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Old August 29, 2000, 03:15 PM   #1
Oatka
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(MN) Grand Rapids teacher files suit claiming attack by SWAT team

"Undem said SWAT officers, after learning of their alleged mistake, told Miskovich, ``It's a game. It's just a f****** game.''"

I wonder what would have happened if there were some CCWs in the house. Not to worry, Minnesota doesn't trust it's citizens to be armed - after all, they have these
"professionals" to protect them.

http://www.duluthnews.com/today/dnt/school.htm

Grand Rapids teacher files suit claiming attack by SWAT team
Woman says officers thought she was an actor during July 1999 drill
By David Siders
News Tribune staff writer


A Grand Rapids dance teacher has accused members of a St. Louis County SWAT team of assaulting and terrorizing her during a training drill, apparently mistaking her for an actor in the exercise.

In her suit against the city of Grand Rapids, Independent School District 318, and St. Louis and Itasca counties, Nikki Miskovich, 25, claims SWAT members in July 1999 stormed the wrong building. She alleges they mistook the Reif Center, an arts building where she works, for the high school next door.

Miskovich claims officers pointed guns at her, held her on the floor, stepped on her back and refused to identify themselves during the raid.

The public agencies were conducting a joint training exercise at Grand Rapids High School following the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colo.

SWAT officers led Miskovich and two other teachers at gunpoint from the building, said John Undem, Miskovich's attorney.

``As they're walking toward the woods,'' Undem said, ``somebody comes over and yells, `Wait a minute, wait a minute, you've got the wrong building.' ''

Miskovich is suing for more than $50,000, claiming she suffers nightmares, shakes, anxiety attacks, nausea and insomnia as a result of the incident. In Minnesota, the $50,000 figure is a formality that leaves open how much money Miskovich could seek.

Undem said Miskovich was so frightened during the incident that she prayed to God to let her quickly die.

``She thought she was going to be raped and killed,'' Undem said. ``This kid's been hurt bad.''

Undem said SWAT officers, after learning of their alleged mistake, told Miskovich, ``It's a game. It's just a f****** game.''

The other teachers involved in the incident, Ellen Rudquist and Beverly Wilson, have left the Reif Center, said Robert Cline, a student intern at the center. Neither Rudquist nor Wilson could be reached Monday for comment.

The city of Grand Rapids has denied Miskovich's claims, stating its employees were acting lawfully, and has asked for a judgment against Miskovich to pay for legal costs and attorney's fees.

The city of Grand Rapids claimed the training exercise was well publicized in the Grand Rapids area and that the director of the Reif Center, David Marty, knew about the drill.

Marty declined comment.

None of the other defendants had responded to the suit as of noon Monday.

City of Grand Rapids' attorney, Jon Iverson, declined comment. So did St. Louis County Attorney Shaun Floerke, Itasca County Attorney Jack Muhar, School District 318 Superindentent Lloyd Styrwoll and St. Louis County SWAT commander Randy Lehman.

Miskovich also declined comment.

Miskovich's husband, Robert Zuehlke Jr., has joined the lawsuit. Miskovich and Zuehlke claim their marriage has suffered as a result of Miskovich's emotional distress, Undem said.

Undem said he filed the suit more than a year after the incident because he wanted time to determine the psychological effect it had on Miskovich. The suit was filed Aug. 4 in U.S. District Court in Duluth.

David Siders can be reached at (218) 279-5535 or by e-mail:
[email protected]
-- 30 --

Here's the UPI's version: http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=113120

SWAT team drill terrorizes dance teacher
Tuesday, 29 August 2000 13:10 (ET)


SWAT team drill terrorizes dance teacher


DULUTH, Minn., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A SWAT team trying to seize control of a high school stormed a building, took a woman prisoner and held her at gunpoint pinned to the floor -- all as part of an exercise meant to improve their professional skills.

The only problem is that the St. Louis County, Minnesota, SWAT team raided
the wrong building. Instead of taking back Grand Rapids, Minn., High School, they broke into the Reif Center arts building next door and held a dance instructor prisoner.

The instructor, 25-year-old Nikki Miskovich, filed a lawsuit earlier this
month in U.S. District Court against Grand Rapids, Independent School District 318 and St. Louis and Itasca counties.

