The Potluck

While praising accused Jan. 6 rioters, Koran blasts acquitted man

By: - October 26, 2021 10:15 am
Sen. Mark Koran

Sen. Mark Koran

State Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, recently drew criticism for urging people to donate to a legal defense fund for accused Jan. 6 rioters, calling the Westburys of Lindström “a good family.” 

Koran was less generous in a recent appraisal of Jaleel Stallings, a St. Paul man who was recently acquitted of eight charges in connection with his shooting at a Minneapolis SWAT team. The Minneapolis cops were driving around in an unmarked van, shooting rubber bullets at civilians out past curfew without warning, five days after George Floyd’s police killing.

Stallings, an Army veteran with a permit for his pistol, testified that he thought he’d been hit by a real bullet and didn’t know they were cops, and fired back, purposely missing, to try to scare them off. 

On Sept. 8, Koran reupped an old May 14 Senate Republican Caucus Facebook post critical of the Freedom Fund — which provides bail money for people accused of crimes — for bailing out “violent criminals” such as Stallings, saying “This radical leftist organization bails out violent criminals and puts them on Minnesota streets.” Koran wrote that the state should stop the “unregulated non-profit, acting as a bail bond company” from bailing out “violent felons.” 

The lead example in the post? Stallings, who has been the subject of numerous local and national stories since the Reformer broke the story of his acquittal on Sept. 1. Koran could not be reached for comment.

His post was first reported by BluestemPrairie.com, which wrote, “Perhaps the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus will edit this gem to remove Stallings, a veteran and man who has no criminal record.”

Meanwhile, Koran recently encouraged people to donate to a fundraiser organized by Rosemarie Westbury, whose son Isaac Westbury was charged with using a police shield to assault an officer and carrying a dangerous weapon into the U.S. Capitol. Her husband Robert Westbury is charged with misdemeanors for entering the Capitol and trying to disrupt government business and functions. It appears he has since deleted the Facebook post.

Another family member, Jonah Westbury, was also charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol. Koran’s legislative district includes Lindström. 

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.

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