Rosemount City Council member resigns after incident with ‘political extremist’ and police
A Rosemount City Council member quit after an incident with someone she calls a ‘political extremist’ and city police at her home shook her family, making them believe she could no longer serve as their impartial leader.
The incident also resulted in the indictment of her son, Daniel Joseph Tesch, 20, for disorderly conduct, along with two other people.
Tammy Block, who had served on council since 2018, resigned at the September 6 city council meeting.
“I never thought a political extremist would show up at my house not once, not twice, but three times…intimidating, threatening and harassing my family,” Block said at the meeting. “Given my experience of the process from start to finish and the situation as a whole, I don’t think I can continue as an unbiased member of the board.”
Block said given the political climate, it could happen again.
The incident occurred on August 2 when a man delivered a petition related to the upcoming primary election to Block’s home, in addition to dropping it off at the homes of other council members and City Hall in Rosemount, Rosemount City Administrator Logan Martin said.
After two failed attempts earlier in the day, Drew William Roach, 37, of Farmington, hand-delivered a petition around 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. seeking to stop the upcoming primary election, which the petition said was being conducted illegally, said Martin. .
“They were basically trying to shut down primary voting … with the machines as presented,” Martin said, referring to Dominion’s electronic voting machines that Dakota County is lending to Rosemount for the election.
The petition concerned software programs for the machines, which had undergone version upgrades, Martin said. The petitioners believed the improvements amounted to a new voting system and should have gone through a public comment period, Martin said.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon issued a statement on the updates, saying they were similar to automatic updates for an iPhone and did not require a public notification process, Martin said.
The petition was submitted by Bill Kieffer and Erik van Mechelen of Minneapolis. Van Mechelen, a Republican candidate for secretary of state this year who garnered 37% of the primary vote, noted on his “Midwest Seeds” blog that he had spoken at county board meetings about flaws in the security system. electronic voting.
It’s unclear exactly what happened when Roach arrived, but “a verbal altercation that led to a physical altercation” occurred and Roach, Tesch and resident Marco Antonio Arriaga, 49, were present, Martin said.
Efforts to reach van Mechelen and Roach failed.
On his blog, van Mechelen said Roach was “grabbed by the throat” by Tesch and “put into a chokehold on the street not far from his truck with kids in it.”
Van Mechelen added: “Roach managed to punch and break free as the neighbors came out of their house.”
Roach has “ongoing injuries, including chest and back pain,” and his children are still “emotional” about the incident, van Mechelen said.
When reached by phone, Block would not comment on the incident.
Block said she was frustrated that she only received an email, not a phone call or a text, from the city warning her that a “flustered” person was coming to deliver documents.
She was also upset that her son – along with Roach and Arriaga – had been charged with a disorderly conduct offense for defending the family home, she said.
“A stranger had the ability to come into my home and harm my family emotionally and physically and we are told that we are the ones in the wrong defending ourselves,” she said.
She said Arriaga, who was the first to meet Roach and the only person of color there, “did not have the opportunity to give a statement at the scene” while “an eyewitness who only saw the last seconds of what happened” was authorized by the police to act as an “impartial witness”.
Arriaga had to go to the police department afterwards and give a statement, she said.
In a statement, Rosemount Police Chief Mikael Dahlstrom said he was “disappointed” with the way Block recounted the night’s events.
“I have personally reviewed the body camera footage of this incident and am satisfied that our officers followed policy and procedure. Mr. Arriaga spoke with an officer for over four minutes, during which time our officer is remained professional and respectful,” the statement read. said.
Martin noted that the case was sent to Apple Valley Police to ensure officials were impartial in charging decisions.
He said he was “pretty confident” that sending Block and other council members an email alerting them to the petition’s delivery was sufficient. He sent the email around 3 p.m. and Block replied that she received it around 5:30 p.m. There was no indication the man was agitated, he said.
Martin, who also saw camera footage, said Rosemount officers “had detailed conversations” with everyone present. What Block shared at the city council meeting was inaccurate, he said.
In a statement, Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste supported the police, who serve the community “with an unwavering commitment to fairness.”
Although Block stepped down from her council role, her name will still appear on city ballots in November as a candidate for city council because the deadline for withdrawal had passed, Martin said. She ran unopposed.
A special election will have to be held to fill her seat if she does not take it, he said.