Updated: 12/19/2012 10:53 PM KSTP.com By: Mark Albert
An intoxicated man pulled a loaded handgun on two Metro Transit police officers while in the back of their squad car, after a pat-down by the officers failed to find the weapon, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has confirmed.
The man, identified by authorities as 21 year-old Wesley Rogers, had been seen "harassing" a woman at 7th St S and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis shortly after four o'clock in the afternoon on Dec. 4, officials said. Metro Transit Ofcs. Jason Malland and Adam Marvin, assigned on a detail in the area, responded and found Rogers "obviously intoxicated."
A pat-down search of Rogers by the officers found "an open bottle of liquor." Rather than arrest Rogers or take him to a detox facility, the officers decided to take Rogers to his North Minneapolis home as a "courtesy," according to Metro Transit.
The officers placed Rogers, un-handcuffed, in the back of the squad car. According to the Metro Transit Incident Report and a memo titled "Officer Safety Lesson" sent to downtown Minneapolis police officers by Acting First Precinct Inspector Dean Christiansen, the two Transit officers "heard a metal clunk" from the rear while driving, pulled over, and found Rogers had pointed "a loaded .38 revolver" at them "while in a squad."
The incident was captured on a rear-facing squad surveillance camera.
The gun was not fired and Rogers was "subdued" and taken to the Hennepin County Jail.
Spokesman John Siqveland said Metro Transit police chief John Harrington was not available for an interview about the incident on Wednesday.
In a statement, Siqveland told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the lapse was an "isolated incident" involving an individual wearing "many layers of clothing," and that Ofcs. Malland and Marvin remain on active duty.
The incident "was reviewed by training and command staff and the officers were counseled by command staff and met with training (staff) to review officer safety," Siqveland said, adding that the pair was not disciplined.
Malland joined MTPD in October after previously working at the Hennepin County Jail and as an officer in Honolulu. Marvin has been with Metro Transit since May 2009, according to information provided by the department.
MTPD's search policy states that frisk or pat-down searches should be conducted of "the outer clothing or the area immediately accessible to the individual to check for the possible presence of a potential weapon or dangerous items that could pose a danger to the officer or others."
Squad car video shows Rogers pulling the gun "out of the front of his pants," according to authorities. Metro Transit declined a request to release a copy of the video, citing the ongoing investigation into Rogers.
"(It) could have been bad for citizens, officers; it could have been ugly," said an undercover St. Paul police officer named Mark who has taught at Hennepin Technical College's Law Enforcement Center for the past 28 years.
On Wednesday, the Center's staff demonstrated the proper technique for conducting a pat-down search for a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS camera.
"If you've got a firearm on a person, no, it's not thorough. I don't mean to bad name the officers or do anything like that, but it's just - could have been tragic," Mark said.
"Complacency kills. So, you've got to be on your game all the time or tragic events could happen."