Disbanded Metro Gang Strike Force faces 118 claims

Randy Hopper, the man who sued the Strike Force

Randy Hopper, the man who sued the Strike Force

Today is the deadline for filing claims against the disgraced and disbanded Metro Gang Strike Force, and so far 118 people have said the force extorted them.

Lead plaintiff Zelaido Rivera Garcia won a $3 million settlement for the group of plaintiffs back in August. U.S. District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen agreed that the strike force had extorted people--in Garcia's case, by taking $100 from his wallet.


The officers also took $900 in cash from Maura Gonzalez Salinas's personal clothing drawer, as well as a 24-karat gold necklace worth approximately $600. They took $2,800 Adrian Ramirez-Cuevas's apartment, and stole $7,500 in property and jewelry belonging to Kathleen and John Yankovic. Then they laughed at Kathleen when she protested.

Now, someone has to pay for all that bad behavior--and it's us taxpayers.

The various cities and counties whose officers formed the Strike Force will be responsible for paying back the $3 million settlement, plus $775,000 to $825,000 attorneys fees, said Randy Hopper, attorney for the plaintiffs. The exact total of attorney fees depends how many people file.

"Those fees get paid by the [insurance] fund through the Minnesota League of Cities," Hopper explained.

Although today is the official deadline, the judge will allow last-minute claimants to join until Jan. 14. After that, It's likely that the law firm representing the plaintiffs will sort out what each one gets.

"Based on what we believe the claims to be, based on the facts of each individual's case, we know about what we think that claims should be worth," Hopper said. "And we may or may not recommend to the special master what the amount should be."

The defendants in the case form a laundry list of local officers law enforcement agencies. Here is the list of the officers named in the initial criminal complaint:

  • Metro Gang Strike Force
  • Ron Ryan, former Metro Gang Strike Force Commander
  • Officers 1-34 of the Metro Gang Strike Force
  • Metro Gang Strike Force Advisory Board
  • Manila "Bud" Shaver, Chief of the West St. Paul Police Department
  • Ken Schilling, Inspector at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office
  • Dave Bellows, Chief Deputy of the Dakota County Sheriff's Office
  • Bob Fletcher, Sheriff of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
  • John Harrington, Chief of the St. Paul Police Department
  • Rob Allen, Deputy Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department
  • Bill Hutton, Sheriff of the Washington County Sheriff's Office
  • Dave Thomalla, Chief of the Maplewood Police Department
  • Dave Pecchla, Chief of the Lino Lakes Police Department
  • Dave Indrehus, Chief of the Metro Transit Police Department
  • Michael Davis, Chief of the Brooklyn Park Police Department
  • Barry Fritz, Captain of the Richfield Police Department