St. Paul, MN Police Launch Investigation into if Sidewalks are Public or Private Property

Andrew Henderson

Recently, a post on CopBlock.org detailed how Andrew Henderson, a CopBlock member from St. Paul, Minnesota, was detained and harassed by the police there while he was filming as part of a test to see how many cops actually wore their seatbelts. Andrew had decided to do so after the St. Paul Police Department held a massive campaign to stop and ticket people for not wearing their seatbelts. He wanted to show the hypocrisy of the police, who are well known for not wearing seatbelts themselves, and for whom one of the leading causes of on the job deaths (far exceeding those of violence from suspects) is car accidents.

After he had documented several police cars and the police officers inside, none of whom were actually wearing seat belts, he was subsequently detained, questioned, and forced to show ID by Officer Armando Abla-Reyes. Officer Abla-Reyes incorrectly informed him that he could be detained for filming in public and also incorrectly stated that the sidewalk he was standing on was private property, threatening to arrest Henderson for trespassing, if he didn’t leave the area.

Now according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the massive attention that video caused has prompted the St. Paul Police Department to launch an investigation into whether sidewalks are public property (spoiler: they are):

“It brought up a question: What is public, what is private?” Sgt. Paul Paulos, a St. Paul police spokesman, said Wednesday. “What we’ll also do is reach out to the city attorney’s office to get a finer definition…”

City Attorney Samuel Clark said Wednesday that his office is working with the police department “to clarify the rights of way applicable to the sidewalks around the public-safety buildings in the area…”

Paulos said Wednesday the department will provide more instruction to officers about the area around the police department, and what is public and what is private.

Minnesota Police Public Sidewalk Private Property

None of those arrows are pointing at private property.

So, they’re going to get to the bottom of that thing the Supreme Court already decided decades ago. In the meantime, there’s a lot of hyperbole from the head of the police union about how much police are under fire these days and how it’s a reasonable threat worthy of detaining someone for filming the police or public buildings. However, as already stated the leading cause of on duty deaths for police, by far, are car accidents and, contrary to the other blatant lie in the article that “99.9%” cops wear their seatbelts, the fact that police often don’t wear them is a big contributor to that. Of course, if they weren’t out generating revenue by giving other people tickets for that very same behavior, that would be their problem.

Hopefully, they’ll get that whole public/private thing figured out soon, though. That way they join the rest of us in the 21st century.

Andrew Henderson’s original video:

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About Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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21 Responses to “St. Paul, MN Police Launch Investigation into if Sidewalks are Public or Private Property”

  1. vegas jack May 29, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    Law breakers with badges; just make up shit as they go along. Fucktards!

  2. Pw4x3r May 29, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    Certainly a pathetic group of pigs. Seriously laughable……. in the year 2015 these cunts try to say they don’t know if a sidewalk is public property??? AND they need to actually “investigate?” Holy fuck. Why does this police department receive funding? They obviously have NO FUCKING CLUE what they are doing.

    • StBernardnot May 29, 2015 at 10:05 am #

      For some time, they’ve had a hiring standard that rejects pigs with too high of a IQ. Now we see it in operation.

    • StBernardnot May 29, 2015 at 10:05 am #

      For some time, they’ve had a hiring standard that rejects pigs with too high of a IQ. Now we see it in operation.

      • Pw4x3r May 29, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

        This is fact.

  3. Shawn May 29, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    “In the meantime, there’s a lot of hyperbole from the head of the police union about how much police are under fire these days and how it’s a reasonable threat worthy of detaining someone for filming the police or public buildings. ”

    Right…how many guys with a camera have suddenly produced a gun and shot at cops? His concern is about people documenting their behavior. The issues with the public they now face, why they are “under fire” is because more people see how out of control they are. That corruption is rampant. That they have no sense of honor, or the value of their word.
    This pig union man is the same, telling a bold faced lie about a danger that does not exist. All he cares about is stopping people from outing their behavior.

  4. Common Sense May 29, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    This was brought up last year. Someone worked in MN, they commented on it and said it has to do with who owns the property has control over the adjacent sidewalk as well. Someone got hooked for standing outside a bar or something and it was discussed then.

