The very last thing Nisswa Mayor Fred Heidmann said during a Wednesday city council hearing was, in theory, the most important.
Heidmann stated for the record that he's not going to resign, despite his videotaped confrontation with police and subsequent arrest last month, and he plans to run for reelection. Honestly, he could've left it at that.
He, uh, didn't.
In a lengthy and blistering statement addressing the council, which voted to censure Heidmann days after his arrest went public, Heidmann accused the local police department of numerous acts of misconduct, including bullying, harassment, over-policing, adultery, and a potential sex crime committed by an officer. It was... wild.
If you'll recall, the underlying incident was Heidmann walking up to police officers who'd pulled over a car on the highway in Nisswa. The stop was apparently a joint action of both the Nisswa and Pequot Lakes departments.
In the course of criticizing the officers, Heidmann memorably said he was "the mayor of this fucking town," and that the cops were "as bad as those fucking dinks down in Minneapolis." Heidmann left the scene, then came back for more, at which point he was arrested -- face-down on the hood of a car that had been pulled over -- for obstruction of the legal process and disorderly conduct.
To hear Heidmann tell it, he was not just reacting to what he saw that day, but had instead boiled over thanks to misconduct throughout the department. According to his testimony Wednesday, Nisswa Police Chief Craig Taylor had threatened numerous people, including Heidmann, and that two women had cried as they told the mayor about their dealings with Taylor. (Heidmann did not elaborate on details, but did say he had "considered filing charges" in his own case.)
The mayor then told his own story of getting pulled over on the highway in July for not wearing a seatbelt. Heidmann said the cops who watch the road "like hawks" see him "many times, each day, going north and south," and "know as a matter of fact and pattern, I always have my seatbelt on."
Heidmann said he told the officer who'd pulled him over that he'd only removed the belt temporarily, so he could remove his phone from his pocket, then put it back on. The cop issued him a ticket anyway, and "smirked all the way to his squad car," says Heidmann.
He added, conspiratorially: "What kind of orders did our police chief put out, if at all? I don't know."
Heidmann said that when Taylor is so much as questioned, the chief writes it off as coming from "a cop-hater." For his part, the mayor said it's "sad" that "mediocre cops, or bad cops, ruin it for the good cops."
He added: "In the case of Nisswa, it seems to start at the police chief."
Then things got wild.
Heidmann came to the portion of his testimony he called "the part that a mayor never wants to have to talk about." And most mayors never do, because they are not the mayor of the town in a made-for-Cinemax movie that only ever airs after 11 p.m. In Lithuania.
"It is purported by citizens in our community that five marriages have been destroyed by poor police conduct, including our chief, over the last number of years, along with one mentally challenged woman who an officer allegedly had sex with. In one case it is alleged that a husband came home and found an officer with his wife, and got extremely upset, and because of that, he was arrested. Just this year, it was brought to the council's attention, that an officer -- or officers, I'm not really totally sure -- may have had, or been having sex with a woman, or women, in city hall, and failed to act on it. You guys know that. I'm sick of it. I am darn sick of it."
Note that tucked in with a series of allegations that make Nisswa cops out to be extremely horny is an aside about a "mentally challenged woman." If Heidmann was alleging what it sounds like he's alleging, he should probably report that incident to someone. Like, someone other than the Nisswa City Council.
Heidmann, meanwhile, called for an "investigation by an outside party to get to the bottom of this," later adding "the city and citizens" of Nisswa should "demand an investigation into all these alleged matters."
Having tossed out this diatribe, Heidmann came back to his own dust-up with police, suggesting part of the reason he "blew a gasket when cops were shaking down vacationers on our highway."
In an amazing feat of self-justification, Heidmann suggested his belligerence toward cops -- "fuck you guys," he'd told them -- and arrest was a good thing.
"I guess maybe this whole thing is what it took to get the lid off of, and pull the curtain on the backside of the city of Nisswa, and what is going on."
(Wait, people in Nisswa wear what? And is that why everyone's having so much sex?)
Heidmann admitted he could've handled things differently, but said he has "passion for the City of Nisswa," and that "at times that passion comes out pretty strong, but I will say, at least I have the gonads to stand up and call out what I'm seeing is wrong."
THIS GUY IS THE MAYOR!
And he intends to be for at least a couple more years, as Heidmann, at last, informed the council, which he had effectively stunned into silence with his stream of hearsay.
Taylor, the chief of police, wasn't at the Wednesday meeting, and declined to comment when reached by the Brainerd Dispatch.
Likewise, the city council took no immediate action in response to Heidmann's claims, instead choosing to conduct... well, as regular a meeting as possible, given the circumstances. These are wild times for the politicians and police officers of Nisswa. Not to mention the divorce lawyers.