Minneapolis, MN — In May of 2020, the rest of the world got an inside look into the rampant corruption and criminal behavior inside the Minneapolis police department after the death of George Floyd. While deadly force was certainly a problem within their ranks, a recent conviction exposed the corruption spanned far wider than just excessive force.
Ty Raymond Jindra, 28, was indicted in 2020 on accusations that he ran a drug extortion racket for over two years. Jindra faced 11 counts for abusing his position as a street cop to steal meth, heroin, oxycodone and other drugs for personal use during the course of his duties.
“Ty Jindra failed to uphold his oath as a peace officer, he failed the community he was sworn to serve, and he failed his fellow officers” said Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Folk. “This office and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate corruption and blatant abuse of authority. I am grateful to the Minneapolis Police Department for rooting out Jindra’s wrongdoing and notifying the FBI.”
Jindra was found guilty and convicted by a federal jury on three counts of acquiring a controlled substance by deception, and two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. Throughout the entirety of the trial, Jindra maintained his innocent and claimed he was unfairly targeted by federal officials.
All that changed this week, however, as he finally admitted his guilt.
Jindra said his “biggest regret” was “withholding the full truth from both my attorneys and my close family.” He said he chose to go to trial even though “I had committed several of the crimes I was charged with …, The jury in my case made the correct decisions and I respect them for that.”
“I am ashamed and feel extreme guilt for abusing my position to take pills from those I encountered on the street, and I admit to committing the crimes I have been convicted of,” Jindra said, according to a court document filed Wednesday in advance of his sentencing. According to the Star Tribune, a date for sentencing has not yet been set but Jindra’s attorneys are asking for a reduced sentence, claiming he has since learned from his mistakes and will work to carry the message of sobriety to other military veterans like himself and to first responders — an option not offered to most people whose lives are ruined by the state for their addictions.
What’s more, when hearing the details of his crimes, a lenient sentence for such a massive betrayal of public trust would be a travesty of justice.
According to the grand jury indictment, Jindra was using his badge to steal meth, heroin, and oxycodone by means of “deception, extortion, and conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures.”
According to the indictment, Jindra would confiscate drugs during busts and never report them. He also would pocket drugs turned in by concerned citizens and skimmed small amounts from all drugs he put into evidence. In one instance, according to the indictment, Jindra showed up to a call for an overdose and stole all the heroin and meth from the scene.
Jindra also illegally detained individuals and violated their 4th Amendment rights by searching them without cause and then stealing their drugs, according to the indictment.
Ironically enough, the investigation into Jindra began, not over stealing meth and heroin, but from excessive force. In his 7 years with the department, Jindra has been the subject of 15 complaints, eight of which are still open.
According to the Star Tribune,
Jindra came to the attention of department officials after being named in three excessive force complaints in a short span of time, sources familiar with the investigation said.
In the process, the department also reviewed footage that appeared to show Jindra pulling a small quantity of what appeared to be drugs from his backpack, a source said.
The charges say Jindra found ways to hide his behavior from his partner and other police officers, such as placing the contraband into his gloved hand, folding the latex glove over the drugs and then stashing them in his personal duty bag or some other location inside the squad car. Jindra turned off his body-worn camera at opportune moments during searches and failed to disclose key details in police reports, such as the seizure of pills he stashed away for personal use, according to the charges. He told his partner he planned to dispose of meth that he kept for his own use.
Cops betraying their communities by extorting drug dealers, and stealing their products is most certainly immoral and deserves punishment. Jindra deserves to be held accountable for his actions. However, merely possessing and selling drugs to willing customers—should never end with anyone in a cage.
Criminalizing addiction and substance abuse has done nothing to curb use. People are literally dying in the streets at an increasing rate and no amount of police state can stop it. In fact, since the inception of the drug war, drug addiction and overdoses have gotten worse.
Fortunately, this paradigm seems to be breaking apart and cases like this exposing the façade have begun a crack in the wall that is the drug war — and that wall has started to crumble.