The lawsuit asks for $50,000 in damages although under Minnesota law, the figure is a formality and a judge and jury would ultimately decide how much, if anything, she should get.

Miskovich attorney John Undem said she thought the raid was legitimate and that she prayed for a quick death before learning that it was merely a drill.

"She thought she was going to be raped and killed," Undem said. "This kid's been hurt bad."

The training exercise was in July 1999 and was a response to ensure local SWAT team officials could handle any violent outbursts in their area. The exercise came three months after the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Undem said he waited slightly more than a year before formally filing the lawsuit to determine the exercise's full emotional impact on Miskovich. He notes the incident has negatively impacted her marriage and her husband, Robert Zuehlke Jr., is joining the lawsuit, seeking his own damages.

Grand Rapids city officials are disputing the lawsuit, saying they had publicized their intent to do a drill, adding that SWAT team members told Miskovich that the raid was "a game" once they learned they had raided the wrong building.

School and county officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.
--
Copyright 2000 by United Press International.





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Old August 29, 2000, 03:29 PM   #2
scud
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It seems that a lot of swat teams couldn't find a lighthouse in a open feild at night. That said I find it disturbing that these "accidents" happen so frequently, especially since these are supposed to be tactical operations that are planned out. Is this some kind of a get the sheeple used to it tactic or what ? At any rate maybe pizza delivery for 2 years should be a pre-qualification requirement.
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Old August 29, 2000, 03:31 PM   #3
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$50K is cheap. They are being real [color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color]s for filing a counter suit. They should be thankful that she's not filing for $1M and then going after them for criminal acts.

I wish she'd go after them for the crime they committed.

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Old August 29, 2000, 03:35 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Oatka:

Undem said Miskovich was so frightened during the incident that she prayed to God to let her quickly die.
[/quote]

Why don't they just prosecute Ms. Miskovich for practicing religion in a school? That should clear the SWAT team members of any wrong doing. Clearly the SWAT team was trying to eliminate this religious wacko from injuring our children.

Or maybe, they could just say that her rights were not stomped upon because they were doing their job to help them catch real criminals, and that the citizens should accept some reductions in their rights in exchange for a safer society.

I think Ms. Miskovich ought to remember that they were just trying to do their jobs, and that the law supports the SWAT team. She should be happy to live in a comunity which is so concerned for her safety as to have a SWAT team running around.

Soon the Supreme Court will rule that so long as all SWAT team targets are treated the same way, whether they are suspected of a crime or if it is simply a mistake, then the actions of the SWAT team are Constitutional.

------------------
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"[Even if there would be] few tears shed if and when the Second Amendment is held to guarantee nothing more than the state National Guard, this would simply show that the Founders were right when they feared that some future generation might wish to abandon liberties that they considered essential, and so sought to protect those liberties in a Bill of Rights. We may tolerate the abridgement of property rights and the elimination of a right to bear arms; but we should not pretend that these are not reductions of rights." -- Justice Scalia 1998
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Old August 29, 2000, 03:54 PM   #5
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Wrong house...bad. Wrong apartment...bad.

Blowin building ID on a high school?

Not one man on the team would qualify as a pizza delivery driver. Armed and trained beyond their intelligence.

They act like Gestapo, inept Gestapo at that.

------------------
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Old August 29, 2000, 04:01 PM   #6
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The arrogance of the government in this case is nauseating.

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Old August 29, 2000, 09:50 PM   #7
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Lucky girl they weren't on a real exercise.
Locked & loaded, hyped up!!!

I've had a boot on the back of my head before, complete with a loaded M16 to go along with that. Kicked, punched, the whole bit.
Military SNAFU if ever there was one.

Wrong building, honest mistake. I get the neighbors mail delivered to me all the time.
What briefing of building before the exercise?
Pictures & models of the grounds, and the staging area where who is going to be doing what. Well planned out manuevers.
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Old August 30, 2000, 12:16 AM   #8
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Repporters get it wrong all the time & I'd not likely trust 1 in 50 to get the story right.

But,

There are way too many of these, dare I say it?, jack-booted thugs running around thinking that they own the world.

Seems to give some credibility to what the antis say about having those nasty full-autos - if ya got 'em, you're gonna use 'em.

But,

Just like with 1 idiot out of 80,000,000 responsible gun owners (300,000,000 million gun were not used in crimes today!), these same idiotic capers by fools get the press.

