Minnesota House Speaker’s office says BCA, Department of Public Safety leading investigation into St. Paul rally

By: - January 12, 2021 1:29 pm

A “Storm the Capitol” rally attracted several hundred pro-Trump supporters in St. Paul on Jan. 6. Photo by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer

The Minnesota House Speaker’s office said Tuesday that the investigation into the “Storm the Capitol” rally held in St. Paul last week would be led by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) with involvement from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, on Monday said the House would investigate the involvement of six House lawmakers who attended or spoke at the St. Paul rally, which featured violent rhetoric. 

A spokesman for Hortman said the BCA and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington’s office are conducting a broad investigation, and that any information gleaned could be forwarded to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for potential criminal charges. 

Information about the six lawmakers who attended may also factor into ethics charges, if necessary, the spokesman said. 

“You can bet we will fully investigate exactly what was said and done, and whether any of that is worthy of prosecution,” Hortman said Monday during a legislative forum. 

The St. Paul rally — which remained peaceful with no attempts to breach the Capitol — nonetheless featured heated words. It later migrated to the governor’s residence, where the Minnesota State Patrol moved Gov. Tim Walz’s son to a different location because of the tense scene. 

The Capitol rally featured at least one speaker, Alley Waterbury, a local Republican Party leader from Woodbury, who warned of “casualties.” 

Six GOP House lawmakers attended the rally and some spoke. They are: state Reps. Susan Ackland of St. Peter; Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa; Mary Franson of Alexandria; Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe; Eric Lucero of Dayton; and Jeremy Munson of Lake Crystal.

The Star Tribune reported that Lucero and Drazkowski stoked chants against a state court judge who approved Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon’s agreement to waive witness requirements and extend the deadline for counting mail ballots.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota House Republican Caucus issued a statement saying it condemned “the violence and violent rhetoric at the events in Washington D.C. and Saint Paul on January 6.” Some of the members who signed attended the St. Paul rally. 

The New House Republican Caucus similarly issued a statement condemning the storming of the U.S. Capitol, and denied that any violent rhetoric or violent threats were used “while we were present.”

Emails seeking comment from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Public Safety Department were not immediately returned.

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