1 year later: Highway dedication, vigil honor slain Mendota Heights officer

Thursday, July 30 marks a year to the day Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick was fatally shot in the line of duty, and a dedication ceremony, moment of silence and community vigil will honor his memory in West St. Paul. TAP TO VIEW PHOTOS

Goodbye Officer Scott Patrick: 'Rest now, we'll take your watch from here'

Officer Patrick, 47, was fatally shot during a routine traffic stop last Wednesday, July 30, near Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West St. Paul. He leaves behind a wife and two teenaged daughters. Jurors decided this February that Brian Fitch Jr., 40, was guilty on all 9 charges including first-degree murder. He has been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of release. At that sentencing, a Mendota Heights police officer called Brian Fitch a coward, and said, “Scott Patrick will always be the better man."

Highway dedication

The Mendota Heights Police Officer's Benevolent Association is hosting two events on Thursday.

This session, the Minnesota Senate voted to rename part of Minnesota 149 the Officer Scott Patrick Memorial Highway, and a dedication ceremony commenced at noon at 1010 Dodd Road in West St. Paul. At 12:20 p.m. there was a moment of silence at the time Officer Scott was killed.

Candlelight vigil

A candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. at Market Square in the Village, located between 720 Main Street and 730 Main Street. Candles will be provided to attendees by the MHPOBA. The vigil is open to the public.

LISTEN: Final radio call for Officer Scott Patrick

Officer Patrick lawsuit in mediation

A few months before Officer Scott Patrick was killed in the line of duty, he filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his police department and the city of Mendota Heights, the circumstances of the lawsuit first disclosed in a FOX 9 Investigation last May.  

That lawsuit is continuing in his widow’s name, but earlier this month both parties entered into mediation.  The parties agreed to a protective order on July 7 that will allow them to share private and confidential information.  Such an order is common in civil employment cases.  The court has limited discovery to whether there are special damages that can be calculated such as wage loss and medical expenses.  

Jana O’Leary Sullivan, an attorney representing the City of Mendota Heights told Fox 9 in an email, “Ultimately, at this time of remembrance and mourning, the City and community’s focus is on commemorating the one year anniversary of Officer Patrick’s tragic death, and not on litigation.”  

The lawsuit, filed four months before Officer Patrick was killed, claims whistleblower harassment and workplace retaliation. According to the lawsuit, Officer Patrick’s difficulties in the department began seven years ago, when Patrick witnessed two fellow officers moving a picnic table to city hall from the old Lilydale Tennis Club, which was being demolished. Patrick reported what he considered to be a property theft by city employees to Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener, who, according to the lawsuit, thought it wasn't theft but a "mistake in judgment." Patrick filed a complaint against the chief alleging "a pattern of questionable ethics and criminal violations.” Patrick claimed a pattern of retaliation since the episode. 

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