Additional citation filed against Minn. lawmaker arrested over weekend
ST. PAUL — A state lawmaker is now charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly scuffling with a security guard at a St. Paul bar hours before he was cited for refusing to leave a nearby hospital.
Rep. Matt Grossell, who was arrested Saturday, May 4, pushed a security guard several times before pulling him to the ground, according to the misdemeanor charged filed in Ramsey County District Court Tuesday, May 7.
“Rep. Grossell is remorseful about his conduct that night; it does not reflect his true character or the hard work he gives to the state of Minnesota,” his attorney, Ryan Garry, said Wednesday, May 8. “We will address the legality of any citations in court.”
Police cited Grossell, R-Clearbrook, on Saturday for trespassing after they said he wouldn’t leave Regions Hospital.
Hotel security called St. Paul police about 1 a.m. to the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge, which is near the state Capitol, on a report of an intoxicated man acting disorderly in the bar, according to police.
The man was identified as Grossell, 53, and officers went to check on him in his hotel room.
“Officers did not believe Grossell could care for himself in his current condition and called for St. Paul Fire paramedics to evaluate him after he could not answer basic questions,” said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman.
Paramedics decided to take him to Regions for an evaluation, where he was cleared by hospital staff.
Grossell demanded a pair of Crocs shoes before he left the hospital, but they didn’t have any footwear for him, Ernster said, based on information in a police report.
The police report doesn’t indicate what happened to Grossell’s shoes or whether he had them when he arrived by ambulance.
Grossell told an officer working at the hospital that he needed to know why he was brought there. He stated he was in the House of Representatives and a retired police chief and he deserved to know, Ernster said of what was recorded in the police report.
Grossell is a retired Clearwater County sheriff’s deputy and former Blackduck police chief. He was once shot and wounded in the line of duty.
At Regions, Grossell “was given multiple chances to leave the property and offered a cab,” but he refused and was arrested for trespassing, according to the citation.
Grossell was booked into the Ramsey County jail at 5:08 a.m. and released at 5:21 a.m. on his own recognizance, according to the jail.
No signs of consequences at Legislature
In Grossell’s two terms in the Legislature, he has frequently sponsored legislation to protect first responders and medical workers from violence.
For example, this session, he is the lead sponsor on a bill that would enhance penalties for assaulting firefighters and medical personnel by removing emergency” from “emergency medical personnel.”
It’s unclear whether Grossell will face consequences at the Legislature for his arrest, but there were no signs any were being seriously considered as of Wednesday.
There is no firm precedence or policy for alleged transgressions by lawmakers that occur outside the Capitol and do not involve fellow state employees or sexual allegations.
The Republican Party is in the minority in the House, and Grossell holds no leadership position in the caucus, so it’s uncertain how the caucus could sanction him.
He serves on several committees, including the public safety committee, and House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, could remove him from those committees. However, the Legislature is in the midst of final budget negotiations, and it’s unclear if Grossell’s incident will warrant much attention.
He also could be subject to an investigation by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee, but such complaints are rare, and none had been made as of Wednesday.