It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
The lawsuit claimed that strike force members "engaged in a pattern and practice of using their apparent authority as police officers to extort cash and property ... particularly from those concerned about their immigration status who would naturally perceive that they had no ability to assert legal rights."
U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen gave final approval to the settlement Dec. 16. She approved "incentive awards" to the "named plaintiffs serving as class representatives" of $2,500, in addition to any distributions they get from the settlement.
The strike force was shut in 2009, after the state legislative auditor issued a report that said the strike force couldn't account for more than $18,000 in seized cash and 14 seized cars. An independent review issued later said that perhaps a dozen strike force employees engaged in misconduct, and some in criminal acts, by taking seized goods for their own use.
Although auditors and investigators found what they termed widespread abuses, former Minneapolis police Officer Jason Andersen was the gang unit's only member to face prosecution. He was acquitted of using excessive force when he kicked a teen during a 2008 incident.
"Get the guns, and get the drugs off the street. No matter what. At any cost. Just get 'em off."
Herrera says the mandate from his bosses was clear: the ends justify the means. SOS hauled in big caches of weapons and drugs, and across the city, the crime rate plummeted.
"Policing the way we did it, there were just certain steps that you had to take," Herrera says. "We're dealing with convicted felons, we're dealing with bad people, we're dealing with drug dealers. If you want these people to go to jail, you have to cross the line sometimes."
Asked what his supervisors thought of his techniques, Herrera tells Couric, "Keep it up. Long as you got the guns, long as you got the drugs, long as you're getting the bad guys, keep it up.' And if they tell you 'Keep it up,' you keep it up."