    • BuelahMan May 29, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

      In this case, it is obvious that the last dude was quite butt hurt for some unimaginable reason. So he lied about the private property thing.

      All it takes is one dickhead to taint the entire group. The others should hold him accountable. But they won’t.

      The videographer handled this perfectly (and I would bet the last cop was pissed that he did so).

      • Shawn May 29, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

        “All it takes is one dickhead to taint the entire group. The others should hold him accountable. But they won’t.”

        That last part is what taints the group. A bad Apple spoils the bushel, unless toss it immediately. Taint spreads when unchecked.

    • ThirtyOneBravo May 29, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      I believe that was me and it was in Wisconsin. In certain areas of some cities, such as where there’s a concentration of entertainment venues or bars and night clubs, the owners of those buildings or businesses also own the sidewalk up to the inner most curb line. The business owners can and often do tell loiterers to move on or face trespassing and other charges. The owners of those buildings or businesses cannot dictate who can walk on those sidewalks though.

  5. gavinmac May 29, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Even if it’s private property, I don’t know that this resolves this issue. A McDonald’s parking lot is private property, but I don’t think cops can arrest you for trespass or make you leave unless McDonald’s complains about you being there. Some areas of private property are made open to the public unless the owner chooses to exclude you.

  6. Difdi May 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    Well, if they’re in fact private, then you wouldn’t need a driver’s license to drive a car or motorcycle on them, since that’s only a requirement on public property.

  7. Difdi May 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    Well, if they’re in fact private, then you wouldn’t need a driver’s license to drive a car or motorcycle on them, since that’s only a requirement on public property.

  8. Herbie Versmells May 29, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Actually at least where I live sidewalks are private property(obviously not in a park or the like) but there is a right of way giving the public the ability to use the side walk. Although if you were standing on a side walk in front of a home or business you could legally be trespassed if the owner or manager requests it.

  9. JC May 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    So some idiot copblocker was busted for harassing police (filming police). Just more copblock BS

    • Yankeefan May 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

      (filming police).
      Nice try at trolling bitch! Your posts are very predictable, Slappy. Keep trying loser bitch!

    • JC paid by tax $ to troll May 29, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

      Your so stupid I bet the doctor slapped your mom when you were born. Dumb bitch its a asshole baby. Gtfo

  10. Phufkcops May 29, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    Alba-Reyes is nothing more than a terrorist.

  11. Canned Ham May 30, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    I am a civil engineer who has designed sidewalks, driveways, and ADA corner ramps for private and public sector projects for 10+ years.

    The land alongside a street is private property up to the property line. The property line is usually at the back of the curb (if curbed) or at the edge of the pavement (if uncurbed). However, cities generally reserve the power to claim a right of way (ROW) easement on private property for the purpose of allowing free movement of people. A typical city ROW easement extends 10′ inside the private property from the back of curb or a distance from the road centerline equal to the width of the traffic lanes (one direction) plus 10′.

    What does this mean to the landowner? It limits the way he can develop the land inside the ROW easement. The ROW easement prevents the landowner from building structures that can impede movement or line-of-sight. A brick mailbox is small and easily demolished and moved, so it can be built in the ROW. A storage shed is large and more difficult to move. It cannot be built in the ROW. The landowner can build flat structures, like sidewalks, on the land but it must meet City design standards (usually to meet ADA requirements. 2% maximum cross slope and 5% maximum running slope).

    What does this mean to the citizen using the sidewalk? The landowner cannot evict you from the ROW so long as you are engaged in a lawful activity.

    Is walking lawful? Yes. Stopping to take pictures of items easily visible from the ROW? Yes. Protesting an activity or person on the property? Yes.

    A ROW easement strips the landowner of power to control who enters his property. He must grant access to everyone who wants to use the ROW to move freely or to exercise other rights. Note this ends at the edge of the *ROW* not the *property line*.

    You can ask your City Engineering department for the width of the ROW for a given location. Based on what they tell you, you can measure off the ROW easement to determine where you can stand to engage in peaceful, lawful exercise of your rights to move freely and of your 1st Amendment right to observe and record what is visible to the general public,

    Do not expect Officer Donut Muncher to know the finer points of ROW easement location.

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