, too, and the whole story leaves me believing that the new sheriff has widened the divide between department personnel. Publishing this story is in very poor taste. If the author wanted to write about the deceased deputy, it seems she could have written a story about him, as a person, and some of his life time accomplishments, instead of focusing on the turmoil in his life and career. I'm just sayin'.

Ted
Ted

As a former Deputy for Ramsey County many many years ago....and having age and a modicum of wisdom, I would respectfully point out that every Sheriff (remember Kermit Hedman?) was a bad guy....(or their Chief Deputies)They are all demonized by Deputies who feel somehow that they are victims of authority...and usually poorly used authority at least from the Deputies points of view.

I was transferred out of the Patrol Division to the Jail because I filed a grievance over a vacation I was "ordered" to take....I won the battle and lost the war ulitmately leaving the department for another career...The Union was worthless and I accepted my new role along with another Deputy who was considered a trouble maker by the authority figures and we worked together in the jail division before I decided I'd had enough...I just decided life was too short..My friend retired from the department..We both spent hours of wasted time demonizing the "brass"....

Back in those days, there were two kinds of deputies... the ones that sucked up to the hierarchy and those that undermined and rebelled against them.... I unfortunately (for me) was in the second group..

It sounds like this young man that killed himself too was an angry young guy who got caught up in politics. Truth is, it wouldn't matter who the Sheriff was or is....he has to make decisions he (or she) feels is in the best interests of the department... which means either the suckups will be angry or the rebellious victimized deputes will.... whats the difference...makes a good story..but thats really all it is..This is nothing more than a forum for letting off steam.....abuse of power????.. It's just politics....and a reality of life....

Not a Citizen anymore
Not a Citizen anymore

Im not law enforcement but as Dan & Jimmys friend, I witnessed this situation. Its true. Thank You Jesse it means alot. I liked the pics of Dan too. I know he would have liked the cartoons as well. The whole situation is so sick. The abuse of power, the way the Sheriff uses my tax money to accomplish their narcissitic goals. They wont get in trouble either, watch and see. Thick as thieves those guys!!!Gotta another joke for ya, How do ya get 6 yep 6 Ramsey County deputys to show up at your home during a crime? Call em & Tell em you stole a camapign sign!!

comcerned
comcerned

where did all the old story in the pioneer press go.... they somehow just disappeared!

Friend Of Bostrom
Friend Of Bostrom

Bostrom and his co-chair former St. Paul Police Chief Harrington should get familiar with the word hypocrisy. Every constituent should think twice about supporting Bostrom for Sheriff. He is a weak leader in my opinion! Bostrom & Harrington have persistently advertised about how great there “hiring practices” are! Every constituent should know that Bostrom’s campaign has continuously flaunted the terms “character based” hiring practices and “ethical leadership” throughout their campaign literature and rhetoric.

As a citizen I find It quite disturbing how Bostrom and Harrington can call their hiring practices “character based” when they’ve have 7 of their own Officer’s from their department criminally arrested within the last year.[I prefer not to mention the names of the Officer’s arrested out of respect on this form, but I encourage everyone to do the research]

It seems only logical if you have 7 Officer’s arrested within the last year, there is something clearly wrong and your so called “character based” hiring practices are broken or definitely not working! I would have to say that this stems from mismanagement and poor hiring practices maybe low morale! Basically this goes completely against everything Bostrom and Harrington claim to be and what they promote!

Carmen Devore-Blakestad
Carmen Devore-Blakestad

I read this story last night and I have to say that it literally made me sick to my stomach. The fact that none of your commentors can figure out that the treatment he was getting at work is what fueled all of this, is beyond me! He WASN'T crazy, he was made crazy by his boss!

How much crap and humiliation is a person supposed to take before they finally go off the deep end? The demotions, the whispers, the rumors spread, intimidation, etc. There does come a point when you can no longer take it. If you've never experienced this kind of treatment at work, you have NO IDEA what's it's like!! It is a LIVING HELL and no one should have to endure it!!! Trust me, I know!!!

