Rep. Grossell DWI arrest video: 'Do you see a whole lot of sense in this?'

Sitting in the back of a squad car after he was arrested in February for drunk driving, State Rep. Matt Grossell suggested to the state trooper there might be a different course of action. 

"Joe, do you see a whole lot of sense in this?" Grossell asked Trooper Joseph Weems by name. 

Trooper Weems shut down the conversation quickly.

"Yes, Matt, I do," Trooper Weems said sharply.

Grossell chuckled, "Okay. Alright."

"Matt, you know just as well as I do it’s what we’re hired to do," Trooper Weems said.

"I’m not going to treat you any different than anyone else because of who you are and how we know each other," Trooper Weems continued.

Grossell replied wearily: "I don’t expect that. I don’t expect that." 

The state lawmaker and trooper already knew each other well.  Both were former deputies with the Clearwater Sheriff’s Office.

Trooper Weems stopped Grossell February 11, just after 1 a.m., for going 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. 

In his report, Trooper Weems wrote that Grossell’s eyes were "watery and blood shot."

"As I was talking to Matt, I could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath. I asked Matt how much he had to drink tonight and he stated he had just one. I informed Matt I believe he had a few more than one," Trooper Weems wrote in his report. 

‘A little squirrelly’ 

Grossell’s blood alcohol level was .15, nearly twice the legal limit to drive. An initial preliminary breath test registered .19.

In July, five months after he was arrested, Grossell pled guilty to misdemeanor drunk driving as part of a plea agreement in which he received two years of unsupervised probation.

According to the plea agreement filed with Clearwater County District Court, he has received inpatient treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford.

FOX 9 obtained squad car video and partial audio of Grossell’s drunk driving arrest through a public records request. 

A minute after asking the trooper if he sees "a whole lot of sense" in arresting him, Grossell said, "The work I keep trying to do, I will keep trying to do."

Trooper Weems replies, "I appreciate that, Matt, because you do an amazing job."

"Yep, I know that," Grossell mutters softly. 

Because Trooper Weems knew Grossell personally, he called for back-up from a Clearwater Sheriff’s deputy, and told the responding officer, "Just know this individual can get a little squirrelly at times. Initials M.G. You’ll know him pretty well."

Another former Clearwater Sheriff's deputy, Clearbrook-Gonvick Police Chief Ryan Solee, gave Grossell a sober ride home.

It was not the first time the state lawmaker has had trouble while intoxicated. 

‘Hell to pay’

During the 2019 legislative session, Grossell was charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing after shoving and wrestling with a security guard at a bar inside the Best Western Inn near the Capitol.   

St. Paul Police found Grossell in his hotel room "sweating profusely and extremely intoxicated." For his own welfare, police took the lawmaker to Regions Hospital for a medical evaluation.

After he was discharged by medical staff, Grossell refused to leave the hospital, repeatedly saying "I want to know why I was brought here," that he was a "retired police chief," and in the "House of Representatives."

He also demanded a pair of Croc shoes, saying "I know you have Crocs here, this is a hospital."

St. Paul Police arrested Grossell for trespassing a took him to the Ramsey County Detention Center.

When Grossell was released from jail the next morning, he walked across the parking lot to St. Paul Police Headquarters where he told an officer at the front desk to tell the chief he was a state representative and "it will be hell to pay" for his arrest. 

Grossell avoided a conviction in that case by entering a six-month court diversion program.

For that incident, House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) removed Grossell from public safety and judiciary committees

In a letter to Grossell, Hortman wrote that because of his "implied threat" she removed him from committee work that most directly affects the law enforcement community. 

"This conduct is an abuse of the office you hold as an elected official and a consequence and sanction is appropriate," Speaker Hortman wrote.

Grossell was re-elected in 2022. FOX 9 has reached out to Grossell for comment.