Hamilton, Jefferson, and Washington

List of Violations

The timeline gives the dates, details, and sequence of events of the numerous incidents in this spite fence situation I refer to in my discussion of the problems I've had with the City of Barnesville and its employees.

However, some people have asked me to simply list the specific violations I am talking about.

Violations in Spite-Fence Situation

The spite-fence neighbor called the police repeatedly, so there were various police officers involved in the incidents below. I called the police only once, when I ran over the rebar in my tire track.

Threat to towing my car without legal authority to do so.

The city police officer told me I had to move my car out of my driveway, a car totally on my property, or he would have it towed. I had parked the car there to prevent the neighbor from putting fence posts in my tire track until the lawyers could negotiate some kind of agreement.

When I asked this police officer what would happen if he had no authority to move the car, he said he couldn't be held liable for anything he did.

It is my personal opinion that if I had been allowed to leave my car there, protecting my property peacefully and within the law until the lawyers had a chance to negotiate an agreement, the fence would not be there today.

Police officer refused to call the sheriff.

When I ran over the rebar the neighbor had put in my tire track because it was dark and I couldn't see it, I called 911 and specifically asked for the sheriff. Dispatch told me they could not send the sheriff because Barnesville had its own police officers.

When the Barnesville police officer came to my home, I specifically requested he call the sheriff because I wanted the sheriff involved. The police officer said he couldn't possibly call the sheriff, but I could call the police chief at home and ask him to. The police chief refused to call the sheriff. Neither the officer who answered the call nor the police chief informed me that I had a right to call the sheriff any time, no matter what dispatch had told me.

I have the officer on video tape denying me access to the sheriff.

Police apparently doctored the police reports.

The police officer I had video taped refusing to call the sheriff had at no time in our conversation about the rebar in my driveway mentioned that he considered issuing me a ticket for my running over it. The video tape indicates this.

Late the next afternoon the same police officer returned and served me with a ticket for criminal destruction of property for running over the rebar the neighber had put in my tire track on my property. The police officer told me he had spent the whole afternoon studying the situation and had finally concluded he had to issue me a ticket.

When I went to the Barnesville police office the next day to request a copy of the police reports for the night I ran over the rebar and for the delivery of the ticket the next day, I was given one police report. I specifically asked the police chief why there were not two police reports, since the ticket was written the next day. The police chief said the ticket was written the night I drove over the rebar but just not delivered until the next afternoon.

With the video tape and the officer's comment, I have good reason to believe the police records were doctored to reflect that the ticket was written at the time I drove over the rebar rather than the next afternoon, when I believe it was written.

Police cited me for harassment for taking pictures.

The neighbor called the police because I was taking pictures from my yard of his putting fence posts in my driveway. I was on my property and simply documenting the process.

The police told me I was harassing the neighbor and ordered me to stop taking pictures. I was specifically told I could take pictures of the fence once it was up and the neighbor was not in the yard, but I could not take pictures of the neighbor working on the fence.

The police report indicates I was harassing the neighbor. In other words, I was repeatedly told I could not do things the police had no legal right to tell me not to do, and was reported as harassing the neighbor in the police reports when the police had no legal grounds for labeling my actions harassment.

Police would not request the rebar be removed from my tire track.

The police officers and police chief refused to request that the neighbor's rebar be removed from my driveway even though it was clearly on my property. This was a public safety issue, but they would not honor my request.

Police officer gave neighbor "permission" to put fence post in my tire track.

One police officer gave the neighbbor "permission" to put up three fence posts in my driveway, something he clearly had no authority to do.

City shows a clear pattern of enforcing ordinances against me but not against my neighbor.

While all these other police actions were going on, I asked that the city ordinance against domestic animals be enforced against the neighbor's loose domestic ducks, which often wondered over into my yard.

The police chief told me he was not going to enforce the ordinance.

City council members and employees treat women differently than men.

No request I made, even the one regarding public safety and the removal of the rebar in my driveway, was honored. Anything the male neighbor asked for, the police granted, even when they had no legal authority to do so.

No state-mandated form in place to file complaints against police officers.

The Barnesville city police department had no state-mandated form available for filing a complaint against a city police officer. This meant there was no form I could file which required a response from the Barnesville city council indicating what action they were taking about my complaint.

As a result, I could only write a letter to the city council outlining what had happened. Their response to me in writing was "you didn't ask us to do anything so we're not going to."

Verbal abuse

The neighbor putting up the spite fence called the council person representing this ward of the city. I pointed out to this council person that the survey poles had been placed there by the neighbor, not my surveyor, so the line was not accurate. The council person angrily told me I knew good and well where the property line was and I was "just being stubborn." I personally did not find this surprising since there have been other incidents in the past involving slander on the part of city officials as well.

Earlier Violations

Althought the following two events occurred several years ago and I have described them briefly in the addendum to the timeline, they indicate a clear pattern of continual violation of civil rights over the twelve years I have lived here:

City employees falsified DNR documents, leading to collapse of a creek bank which caused me to lose about half an acre of land.

The city contacted the DNR when they replaced a downed utility pole on the flat land above a steep creek bank. They indicated to the DNR that they were simply replacing a pole and were working on the flat land above the creek bank.

The DNR never checked on what they were really doing.

In actuality, the city crews tore vegetation off the creek bank itself, hauled in three or four loads of fill dirt, dumped it down the creek bank, and put the new utility pole halfway down the newly sculped bank.

Two years later the fill collapsed into the creek,blocking the natural course of the water and forcing into a higher flood trace nearer my house. The creek defined my property line. I lost about half an acre of land.

The city denies any wrongdoing and the DNR refuses to do anything about what has happened.

City employees filed criminal charges against me for building without a permit.

When I began restoring an old house in Barnesville, the city told my contractor they wanted $400 for a building permit. My contractor knew that was way out of line, so I went to the city offices and requested a copy of the ordinance granting the city authority to issue building permits and a rate schedule.

The city refused to give me a copy of the ordinance and refused to sell me a permit.

When I was not at home, the city building inspector trespassed in my house, looked all around, and used what he found (he misrepresented what he saw) to gather information to cite when he filed charges against me for building without a permit.

The city did have to produce an ordinance to file charges against me, although I never saw the ordinance until I was served with the papers. The ordinance clearly stated that under no circumstances could the city charge more than $50 for a building permit. In the suit, they still insisted they wanted $400.

The city refused to settle at pretrial, but did finally settle on $50 a few days before the case was to go to trial.

When the building inspector came to my home to collect the $50, he tried to make me pay the state surcharge as well, and I refused. When I offered to show him the letter of agreement and the city ordinance, he accepted the $50 and left.

However, the city attorney called my attorney and complained that I was not cooperating with the agreement, implying I wouldn't pay the city the agreed-upon $50.

Diane Haugen
email: WhiskeyCreek@wcdd.com

Banana Republics in The Heartland

Essay on Minnesota's Banana Republics

Timeline of Events in Spite Fence Issue

Additional Rights Violation Incidents

Case Law

The Devil's Advocate: FAQ

Links Related to Civil and Individual Rights Issues

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