Reading this was like deja-vu, because I went through roughly the same thing with my husband and his work. He worked his ass off for them, did everything they wanted him to do and more, but because he wouldn't KISS ASS to get ahead and voiced his opinion, he was treated like garbage!! Thankfully he didn't take his life, but why in the hell does it have to get to the point where you feel that it's the only way out?

I feel for this poor man. I'm so sorry that the job that he obviously loved, was used to ruin him. Who are you people here to pass judgement on him?! No where in the article say he was EVER a wife abuser!! Even if it were true, it had no business being brought up years later just to use as ammo to humiliate and ruin his reputation. He had been a Fletcher supporter, but when he realized what the man was really like and voiced his opinion, he was treated like this!!

And you who are so "pro-Fletcher", it's on the record that he was an asshole and if you didn't kiss his ass, you'd be demoted!! The department was SUED for it, for christ's sake!! I'd really like to know why, since he showed he was capable of treating his underlings like that, was there not a more in depth investigation into him?! Talk about someone who should not be allowed to inforce the law or carry a gun!! It's police like Fletcher that give the whole force a bad name!

Shame on all of you that were aware of what was happening and did nothing. I praise this man because he had enough balls to stand up and say something when he thought what was going on wasn't right. He tried to help make a change for the benefit of all of you. I hope you feel real proud of yourselves, knowing you helped to destroy someone else.

Thank god more people don't work in conditions like this, or I'm afraid we'd be seeing stories like this every day...........

Solittlereality
Solittlereality

If you want to know anything about Bob Fletcher look at his son. A pot dealer, an alcoholic, drove drunk frequently, crashed his car recently because of it. I like how no one knows this. It's pathetic.

Normajean475
Normajean475

WOW WHAT A RAG THIS PAPER IS! SHAME ON YOU FOR PRINTING THIS TRASH! EXPLOITING A PERSON WHO WAS CLEARLY MENTALLY ILL. HOW LOW WILL YOU GO?

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

This man had some serious issues, he actually thought the former sheriff was "going to kill him".... the article states the second agency agreed with the former sheriff s action, sounds like the new sheriff gave this man false hopes and eventually turned their back on him, someone should have stepped in and helped.......with what was in the articles I will agree that he should not have been able to carry a badge or a gun. Over time we have lost our sense of personal responsibility, it would be nice to read the internal affairs file.......why wasnt the new Sheriff interviewed......it appears with almost a year under new leadership we still have not heard one word from the new administration.....on anything...reading the comments makes you wonder if everyone was reading the same article as I read!

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

Interesting how his stormy relationship with his first wife was largely glossed over by the SPPD back before Fletcher's people found out he was working for Bostrom, Particularly considering the taste for vicious revenge this article documents on the part of Fletcher and his minions.

seems angry to me
seems angry to me

so this guy is brought up on charges of conduct unbecoming an Officer, the former Sheriff Fletcher takes his gun and badge away, he gets angry............meanwhile hes been campaigning for Bostrom in hopes he'll recieve special treatment for all his hard work on the campaign trail.... Bostrom then gives this guy a second chance, his deputy job back along with his badge and gun....... hes still not happy with his assignment... he then takes his own life......

RNC2008
RNC2008

Fletcher assisted suicide. Glad I don't work at that toxic Department.

Jfieio
Jfieio

You people are absolutely disgusting. Let the man, and his family, be in peace. And if you're going to print a comic strip, make sure it's funny.

Sister
Sister

Okay Fletcher ~ you and all of your FOB's (friends on Bob) can stop right now. Dan has a family who has already experienced a very traumatic loss, including 2 children who will some day read this. You have done enough damage to us. I hope you are satisfied but stop using Dan as a political tool to bash Bostrom. You are a evil, vindictive man who is power hungry and needs to be in control. STOP THIS NOW!

Twinsfansam
Twinsfansam

This man was a angry, disturbed and paranoid person. Any cop who is a wife abuser should be removed from their position. Your artical infers that former Sheriff Fletcher was out to get him. From my reading he was his own worse enemy.

