The case of one student charged in connection with a hazing incident on the Carleton Campus in April of 2017 will go to trial. 20 year old Taariq Muhammad Vanegas of Seattle, was charged with 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct. A motion for hearing was made last week. Rice County Attorney John Fossum said, “there was an allegation that a young man had raped one of the young women who was not in a position to say no”. The charge stems from an April 28th, 2017 party in which several students were invited via email, to take part in, what was termed “a tradition of excellence” which included an extreme amount of alcohol. The first jury trial was set for November last year, Fossum said, “it hasn’t been taking an abnormally long time but we have a lot of witnesses who are all over the
world at this point”. Another motion hearing is set for June 26th with a trial date of July 16th. Vanegas complaint
Rice County road work on the way
Rice County Commissioner Galen Malecha and Commissioner Docken have been working with County Engineer Dennis Luebbe regarding Co. Rd. 9 in Faribault and an interstate exchange that would lead into the north end of Faribault into the Industrial Park and future growth. Work is being done on the frontage road to the east of the interstate, Co. Rd. 76, between co rds 8 and 9. Malecha said, “we are reconstructing that road bringing it up to 10 tons, widening it”. The County has taken over Baseline Rd which will be upgraded next year to a paved 10 ton road, it’s currently gravel. One large project for next year will disrupt traffic through Faribault. The City has been working with MnDot for a few years for a complete reconstruction of Hwy 60 through town. The city will be redoing utilities, some of it 100 years old. Part of the cost of the roadwork is coming from the County’s wheelage tax and sales tax.
Body cams offer benefits but bring up privacy issues
Studies show that body cameras are a benefit, says Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn, but they don’t show everything. The cameras are mounted on the front of their uniform, their belt or eyeglasses, which means they don’t record what happens behind the officer. Data privacy is also an issue. Dunn said, “what is public, what’s private and so we hope that there would be more direction from the Legislature and more funding across the state to help agencies do this”. The body cams are about $1,000 a piece but the data storage costs, “are humongous. And then to have staff that have to go through and redact what’s public, what’s private for data privacy requests, those kinds of things”. Duluth had to add 2 more staff to handle it. As for leaving the cameras on all the time, Dunn says, then they’re talking about Officer privacy, they need to use the restroom or, “why can’t they eat lunch in private, or go to a restaurant? So that’s always been kind of a struggle too”. Still, he’s hoping to get body cameras next year for the deputies and correctional officers.