No charges in 'gun gesture' case
A Cass County prosecutor, citing problems with the case, has declined to file charges against a local businessman accused of making a gun gesture after a Fargo city planning meeting.
Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Mark Boening was considering a misdemeanor charge, but said he is not sure the state could prove what exactly Steven Stremick said and if what he did and said constitutes disorderly conduct, according to court documents.
Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn called police after a May 26 meeting that discussed the city's LED sign ordinance, of which Stremick has taken issue.
Stremick wants to erect a cube-shaped LED sign for his business, Select Financial Services Ltd., on the corner of University Drive and 13th Avenue South.
That led to a dispute with the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association and led to Fargo enacting a three-month moratorium on such signs. The City Commission deadlocked 2-2 on Monday on whether to lift the moratorium.
Police investigative reports state:
Stremick, 51, was speaking with City Planner Jim Hinderaker after the May meeting and made a motion, shaping his hand to look like a firearm and moving it to simulate the recoil of a weapon firing. He also said something about there being more than one way to fix this, Hinderaker told police.
Hinderaker could not remember the exact words Stremick used in his discussion after the May meeting, but he said the behavior could not be overlooked. He also told police he did not think Stremick meant any harm toward anyone else and was just frustrated.
"It's Steven being Steven," he told police.
When contacted by police, Stremick vented about collusion and corruption within the city commission and planning committee for about 15 minutes, barely allowing the officer to speak.
He told police he never did or said anything that could have been construed as threatening and said the investigation was an attempt to discredit potential legal actions Stremick may pursue.
Boening cites Hinderaker's doubt that Stremick intended harm in his decision to decline charges, saying at this time the evidence against Stremick "does not rise to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
Stremick did not return a message seeking comment Friday afternoon.