When the cops get it wrong though, they expect everyone to just understand, "it's a game - just an f'ing game!" But I will tell you from my own experience that when you actually stick it right back at them, they will squeal like the stuck pigs that they are.

(Usual disclaimer re I like cops & good LEOs not covered in this bit of dump at the rest)

Somebody else run around with full-auto stuff & F-up & you'd see 'em doing the jailhouse rock toot sweet.

Why is it cops get to screw up & get off left & right?
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Old August 30, 2000, 12:40 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Why is it cops get to screw up & get off left & right?[/quote]

Because, despite the many good LEOs out there, we are fast becoming a police state.

Uninvolved citizens are partially responsible though.

------------------
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The Bill of Rights is a document of brilliance, a document of wisdom, and it is the ultimate law, spoken or not, for the very concept of a society that holds liberty above the desire for ever greater power. -Me
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Old August 30, 2000, 12:49 AM   #10
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Remember, this was a practice exercise. They were either invited to practice at the school, or had received permission--and they held it during the summer recess (July).

Granted, they got the wrong building...but that is why one practices.

However, I would imagine that the school cadre knew about the practice exercise, were there to open the buildings, and probably gossiped about it for a couple of weeks prior to the practice exercise. One has to wonder why this poor, traumatized teacher hadn't heard about it.

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[This message has been edited by LawDog (edited August 30, 2000).]
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Old August 30, 2000, 01:24 AM   #11
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A high school has nothing to do with an arts centre. Socialists know nothing of art, they just dole out money to "artists" who contribute to the decline of culture.

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Old August 30, 2000, 05:48 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
The training exercise was in July 1999 and was a response to ensure local SWAT team officials could handle any violent outbursts in their area. The exercise came three months after the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.
[/quote]

Who is to train the public to ensure that they can handle violent outbursts from SWAT teams that do not do their homework? I know pratice makes perfect, but someone really screwed this one up big time. If the department can not admit to their serious error in judgement.. time to bust out some big-time lawyers.

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Old August 30, 2000, 11:02 AM   #13
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Lawdog,
You may be right in that the SCHOOL staff knew about the excercise and even was on hand to open the building and such. Heck, they may have even gossiped about it amongst themselves. The reason why this "poor, traumatized teacher hadn't heard about it." is cause she DID NOT work for the school, nor was she AT the school. She was working for an Arts Center across the street from the school which, more than likely, the SWAT guys did NOT have permission to forcibly enter. They may have publicized the ex. and sent notices to the owners and such, but it still does not excuse the fact that they are mental midgets who cant seem to distinguish between a school and any other big building. The sad part is that they seem to think thay have a right to bust onto private property, terrorize residents without so much as an I'm sorry. More importantly, they are consodered to have been "acting lawfully". Oh really? So what ever happened to search warrant, probable cause or permission?? Seems to me thay had neither, so they were simply breaking and entering. Lets not go and make excuses for poor planning, training and simple mental incompetence. The more we accept these "mistakes" the more we will see of them.
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Old August 30, 2000, 01:15 PM   #14
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Well, hells bells, Taz. Here I was thinking from the map I downloaded that the Reif Center and the High School were pert near the same complex.
http://www.reifcenter.org/location/gr%20map.gif

I didn't realize they were across the street from each other. The map sure do make it look like the two buildings are snuggled up to one another.

My bad. Mea culpa.

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[This message has been edited by LawDog (edited August 30, 2000).]
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Old August 30, 2000, 01:45 PM   #15
G35MN
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Ya but...... $50K going to make everything OK??? Come on people are sue happy these days. She said she has night mares and bad dreams. So is $50K going to make this just disappear? No! It's a bunch of BS
B as in B, S as in S. Pure BS.

And I even live in MN.
This lady is a bad rap for MN people.
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Old August 30, 2000, 01:58 PM   #16
Donny
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Some of the same type planning, and attention to detail, that led to the dropping of a bomb onto the Chin Embassy awhile back.

It is terribly hard to pinpoint a moving target. It should be a fairly easy task to ID a permanent fixture i.e. a building.
Especially when this building is on home territory.

Without knowing all the details, and we'll never know that. There's a whole heap of speculation..

OK, Let's say there is going to be an exercise. You get permission, whoever you are, to occupy a particular structure for a specific mission. All fine and good.

