Minnesota State Senator Arrested: Controversy and Fallout

2024-04-24 01:17:00

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The Minnesota state senator who was arrested and charged with first-degree burglary said the situation unfolded at the home of a relative with dementia as she tried to sneak in to retrieve her late father’s ashes.

Sen. Nicole Mitchell, 49, was arrested early Monday morning after he was found in a home in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, about 200 miles northwest of Minneapolis and the suburban district Mitchell represents.

In a Facebook post On Tuesday afternoon, Mitchell said she was visiting a family member with Alzheimer’s after learning medical information that prompted her to look into them. Mitchell added that her family is “dealing with the pain of seeing a loved one decline” due to their illness.

“Over the weekend I learned of medical information that caused me serious concern and prompted me to check on that family member. I entered a home that I have come and gone from countless times over the past 20 years, where my son even his own room once,” Mitchell wrote.

“Unfortunately, I startled this close family member, which exacerbated paranoia, and I was accused of theft, which I absolutely deny.”

Mitchell calls the incident a ‘private matter’

The Democratic elected official thanked her friends and colleagues from both parties for words of support and for “trusting my character before I had a chance to react.”

“It was a real tragedy for our family and my hope is that it can be a private matter again,” she added.

She was booked into Becker County Jail on Monday and the attorney’s office charged her with first-degree burglary, Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steve Todd told USA TODAY on Tuesday.

Mitchell was picking up deceased father’s ashes

Mitchell told officers who found her in the home that she was picking up her late father’s ashes, as well as pictures, a flannel shirt and other sentimental items, according to the criminal complaint.

She apparently wore all black clothes and a black hat.

“I was just trying to get some of my dad’s stuff because you won’t talk to me anymore,” Mitchell told the victim, according to the complaint.

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The complaint states that Mitchell told officers she “just came into the house” and said “I’m obviously not good at this.” She said she left her home in Woodbury around 1 a.m. to drive to Detroit Lakes and entered the victim’s home through the window.

County property tax records show that Mitchell’s stepmother and her late father lived on the block where the suspected burglary occurred in 2022, the Star Tribune reported.

Mitchell is facing calls to resign from opponents

Mitchell, who is serving her first term since being elected in 2022, is facing calls to resign from opponents.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson called on Mitchell to resign immediately because the complaint detailed how she took extensive preparation to break into a family member’s home.

“I understand the difficult situation her family is facing, but Sen. Mitchell’s actions are disturbing,” Johnson said in a statement to reporters. “This behavior is unbecoming of a member of the Legislature and she must resign from the Senate immediately.

Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus Chairman Bryan Strawser said in a Press release that if she did not resign, the state senate should expel her from the body. In the same news release, Senior Vice President Rob Doar said the charges raise serious concerns about her ability to evaluate public safety issues.


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