Basicface
Basicface

great story...RIP.. it amazing how politics can fuel so many fires ... and sore loosers will always be sore loosers

Walter
Walter

It would be interesting to hear Bostrom's take on this? And I'm quite shocked none of this was mentioned beofore, I recall reading about the other disciplined deputies Briebarth and Clemen, its seems like Bostrom kept this pretty tight lipped and quiet until now! It apparant this invividual was truly unstable and disturbed, its a shame nobody recgnoized the warning signs including Bostrom who gave him his service weapon back....... It sounds like Bostrom gave him false hope

whats more distrubing is reading pieces from the police report, its an eerie resemblance of what my mother-in-law went through

"I'm going to fucking kill your father tonight," Ruettimann said, then made a throat-slitting motion before driving off, according to the police report.

blah
blah

come on~ Fletcher made them cops 2 weeks before he left office as a favor for them kissing his ass so bad during his campaign. You obviously don't know what is in the background checks done on the 2 employee's~ like none of us do.. Fletcher should not have hired anyone 2 weeks before he was to leave office. He is just a pathetic son of a bitch!

RE-POST
RE-POST

Sorry "just the facts" but your logical reasoning here is seriouly flawed! You are basing your entire premise on that everything including information/documents the deceased deupty gave to 'Jimmy'...... who then gave them to a blogger/city pages reporter as "true" and "correct". These documents have yet to be disputed by anyone! Now lets get to the facts

FACT Dan Ruettimann worked on Matt Bostrom's campaign

FACT Dan Ruettimann had his service weapon & deputy badge taken away by former Sheriff Bob Fletcher

FACT Dan Ruettimann was involved with a domestic dispute with his ex-wife more than once.

FACT Dan Ruettimann was reinstated by Matt Bostrom and was given his service weapon and deputy Sheriff badge back

FACT Dan Ruettimann unfortunately ended his life with his service weapon Bostrom gave back to him

How in the hell can you say that this has nothing to do with Bostrom?

a reader
a reader

you have a point every job has a politic side to it, even more so when you are in a job like a sheriff... but bullying and kicking someone when they are down over and over again... to me just shows how taking your power way to far!!! And when you use to much power it all blows a fuse!

trickydick
trickydick

Yeah isn't that something? Talk about a waste of tax payers dollars! I assume you are referring to our current Sheriff Matt Bostrom... didnt he have the FBI or something investigate his campaign signs? I agree with you complete abuse of power by our Sheriff

Sister
Sister

You people are pathetic... Just Stop!

Citizen
Citizen

Nice try Fletcher or one of your FOB's.. This is so like you to shift the story away from yourself. Mismanagement and poor hiring practices? If what you are saying is true then he is just getting rid of the trash that you hired and manipulated all of these years. From what I read at the end of last year, you made sure Bostrom didn't have an opportunity to hire anyone because you filled all open spots with your FOB's....Pathetic!

PRTYANGESMILE
PRTYANGESMILE

So applaude a women beater! And everyone but the ram co deputy is to blame? Nice out shoot yourself then blame everyone for your problems! Shut up!

Sister
Sister

Very well said and absolutely true!

PRTYANGESMILE
PRTYANGESMILE

Ummm didn't he arrest his son? And last time I checked parents cannot always control their kids...I.e. Lindsay Lohan,Paris Hilton,Charlie sheen...your comment it dumb! Small minded!

Sister
Sister

Quit already! There is enough sadness going around. Stop Now!

Sister
Sister

Again STOP using Dan as a political tool to bash Bostrom. It is so obvious by all of your statements that this is you Fletcher, or one of your FOB's... PLEASE stop this NOW!

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

Nice of you to leave out the truck keying and all the harassment from Sideshow Bob and his cronies that's in the story.

get your facts straight FOB
get your facts straight FOB

FACT Dan Ruettimann worked on Fletchers campaign in 2006 when the first call to the police was made by his wife, while going through a divorce.

FACT New Brighton police did not see any marks on her neck

FACT Sheriff Fletcher was aware of the call to police and did nothing about it (because Dan was campaigning for him)

FACT Dan Ruettimann's ex wife called the police because he made a comment in a argument between the two about her father, hardly a domestic abuse case. He didn't threaten his ex at all or her father directly.

