Friday, February 05, 2010

Ex- Sheriff's Deputy Charged with Felony Over E-Threat

By Dan Nienaber

(MINNESOTA) A former Blue Earth County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with a felony for an alleged e-mail threat he sent to other deputies in November.

The terroristic threats charge was filed Wednesday against Richard Glenn Miller, 36, of Mankato. Miller resigned from his job as a deputy in December after being placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 11.

That was the day Miller allegedly sent an e-mail, with the subject “Union Contract,” to 14 other deputies at 5:46 a.m. He was the only deputy on duty at the time, the criminal complaint said.

After discussing upcoming union negotiations, Miller allegedly ended the e-mail with, “We absolutely need to have this added to our contract and if we don’t I’m gonna bring a gun into our office and shoot this place and everyone to hell.” The e-mail allegedly ended with “MILLER” in all capital letters.

Miller was put on administrative leave later that day after the e-mail was shown to Lt. David Karge and Capt. Rich Murry. Miller allegedly told Karge and Murry, who went to his house to confront him, that the e-mail was a joke, and he ends all of his e-mails with a “bit of his sense of humor,” the complaint said. Miller’s squad car, M16 rifle and handgun were taken at that time.

All of the deputies who received the e-mail, as well as Karge and Murry, were interviewed by Sgt. Steve Collins of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. Three of the deputies said they felt threatened by the e-mail and several said they felt “slightly alarmed,” Collins reported.

Others said they weren’t threatened but could understand how the e-mail could be perceived as a threat, the complaint said.

Miller said Wednesday that he never intended to harm or threaten anyone.

“It was an expression meant in a humorous way, and it was taken out of context,” Miller said. “It was a phrase that’s commonly used.

“If I would have known I was going to threaten someone with what I said, I most certainly wouldn’t have said it.”

Miller also said it might have been a mistake to make the comment in an e-mail because it’s more difficult to convey that a phrase is meant to be humorous. If he would have said it in person, the other deputies would have seen him smiling and understood it wasn’t meant to be a threat, he said.

“They were co-workers and friends,” Miller said. “It’s a real tight group of people. Whenever you’re dealing with union negotiations, you always try to lighten the mood.

“It’s really hurtful that someone would think I’m capable of something like that. I’ve spent the last 13 years of my life trying to help people. To be accused of something like that is really hurtful.”

After Miller’s resignation, Blue Earth County Chief Deputy Mike Maurer would not disclose why Miller had been placed on paid leave or the reason for his resignation. Maurer would only say there was an internal investigation and that the Scott County department had been asked to do a criminal investigation.

The investigation ended in early January and was turned over to the Brown County attorney’s office to decide if any criminal charges should be filed. Scott and Brown counties were asked to help to avoid any conflicts of interest, Maurer said.

Miller, who had been a Blue Earth County deputy since 1999, had been disciplined twice before by superiors, according to personnel records available to the public.

In 2005, he was suspended for 10 hours without payhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif for failing to complete two training courses. He also was suspended without pay for one work week in February 2002 after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated. In that incident, Miller also was accused of distracting a state trooper so he would be pulled over instead of an intoxicated friend who was driving another car.

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