Now, before the event happens, obviously parties are privvy that it's just an exercise. Why else would the words, "It's just a f&*()ing game!" be uttered.
Now, that would also indicate some sort of briefing before the exercise, would it not?

OK, during such a briefing, what particulars are covered.

Who's in command, team leaders, etc.
Weaponry to be used during the exercise.
Specific structure(s) to be occupied.
Specific orders about engagement of "suspects".

I'm not LEO, so I'm sure there's a ton being left off here.

So, what happened if indeed there was a briefing? Who was the team leader, or commander in charge of the exercise?

The Attorneys Office apparently thinks that intimidation by counter suit is the answer for warding off this girl.
I think come election time, this a$$whole needs a job as permanent latrine orderly.

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Old August 30, 2000, 01:58 PM   #17
Oatka
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G35MN - "This lady is a bad rap for MN people."

Sorry, I don't buy that. It's a whiney excuse, granted, but those Keystone Gestapo types are the ones that deserve that epithet.

Then we have those noble politicians filing a countersuit. One group fumbles, makes no apologies, and their buddies down at the court house run interference for them.

The whole thing stinks.




[This message has been edited by Oatka (edited August 30, 2000).]
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Old August 30, 2000, 02:02 PM   #18
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LawDog -

Oooof. You sure know how to take the wind out of someone's sails. Still, I am inclined to think the city ought to quietly offer a settlement & apology - it does kinda sound like they screwed the pooch on this one (Keeping in mind all we have to go on is the news article.).

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Old August 30, 2000, 02:33 PM   #19
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Nah. This is taking the wind out of someones sails:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/nlhome/m042/th.../opening2.html

I'll highlight the interesting part.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>1979 - District 318 School Board members agreed to call for bids for a $2 million performing arts center and classroom addition at Grand Rapids High School. It will be named in
memory of Myles W. Reif, the Blandin Paper Company president and civic leader who died last spring.

The Myles Reif Performing Arts Center opened in 1979 and has since featured more than 10,000 exhibits, shows, and performances.[/quote]

The firm who built the addition can be found here: http://www.hga.com/division/Cultural/types/Myles.htm

Near as I can tell, the High School and the Performing Arts Center are in one large building.

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Old August 30, 2000, 02:49 PM   #20
mk86fcc
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OK. Double ooof.

BTW, if you haven't already, you might want to drop in the "barbecue" thread and explain proper dress for the event - I know you explained it to us once, but I couldn't get it straight...

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Old August 30, 2000, 04:30 PM   #21
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What about criminal charges for those SAWT team members??? Violate of civil rights, attempted kidnapping, ect, ect, ect....

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Old August 30, 2000, 05:17 PM   #22
TAZ
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Looks like I am in need of a crow bar so I may remove my feet from my keyboard. Just goes to show one should not speak before having the facts and the media is no place to get facts from. Sorry, for getting my panties in a bunch.
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Old August 30, 2000, 09:17 PM   #23
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Well I might just have to visit that part of Grand Rapids and look for myself. I do find it hard to understand in a town like Grand Rapids that the LEO's wouldn't KNOW which building was the school.

It isn't like a big city or anything...I would think at least some of the team memebers had probably gone to school there.

Yes this is a town of under 10 thousand people...trying to find population for the town...but based on the map legend it is between 5 and 10 k people.

[This message has been edited by Glamdring (edited August 30, 2000).]
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Old August 30, 2000, 09:43 PM   #24
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Okay Grand Rapids is a town of just under 8,000 people. So I doubt they have more than one high school in the town.

This is really scary when you think about it. Unless the HS is real new you would have to have at least some of the LEO involved that had gone to that school. Not many people are going to move to Grand Rapids as a career move.
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Old August 30, 2000, 10:11 PM   #25
Dennis
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"Miskovich claims officers pointed guns at her, held her on the floor, stepped on her back and refused to identify themselves during the raid....officers thought she was an actor."

An actor (Black's Law Dictionary) is "... a person whose conduct is in question as subjecting him to liability toward another..."

The actors (or "perps") here were the SWAT members who assaulted an innocent person.

Unless she had been told to be out of that area, SWAT screwed up. If someone does that to my wife or daughters, they will have (mucho grande) problems. I'll see to it. And I don't care where the "right" building was.
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