Mpls officer on leave following false imprisonment chargesby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — Minneapolis police officer Tony Adams faces charges of false imprisonment after he handcuffed and detained two juveniles in his car earlier this summer.
According to officials with the Wright County attorney's office, which is handling the case in order to avoid conflicts of interest, the incident happened on the night of August 13, in a Brooklyn Park neighborhood. Four boys were allegedly playing 'ding-dong-ditch' and one of them rang Officer Adams' doorbell and ran.
Adams, who was off duty and in plain clothes, came out of his house and saw two boys crouching behind a car. Officials say Adams got into his Cadillac SUV and drove around the corner and confronted the boys. He then ordered the boys into his car and drove away.
Adams' attorney, Chris Madel, didn't return a phone call from MPR. However, Wright County officials say Adams was told by neighbors that some young kids were breaking into cars and that Adams says he made a citizens arrest of the 12- and 13-year-old boys.
Assistant Wright County attorney Lee Martie says the officer's actions and the situation didn't meet the criteria for a legitimate citizen's arrest.
"When we looked at this, it was our opinion that the off-duty officer did not have a basis to make a citizens arrest," says Martie. "Number one, ding-dong-ditch is not a crime."
Martie says the parents of the two detained boys say the two young men did not commit the pranks, but were with others who did.
A witness thought the boys were being kidnapped and called 911, according to Martie. The incident ended when Adams drove the boys to one of the homes where parents tried to get Officer Adams to explain his actions to a 911 dispatcher. Martie says Adams knocked the cell phone from the hand of one boy's mother.
Martie says in addition to the false imprisonment charge, which is a felony, Adams has also been charged with interfering with a 911 call; a gross misdemeanor.
If convicted of a felony, Adams will likely lose his job. The Peace Officer Standards and Training board revokes the licenses of officers who are convicted felons.
Adams, who has worked as a school liaison officer in north Minneapolis, has been awarded two Medals of Valor during his career. Minneapolis police officials say the incident is under internal investigation and that Adams is on paid administrative leave.
Adams' first court appearance will be held in Hennepin County in January.
- All Things Considered, 11/25/2009, 5:20 p.m.