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MinnesotaChapteroftheNationalLawyersGuild 3547CedarAvenueSouth Minneapolis,MN55407

February 5, 2014 Minneapolis City Council 350 S 5th St #307 Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415 Re: Re-Appointment of Susan Segal as Minneapolis City Attorney

Dear Members of the Minneapolis City Council: On behalf of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, we are writing to urge that you vote against the re-appointment of Susan Segal as the Minneapolis City Attorney. As City Attorney, Ms. Segal has allowed politics to determine legal advice that she has provided to the City Council, she has sought to restrict public access to government data essential to enable public knowledge of the Minneapolis Police Department, and she has pursued the prosecution of people engaged in political protest in a manner which wastes city resources and threatens First Amendment rights. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was founded in 1937 with the proposition that human rights shall be held more sacred than property interests. A chapter of the Guild has existed in Minnesota since the founding of the national organization. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice John Devaney was the first president of the National Lawyers Guild. Our Minnesota chapter has worked to defend the interests of working people, protect the right to political dissent, hold law enforcement accountable for abuse, and ensure that the civil liberties and human rights of all members of the community are protected. As City Attorney, Susan Segal authored the public legal opinion maintaining that the provision of the special legislation for the new Vikings stadium that raised $150 million through a sales tax increase on Minneapolis residents did not conflict with the Minneapolis City Charter amendment requiring a voter referendum on any stadium funding over $10 million. Segal's legal opinion was critical in convincing city council members to approve the special legislation. One City Council member specifically stated that she changed her opinion due to Segal's legal opinion and ultimately the measure passed the city council by a 7-6 vote. These same council members had insisted they were committed to following the city charter. Segals reasoning seemed patently absurd and politically motivated to many at the time, and was later firmly rejected by Hennepin County Judge Phil Bush when ruling on a court action challenging the stadium. Ms. Segal has also used her office to seek to restrict public access to public data about the Minneapolis Police Department and has not been a strong advocate to hold the police accountable for abuse and

mistreatment. Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) has successfully sued the city twice based on opinions out of Segal's office that gave cover to the city to withhold data on police complaints. In the first instance, the city took the position that several types of status information regarding Civilian Review Authority (CRA) complaints did not constitute public data. CUAPB, working with attorney Mark Anfinson, ultimately prevailed on four of five related legal issues before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. CUAPB v. City of Minneapolis and Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, No. 09-1972, May 25, 2010, Minn. Court of Appeals. In a second instance, the city took the position that the names and addresses of CRA complainants were not public until the complaints were closed. CUAPB, working with attorney Josh Williams and NLG attorney Tim Phillips, prevailed on a summary judgment motion in Hennepin County District Court, obtaining an order from Judge Thomas Sipkins that the city violated the Data Practices Act. The city paid $9,358 for CUAPB's litigation costs and attorneys' fees in that case. CUAPB v. City of Minneapolis, No. 27-CV-13-2755, May 16, 2013. In such regulatory cases, the City Attorney is typically responsible for determining the Citys legal position. Since becoming City Attorney in 2008, in cases against persons charged with acts of civil disobedience, Segal has also pursued prosecution policies which threaten First Amendment rights, waste city resources, and are unreasonably harsh on political activists. In 2013, Ms. Segal's office insisted on prosecution of renowned American Indian Movement leader Clyde Bellecourt on a charge of trespass after he peaceably observed an Idle No More event and remained at the IDS Center to drink a cup of coffee. Even after a jury refused to convict and a mistrial was declared, Ms. Segal's office vowed to continue with the prosecution until finally dismissing the matter prior to trial a second time. Not only did Mr. Bellecourt not commit any crime, but the actions of the City Attorney fail to recognize how public space has been privatized. Malls and skyways have acquired a public character and it should not be the role of the City Attorney to act as the prosecuting authority for private landlords who merely wish to bar peaceable protesters who do not threaten any legitimate business interest. Also in 2013, Ms. Segal's office charged two environmental protesters with gross misdemeanors for hanging a banner off the Washington Avenue bridge. The sole result of this action was to prolong the detention of the two protesters for two days while they were held on probable cause holds. The charges were ultimately resolved when a Hennepin County judge found them to be petty misdemeanors. In 2012, as Occupy Homes sought to protect long-time homeowners threatened with eviction by big banks, Ms. Segal used her office to file excessive and unwarranted charges. After protesters had initially been tab charged with misdemeanors, Ms. Segal's office filed written complaints charging numerous peaceful protesters with gross misdemeanor riot charges. These charges were then dismissed in several cases by Hennepin County Judges as lacking probable cause. See, e.g., State v. Setzer, 27CR-12-16934. In all of the other cases, the Citys prosecutors eventually abandoned the gross misdemeanor charges. It became clear to the attorneys involved, including several from the NLG, that the gross misdemeanor charges were merely used as a bullying tactic to intimidate activists into pleading guilty to lesser charges. Ms. Segals office was also unduly harsh on Occupy protesters engaging in non-violent civil disobedience in 2011-2012. It is the experience of the undersigned attorneys that prosecutors typically offer pleas of petty misdemeanors or continuances for dismissal for peaceful protesters. In response to a protest in October 2011 where seven people peacefully put up a tent and blocked traffic in front of a 2

US Bank, Ms. Segals office insisted on pleas to misdemeanors. When the activists did not agree to pleas, the prosecutor added additional charges shortly before trial. Judge Daniel Moreno found that the prosecutor had acted improperly and refused to allow the City Attorney to add charges. The prosecutor in that case had made clear to NLG attorneys Andrea Palumbo and Jordan Kushner that he was acting on orders from above in his adamant insistence on pinning the activists with a criminal record. In another case in November 2011, where eleven activists peacefully blocked traffic on the 10th Avenue bridge, Ms. Segals prosecutor also insisted on pleas to misdemeanors, thereby forcing the activists to have a criminal record. In 2010, when two animal rights protesters were arrested outside a fur store near downtown, Ms. Segal's office went all the way to trial on disorderly conduct charges even though the facts of the case showed the arrests occurred simply because the verbal protests were loud and annoying although occurring in a public forum and protected by the First Amendment. Although initially convicted at trial, the Minnesotan Court of Appeals threw out the convictions, holding that the two defendants were clearly acting within their First Amendment Rights. State v. Peter, 798 N.W.2d 552 (Minn. App., 2011). Prosecution policies such as these simply waste limited city resources, seek to punish people for engaging in constructive political activity, and are not consistent with a city government that works in the interest of the entire community instead of for the protection of the status quo and business interests. We urge you to reject Mayor Hodges' nomination of Susan Segal to a second term as Minneapolis City Attorney. We are convinced that a search process can identify eminently qualified candidates who will represent the city's interests, while ensuring that politics do not shape legal advice, that the public has robust access to data about the operation of their government, and that the prosecution policies of the City Attorney are not used to curb dissent.


S/Jordan S. Kushner Jordan S. Kushner (612) 288-0545

S/Bruce D. Nestor Bruce D. Nestor (612) 659-9019

S/Susana De Len Susana De Len

S/Tim Phillips Tim Phillips

S/Andrea Palumbo Andrea Palumbo

S/Peter Nickitas Peter Nickitas

S/Michelle Gross Michelle Gross

S/Dana Christensen Dana Christensen

S/Larry Leventhal Larry Leventhal 3