ST. PAUL — A “belligerent” and “drunk” Minnesota lawmaker cursed at a nurse, disrupted the Regions Hospital emergency room and accused police officers of “brutality” in May, according to St. Paul police reports.
He also repeatedly told police of his status as a lawmaker and retired cop, telling an officer at one point, “it will be hell to pay,” the reports state.
The new details, contained in supplemental police reports, provide a more graphic account of what has already been reported: Rep. Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook, himself a retired sheriff’s deputy and former police chief, was issued citations for disorderly conduct and trespassing following altercations with a security guard and St. Paul police at the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Paul and later with staff and police at Regions.
In June, Grossell reached an agreement that will allow him to avoid any convictions if he completes a six-month court diversion program intended to allow adults to address issues without incarceration.
None of that has changed, and all the information revealed in the reports would have been available to prosecutors. But they weren’t known publicly.
Grossel declined to be interviewed Wednesday, July 31, but his attorney, Ryan Garry, issued this statement: “Rep. Grossell realizes the gravity of his mistakes, and personally apologized to the police officers before I was even involved in his representation. He feels terrible about the situation and is glad to put this behind him. The charges will be dismissed.”
Grossell, who sits on the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform committee, among others, has faced no formal repercussions within the state Legislature. On Wednesday, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, declined to comment. As head of the Republican caucus, Daudt could effectively “discipline” Grossell by getting him removed from committees. House Speaker Melissa Hortman, D-Brooklyn Park, has the ultimate power over such things. She declined to comment Wednesday.
According to the police reports, Grossell, 53, appeared intoxicated when he walked into the hotel bar at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge, known as the Kelly Inn, on St. Anthony Avenue near the state Capitol shortly after midnight on May 4. Like many lawmakers from greater Minnesota, Grossell rented a room there while the Legislature was in session.
After three more drinks, the bartender told police, Grossell slumped over a table. A hotel security guard was called over, and, according to a video footage reviewed by police, Grossell shoved the security guard five times, the fifth time being a two-handed shove that caused the guard to lose his balance. A “grapple” ensued, police reports state. The guard later said Grossell slapped him at one point but he was uninjured. The guard allowed Grossell to go to his hotel room.
The hotel called police. The guard said he wanted to press assault charges, and officers said hotel staff wanted Grossell evicted.
Officers found Grossell kneeling on the floor of his room. He was “unable to fully communicate.” Unsure if Grossell was having a medical episode, and believing he was unable “to care for himself,” a St. Paul police sergeant decided to have Grossell taken to Regions.
After investigators viewed security footage and interviewed witnesses, they cited Grossell for disorderly conduct.
According to the police reports, Grossell became “belligerent” at the hospital on several occasions, leading to an escalating situation that resulted in police arresting him for trespassing.
A nurse reported that Grossell was being “so disruptive in the pod that visitors and patients were being disturbed from their care, coming out of their rooms to see what had been going on,” one officer wrote. A doctor concluded there was no medical reason to keep him there, and they needed him to leave so other patients in the waiting room could be seen. Grossell was offered cab fare to take him home, but he refused.
The nurse told the officer “Grossell referred to her as a ‘sick b—-‘ and told her to ‘get your head out of your ass.'”
Grossell is a retired Clearwater County sheriff’s deputy and former Blackduck police chief. He was once shot and wounded in the line of duty. In two terms in the Legislature, he has frequently sponsored legislation to protect first responders and medical workers from violence.
Another officer wrote that “Grossell was being belligerent and telling us (officers) to ‘get our heads out of our asses.'”
The reports describe hospital staff and officers at various times attempting to “deescalate” Grossell, who repeatedly demanded to know why he was in the hospital.
At various times he told officers of his status, either as a lawmaker, retired cop, or both. “He repeatedly tried to reason with us ‘cop to cop,'” one officer wrote. He told another of his status and said “it will be hell to pay.”
Grossell told a police commander that his daughter was a nurse at Regions. The commander offered to contact the daughter so perhaps she could come to help him. “Leave my daughter alone,” Grossell said, according to the report. “You’re a cop. If you f— with my family you know the right thing to (do) is to let me go.”
At various times, Grossell made it difficult for officers to move him. He was placed in a wheelchair at one point, and he kept jamming his feet on the floor to prevent them from wheeling him around. They decided to wheel him backward toward a holding cell in the hospital. Officers eventually decided to arrest him for trespassing “to prevent further criminal behavior,” a sergeant wrote.
The behavior continued when officers transferred him to the county jail.
“After several attempts to get him in the squad he did sit down but kept his knee out so we could not close the door,” one report states. “At this time, he screamed that he was hurt and said it was ‘police brutality.'"