Police by the golden rule

Recent MPD misconduct should warn officers to treat suspects with dignity.

In early January, Patrick Uzulac was arrested on a warrant for giving police a false name. Uzulac, who had been trapped outside of his apartment for 40 minutes, claims that once he was jailed, he did not receive proper medical attention for his complaints of frozen feet. Now, the badly frostbitten Uzulac is seeking over $50,000 in damages from Ramsey County and the New Brighton Police Department. UzulacâÄôs lawsuit is one of many that enter local courts each year as a result of police conduct. Lawsuits originating in Minneapolis have cost the city more than $12 million in the last decade. Since Timothy Dolan has become Minneapolis chief of police, the cost of settlements paid by the Minneapolis Police Department has decreased slightly but remained generally steady. The most expensive year of DolanâÄôs tenure thus far âÄî 2007 âÄî cost the department just more than $1 million. The largest misconduct settlement netted claimants $626,922. With DolanâÄôs reappointment hearings taking place at City Hall this week, many wonder why the rates havenâÄôt improved. For a department already troubled with budget issues âÄî Dolan has overextended his budget by an average of $4.16 million each year since 2006 âÄî these expensive settlements do little to ease the financial strain. Ultimately, cases such as UzulacâÄôs should remind Minneapolitans that the only fix necessary to save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in litigation and settlement costs is for officers to treat suspects like human beings. Chief Dolan, while that may be less fun for your boys, is it really that difficult?