Superior man accused of trespassing on own land

Superior man accused of trespassing on own land

“Jeremy Engelking will appear in Douglas County court this afternoon to face a trespassing charge. But here’s the kicker: The Superior man allegedly trespassed on his own property.

Engelking, 27, aimed to hunt deer Wednesday morning when he noticed a pipeline crew on his land. He hopped on his ATV and told workers they had no right to be on his property because he had received no compensation from Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. for an easement.

Engelking said workers told him he was in an unsafe place and asked him to come to an equipment staging area, where he continued to argue his case.

But just as he was turning to leave, Engelking said an officer from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene and approached with a Taser drawn.

“He ordered me to ‘get down on the ground now!’ And he said that I was being arrested for trespassing,” Engelking said.

When Engelking protested, pointing out that he was on his own property, he said Sgt. Robert Smith told him: “It doesn’t matter. You’re going to jail. You can tell it to a judge tomorrow.”

Engelking offered no resistance, but Smith placed him in handcuffs then transported him to the Douglas County Jail. After posting a $200 bail bond, Engelking was released that afternoon. He also had to pay about another $100 to recover his impounded ATV.”

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It is unbelievable how many rights have been violated in this situation.  Lets start with the Enbridge.

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“Engelking’s arrest Wednesday is the latest episode in a long disagreement he and his father, Jerry Engelking, have had with Enbridge, dating to the company’s last pipeline expansion in 2002.

Jerry Engelking, who owns 200 acres next to his son, said he refused to sign off on changes proposed to the original 1949 easement across his property because he felt the revisions put too many restrictions on how he could use his property. That original easement said future pipes laid along the same route would require payments in advance.

According to court documents, Enbridge sent a $15,000 check to Jerry Engelking and also tried to hand-deliver payments, but Engelking refused to accept them.

Engelking said that to claim the money he would have had to broaden the scope of the existing easement across his property, so he turned the checks down. When the latest pipeline project came along, the Engelkings again refused to modify the original 1949 right-of-way agreement.

The family sought a restraining order against Enbridge on Sept. 24, arguing the company intended to use the pipeline for transporting petroleum products other than those originally allowed, protesting that they had not been paid and citing damage to property.

Douglas County Circuit Court Judge George Glonek granted a temporary injunction but lifted it the following day, saying the company’s plans for the pipeline were appropriate and efforts had been made to pay the Engelkings. “

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Enbridge aknowledges that he has refused the money they offered him but decided to go ahead and run the pipeline across his property anyway even though a) the original 1949 easement contract doesn’t allow it and b) the landowner refused any proposed changes.  So the guy doesn’t want the pipeline run across his property.  So when he sees the company running the pipeline without permission, he confronts the workers who in turn call the police.  Enter arresting officer.  Now, you don’t have to have military or civilian law enforcement training to know that the goal in any situation is to diffuse it not escalate it.  Apparently the arresting officer was sick that day in the academy and decided to show up with a taser drawn instead.  Now before you say “its just a taser,” let me share some anecdotal evidence. One of the Soldiers in my fire team in Iraq had previously gone through training to become a police officer in the Duluth area.  Part of that training is getting tased.  Well obviously something went wrong because the taser knocked him unconscious and left him in a coma for the next 4 days.  Tasers are not toys. Apparently the arresting officer once again didn’t get the memo (or he did get the memo and simply wanted to try out his shiny new toy).  In the military we have EOF, or Escalation of Force procedures we must adhere to.  It is a strict set of guidelines dictating what has to happen before we are allowed to escalate any situation to the point of drawing a weapon. Drawing a weapon and using it are always the very last steps in the EOF and should be taken ONLY if absolutely necessary.  So did the arresting officer follow EOF (I think the civilian police call it “pyramid of force continuum “)?  It doesn’t look that way.  It looks as though the police officer decided to play judge and jury.  What about the “he was in hunting gear so he probably thought he had a gun” argument?  It doesn’t hold water.  If the arresting officer thought he was armed and dangerous he would have pulled his gun instead of the taser.  After all, you don’t bring a taser to a gun fight.

Of course this monstrosity doesn’t stop there. After going before the judge Engelking finds out he’s being charged with disorderly conduct as well despite the fact he wasn’t disorderly.  My question is did the arresting officer have a signed warrant to go on his property to arrest him?  I’m not sure what the legal requirement is when dealing with easements, but all signs are pointing to no.  Furthermore, how can an officer arrest someone for trespassing on their own land? Or, if the easement is considered public land, then how can someone be charged with trespassing at all?

While looking through the comments on this story I came across Jeremy Engelking’s side of the story.  Apparently Enbridge and the Douglas County Sheriffs Department acted even worse than the story let on:

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“After reading comments I want say thank you and I want to clearify some things: Enbridge has not made 1 formal offer to me about the easement. The area where my 4-wheeler was parked and where I was located and arrested was the area a Precision Pipeline employee told me to go for “saftey reasons”. As a condition of the check offered by Enbridge they wanted for us to completely change the current restrictions and wording on the easement. I have the additional paperwork. The easement says Enbridge is required to pay money for each additional pipeline put on our property. It also states that the amount is to be paid is before they lay the pipe. The easement states if a payment is not mutually agreed upon what actions are required for the negotiations to move forward. Enbridge has known my parents were not happy with their offer for more than 2 years so they have had more than ample time to take legal action. They also did not pay for the pipeline installed in 2002 because they were requesting additional terms to the easement. As for the firearm. Yes I had one. I was getting done deer hunting (unit 1m in WI allows that), I was dressed in blaze orange and my gun was fully cased on the front of my 4-wheeler the entire time and never touched. If my gun was an issue at no time during the 30 minute conversation with Precision or Enbridge employees before the Sheriff’s department arrived was anything said to me about it. If it was an issue I’m sure the sheriffs department would not have just walked the 400 yards right out to me. They would have taken a more careful approach. **during court today douglas county also issued me a disorderly conduct ticket in addition to the tresspassing charge. Under the charge is written: “while in a public place, did engage in otherwise disorderly conduct”. The ticket was written and signed today by the douglas county district attorney’s office. “

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Engelking is being charged with violating Wisconsin statutes 943.15(1)- Entry into/onto Bldg/Constuct.Site/Room (Misdemeanor) and 947.01 Disorderly Conduct (also a misdemeanor).  Both are criminal offenses.  To put it lightly, this guy is getting screwed.

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