Letter: Using police to intimidate is wrong

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Police should not be called on constituents who are peacefully participating in democracy. A group of us in Rep. Hagedorn’s district had the police called on us twice in two days in a clear attempt at intimidation and suppression.

The first time occurred on Thursday, June 28 during a visit to Rep. Hagedorn’s Mankato office to share our concerns about the humanitarian crisis at the border.

The second time occurred the very next day before Rep. Hagedorn’s Rochester town hall as we were discussing what questions we might ask.

Email newsletter signup

Both times, the police said they had been told we were being harassing and threatening. Both times, the police said they could tell we weren’t doing anything wrong and left.

While our encounters with officers on both occasions were pleasant and friendly, it is a scary thing to have police approach you and treat you as a potential threat. Many of us visiting Rep. Hagedorn’s Mankato office had our children with us. What if the officers who arrived had been hostile and aggressive? What if emotions had run high and things had escalated?

Calling the police on someone is not merely a waste of officers’ time and public resources; it can be a matter of life and death. One of the most important jobs of staff working for a U.S. representative is to record and pass along constituent concerns. We do not expect that Rep. Hagedorn will always vote our way, but we do expect to be able to share our concerns. Rep. Hagedorn’s staff should not be using police officers to intimidate constituents to make them go away. This is not what democracy looks like.

Yurie Hong

St. Peter