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Walter Carlson returns to Minneapolis Police after privacy violations

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Criminal charges against Minneapolis cop Walter Carlson will be dismissed on a technicality, and Carlson has returned to work without punishment -- assuming he doesn't invade anyone else's privacy in the next year.

Carlson was indicted last month for allegedly accessing people's public records for reasons "unrelated to any official business or work-related assignment." Prosecutors alleged that he'd been "repeatedly" accessing the Driver and Vehicle Services database for non-work purposes since 2003.

The St. Paul City Attorney's Office charged him with a single count of misconduct of a public employee -- and that is now being dismissed, but not because Carlson's not guilty.

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Carlson's lawyer, Fred Bruno, explained to the Star-Tribune that "a police officer cannot be charged with a gross misdemeanor unless there's a statutory violation and, in Carlson's case, there was none."

His charges have not been formally dismissed yet, however: Carlson has been granted a continuance for dismissal, which means that the charge will be dismissed in a year if he can stay out of trouble.

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