3 prostitution cases dismissed over inappropriate conduct by Minneapolis officers

A lot of questions are being asked about Minneapolis police after a judge threw out three cases against alleged prostitutes.  The judge says the tactics used by police in an undercover sting operation went too far and constituted outrageous government conduct.

Two of the cases involved Kim's place, a massage parlor on East Lake Street. They involved the same defendant but two different undercover police officers months apart.

According to a judge, the officers took their investigations over the line by engaging in sexual contact, when they didn't need to go that far.

“The officer already had the agreement, he had all the evidence needed to make the arrest and yet he nevertheless continued to gratuitously engage in this sexual contact with my client and it was offensive and outrageous,” defense attorney Jeff Dean said.

Dean figured he'd get the cases dismissed because six years ago he took the same circumstances to an appeals court. In that case, the judge wrote the officer "initiated and permitted the escalation of sexual contact that was unnecessary" and reversed a conviction.

“That '09 case established a very clear precedent that this exact type of sexual conduct by a police officer in a prostitution sting is impermissible, unconstitutional and outrageous,” Dean said.

In the cases at Kim’s, and a third also dismissed, the officers had the verbal agreement needed.  Physical contact, at that point, became "outrageous government conduct," which is actually a legal term.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said in a statement on Thursday, "the Minneapolis police department is taking immediate action by reviewing these cases. We are no longer using undercover operations to investigate suspected prostitution in massage businesses."