Op-Ed: When fear meets technology, your evening walk ends up on video…
By now, you’ve likely seen the video of a woman walking in downtown St. Paul. She had just finished a run, and was taking a break when she looked up to see a security guard standing over her with a flashlight. She panicked and kept walking. The guard stood on her for about 15 seconds before letting the woman pass, telling her she was fine.
But this isn’t the first time this has happened in Minneapolis. A few years ago, St. Paul Police Officer Joshua Gassner found himself in such a situation. According to a 2016 lawsuit, the officer responded to an alarm call in downtown St. Paul at 5:30 a.m., when a woman’s call to 911 was coming from a sidewalk in the area. The woman was upset, and she kept repeating an exclamation about needing to get to the hospital.
When he got there, he saw nothing suspicious, so he left, only to run into another guard, who asked him what he was doing there.
“I just explained to him what he was doing,” Gassner said. The officer then told the guard to go back to his post because the officer was going to file a report about the issue. Just then, the woman walked past them and past Gassner, who went to the woman’s aid just in time for a security guard to run over. The woman told Gassner she was fine and to just head her off to her home, but he refused.
“If the people would have said, ‘Hey, there’s nothing going on here, we’re going to leave you alone,’ he would have been like, ‘Sure, go.’ He would have been a nice guy and left me alone,” Gassner said. “That would have been fine. But no, he made me jump through hoops.”
When he left, he was just two minutes later