MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The fallout continues for two Minnesota state lawmakers cited for “making out” in a Regional Park.
GOP Reps. Tara Mack and Tim Kelly apologized Monday to law enforcement for saying the Dakota County park ranger lied about the incident.
The two state lawmakers, who are married to other people, were ticketed last month for creating a public nuisance last month at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan.
After meeting with Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Mack and Kelly apologized to law enforcement.
“Since becoming a State Representative in 2009, I have been a strong supporter of our men and women in law enforcement,” Mack, who is from Apple Valley, said in a written statement. “I understand that the Park Ranger was trying to do his job. I have the utmost respect for the work law enforcement does to keep Minnesotans safe and I apologize for offending these great men and women.”
Kelly, who is from Red Wing, also issued a written statement:
“After serious reflection on the last two weeks, I can say that I am disappointed in myself for the way I handled my disagreement with a park ranger. I reacted to this in an emotional way and certainly without respect and professionalism. Several of my own family members serve in law enforcement and I have nothing but respect for the entire community. There is a proper way to handle conflicts and as a state representative you should certainly expect me to do so. I apologize to my constituents, to the law enforcement community and to the state of Minnesota.”
One state lawmaker says the apology doesn’t go far enough. Rep. Dan Schoen (DFL-Cottage Grove) said Mack and Kelly have never admitted the incident happened, and never apologized to the Ranger.
“There are no perfect human beings in that legislature, me included,” Schoen, who is a licensed police officer, said. “But sometimes there’s a line that was crossed. When you say that the officer basically had a bold-faced lie in his report? I’m sorry. That’s just too far.”
As the fallout from the park incident continued, Mack and Kelly resigned from their positions on the Minnesota House Ethics Committee, which judges the conduct of legislators.
Schoen said they now need to restore credibility to the ranger.
“He’s not a liar. The young man is not a liar. Are you still maintaining that he is a liar? That is a big deal,” he said.
Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie, who stood behind the ranger, said he is satisfied with the apology from the lawmakers. Leslie said it’s time to put the incident behind them and move on.