MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minneapolis police are seeking surveillance video and sales records from Surdyk’s Liquor from Sunday, March 12, when the liquor store opened its doors for premature, illegal Sunday liquor sales.
A search warrant filed in Hennepin County court seeks video footage from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day, as well as point of sale transaction records and total proceeds for the entire business day. If the store refuses to hand over its video, investigators want a judge to authorize the MPD Crime Lab to seize the recording system and copy the hard drive.
A Sunday liquor sales bill passed the Minnesota House and Senate this session, with Governor Mark Dayton signing the bill on March 7. Sunday liquor sales will be legal in Minnesota starting July 1, with July 2 marking the first eligible Sunday under the new law.
But Surdyk's owner Jim Surdyk didn't want to wait until July. The liquor store sent out an email blast and posted on social media the morning of March 12 that they were open for business, sending a stream of surprised customers to northeast Minneapolis.
“The governor signed the bill, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s good to go,” Surdyk told Fox 9.
According to the search warrant, Assistant City Attorney Joel Fussy saw a local media report that Surdyk’s was open for business, and called Minneapolis licensing manager Grant Wilson to look into it. At 12:20 p.m., Wilson called Surdyk’s and was told by an employee that the store was open. He asked to speak to the owner or a manager, but was told the store was too busy.
Wilson called back and eventually spoke to Jim Surdyk, warning him to close the store immediately. Surdyk told him the governor signed the bill and that was “good enough for me.” Wilson then personally drove to the store and witnessed customers buying alcohol at 1:25 p.m. Wilson again told Surdyk to close the store and warned he would be forced to issue civil citations and additional measures.
At 2:27 p.m. that day, Jim Surdyk was also contacted by a special agent from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division. Surdyk responded by asking if she was going to arrest him and his customers if he refused to close. The agent said Surdyk’s customers were not breaking the law but he, as the licensee, was. She asked again if he was going to shut down his illegal Sunday sales and he responded, “Maybe," and hung up the phone.
The City of Minneapolis already handed down its penalty to Surdyk's. The business has been fined $2,000 and will face a 30-day license suspension, beginning July 2 – blocking Surdyk’s from participating in the first day of legal Sunday sales and preventing the store from selling liquor during the Fourth of July holiday week.