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JAMES WALSH
Star Tribune, Minneapolis

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Jul. 16--Longtime Minneapolis police officer Mike Roberts is the victim of a setup, not a corrupt cop, his lawyer said Tuesday, minutes after Roberts pleaded not guilty to three federal charges.
F. Clayton Tyler, Roberts' attorney, said the FBI's case against Roberts is a "typical case of entrapment." Tyler didn't deny that Roberts took money from a man in exchange for looking up non-public information, but said Roberts neither sought out the man nor did he ask for money for providing the information.
When asked why authorities would target Roberts, Tyler said: "You'll have to ask the police that."
Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan refused to go into details of the case Tuesday, deferring to the federal investigation. But he said that "allegations like these cast doubt upon the integrity of anyone who wears a badge." Dolan also argued that he is not singling out black officers like Roberts for discipline.
Roberts, 57, was indicted by a federal grand jury Monday on two counts of depriving the citizens of Minnesota of his honest services and one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer. Roberts was ordered released on a $25,000 bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Richard Nelson.
Questions came in the spring
The investigation of Roberts came to light in April, when Dolan placed him and another officer on paid administrative leave.
According to the indictment released Monday, the officer twice in August 2007 accessed non-public information on law enforcement computers for a man identified only as "T.T." In each case, the indictment states, T.T. asked Roberts to provide information -- once regarding a license plate and once regarding a man supposedly talking to police about T.T.'s criminal activities. And, according to the indictment, Roberts supplied that information, despite knowing that T.T. was a gang member and a drug dealer.
In each case, he was paid $100 by the man.
Tyler, however, disputed details of the indictment, adding the Roberts "did not solicit anything from this guy." He called his client an "outstanding officer in this city for a number of years."
The other officer placed on leave in April was Lt. Lee Edwards. Edwards, who has not been charged with a crime, is one of five high-ranking black officers suing the department over allegations of racial discrimination.
Racism not issue, says chief
Asked about claims that he has singled out black officers for discipline, Dolan said he has worked to "raise the bar" regarding discipline for all officers, noting that 15 officers have been fired or have resigned after disciplinary action over the past two years. "I'm willing to take that heat," Dolan said of criticism. "If you're not willing to take that heat, you don't belong in the chair."
Roberts' personnel file, released by the chief's office Tuesday, shows several past instances of discipline, including two letters of reprimand and a one-day suspension without pay. But his file also includes nine letters of appreciation and a recommendation for an award.
Dolan said Roberts will remain on paid leave. As a condition of Roberts' release, Judge Nelson said he could not possess his gun.
Roberts' next appearance in federal court is scheduled for Aug. 8. His trial has been scheduled to begin Nov. 3.

Story From: The Star Tribune
 
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