David Unze, SC Times, November 12, 2011
An African-American man who said two white St. Cloud police officers assaulted him as he walked on a city street has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting a crime.
Matthew Randall Moe, 22, was ordered to pay $135 in fines and fees and to write a letter of apology to the St. Cloud Police Department and the officers he falsely accused of assaulting him.
Moe initially made his accusations in a letter to St. Cloud State University in which he claimed the attack was racially motivated. The university forwarded the letter to St. Cloud police, who asked the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office to investigate.
Moe’s initial report said he was walking home in the early hours of Feb. 10, 2010, when two white officers stopped their Crown Victoria squad car near him in the Eastman Park area. One officer asked Moe why he was running, and another came up behind him and pushed him face-first into the snowbank, Moe said.
The officers asked for his identification and then checked computer records to verify his identity, Moe said. Moe claimed that he tried to stand up from a seated position in the snowbank and was pushed back down onto the snow by one of the officers.
He also claimed he was pushed to the ground a third time and then pat-searched before being told “they didn’t want to see him around here again,” according to the court complaint charging Moe.
Sherburne County Sheriff Capt. Scott Fildes investigated the case. Fildes reviewed the police officer logs and couldn’t find two officers who were working that night who matched the detailed description that Moe had given.
Fildes also obtained video surveillance of the area in which Moe claimed to have been assaulted. When viewing that video, Fildes didn’t see Moe or any police cars in the area at the time Moe said the assault happened.