FACT Dan Ruettimann was going to start having full weekend visits starting 2 weeks after this incident and his controlling ex wife didn't want that to happen because then she would lose control over her kids.

FACT Dan Ruettimann was severely punished by Bob Fletcher because Dan had betrayed him.

FACT Dan Ruettimann had his service weapon taken away by Fletcher because he was retaliating against him for campaigning for Bostrom

FACT I ran into a family member of Ruettimann's who told me that there was never a shell casing found at the scene. The police brought out metal detectors and equipment and there was not one there.

FACT No one knows what happened to Ruettimann and since there is no shell casing one can hardly say it was a suicide!

Get your facts straight FOB

woman
woman

all the files ARE facts, that why they were obtainable! ... to anyone!

comcerned
comcerned

no no I meant they all disappeared from archives ... because they all we blown up way beyond the truth.

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

When I read these comments it would seem that even after the former Sheriff has been out of office he is still being held responsible for issues the new administration should be addressing....unless I have missed something....why hasn't the new Sheriff been interviewed and asked these questions...I also believe that when the leader of an organization with over 600 employees under their control,they will always have a percentage of unhappy individuals....wasnt the individual that committed suicide one of these that the former Sheriff had disciplined at the end of 2010 because of the "facts" from a police report that he stated he was going to kill his exwifes father...looking in from the outside it would appear that the former Sheriff was aware of this individuals issues and removed him...that is something we should all agree on as being a good thing. I also read the article in regards to the former Sheriff getting into an argument with his exwife as she was drinking, the police said she was drinking and smelled like alcohol, had red eyes.....he wasnt allowing her to drive.....While some of the comments I believe made this into something more than it was......I would like to hear what the current administration has to say about these issues........more than likely we all will never know.....

Carmen Devore-Blakestad
Carmen Devore-Blakestad

Did you even bother to read the article? I suspect NOT! I have no use for abusers, but there is no where in the story that said he was tried or CONVICTED of anything!! And like I said in my letter, even if he was, it had happened a very long time ago and it was only used to smear and humiliate him YEARS later.

People like you give me a pain in my ass. Next time, why don't you actually READ what you're supposedly spouting off about. Then someone might actually take what you say seriously.

Moulton65
Moulton65

STOP! You are so cruel.... Like I said earlier, we are grieving and someday his children will read this. Is it necessary to say things like that? I hope you are proud of yourself! Please ~ just quit. Enough is Enough!

Carmen Devore-Blakestad
Carmen Devore-Blakestad

Thanks. I've never replied to any other article I've read, but this one just struck something in me and I couldn't shake it. I could not just sit here and be sickened by it and say nothing....again.

I cried when when I finished that article and I cried when I wrote the above. There needs to be more people in this world like this deputy who are willing to stand up for what they believe in and not just "go with it" cause it's popular or what everybody else is doing. There also needs to be more people like his friends who stuck with him when it would've been so much easier to just walk away. I would've liked to have met this man. I know I would've have been very proud to call him a friend.

His family and friends have my deepest and very heart felt sympathies. I hope he found the peace he was looking for....

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

The files had information about certain occasions, that hardly makes the files facts......but work it anyway you want!

get your facts straight FOB
get your facts straight FOB

Your right, we will never know. We will not know because the current administration has respect and compassion for this deputy's family.

Carmen Devore-Blakestad
Carmen Devore-Blakestad

Oh, and you know the truth because why, you where there?! I think not.

Like I said, try reading the article smartass. And BTW, who are YOU to judge other people?! As far as I know, NO ONE died and made you GOD! Get off your damn high horse. People who live in glass houses.....

RIP Dan
RIP Dan

He was NOT a woman beater you Dumbass! You obviously don't know the truth! Take your comments and shove them. Go have lunch with Bob you stupid FOB!

PRTYANGESMILE
PRTYANGESMILE

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE CONVICTED TO BE AN ABUSER DUMBASS! OBVIOUSLY YOU DON'T KNOW THE TRUTH! SO SHUT UP!

me
me

Yes ~ Rest in Peace!

Citizen
Citizen

Rest in Peace Deputy Ruettimann

 
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