Counsel for University of Minnesota student Max Specktor argued Tuesday that authorities illegally searched a minivan in which he was passenger in September 2008 and that evidence seized should be suppressed in Specktor’s upcoming trial.
Specktor and seven others, collectively dubbed the RNC 8, each face multiple felony counts for allegedly plotting to aggressively disrupt the Republican National Convention, held in St. Paul last year.
Minneapolis police stopped the van Sept. 1, 2008 — the first day of the RNC. Minneapolis and St. Paul police officers testified in Ramsey County court Tuesday that they were operating under a “probable cause pick-up” order for Specktor.
After police arrested Specktor, Minneapolis police Sgt. Patrick King drove the van to a nearby police precinct. Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department Commander Richard Clark said they found several potentially dangerous items in the van upon searching it at the precinct, including illegal fireworks, gasoline, blades and caltrops — pointed, nail-like weapons designed to have a sharp side always facing up.
Larry Leventhal , Specktor’s attorney, said police searched the vehicle illegally by failing to obtain a warrant.
“Law enforcement was trying to make up rules as it went along,” Leventhal said.
Clark said the vehicle stopped in an illegal parking spot upon being pulled over. He said they could not wait for a tow truck to haul it away for police safety reasons, citing a hostile crowd gathering around the arrest site.
The RNC 8 are scheduled for a hearing Oct. 8 that will determine whether they are tried as a group or individually.
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