St. Paul Activists Awarded $50,000 for Repressive 2008 Government Raids

In 2008, the FBI and St. Paul Police raided the home of an activist before the Republican National Convention.  Three years later, righteous victory against repression.

DJ Pangburn
Death and Taxes

In 2008, just before the Republican National Convention, the home of Sarah Coffey, Erin Stalnaker and Kris Hermes–all activists–was raided by the FBI and St. Paul Police.  The police arrived at the home without a warrant and the three activists denied the task-force entry, which was well within their rights.

The police then sought and received a warrant from a judge.  The motivation?  A box said to contain weapons, but which actually housed (dramatic pause) vegan literature.  The Theater of the Absurd rearing its ugly political head yet again.  According to Infoshop News, that was only a bit of the absurdity surrounding this illegal raid.

The search warrant affidavit, which was under seal until a month after the raid in a likely attempt to avoid media scrutiny, relied solely on a confidential informant who made the claim that weapons were being shipped to 951 Iglehart using the U.S. Postal Service. In a sensationalist move, the police also tried to tie property owner Michael Whalen to a defunct 1970s political group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, in order to bolster the warrant’s outrageous claim of arms shipments. However, once inside 951 Iglehart, police discovered that the boxes contained only vegan literature. Unsatisfied, police broke through a locked attic door to enter the neighboring but separate 949 Iglehart, which plaintiffs claimed was the operation’s true objective.

In 2009, Coffey, Stalnaker and Hermes filed a lawsuit against the FBI and the St. Paul Police for violating their First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights.

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