Lawmaker removed from committees over disorderly conduct incident

House Speaker Melissa Hortman took action against Rep. Matt Grossell.
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Matt Grossell

A Minnesota lawmaker has been removed from two House committees because of an incident in May that saw him arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced that Rep. Matt Grossell (R–Clearbrook) would be removed from the Public Safety and Judiciary Committees as a result of the incident at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge and Regions Hospital.

Grossell, himself a former sheriff's deputy, was acting disorderly at the hotel bar that night, and later became argumentative with staff and security at Regions.

While Grossell has apologized and is taking part in a "diversion" program as a result of his arrest, it was the manner of his conduct that night as the reason why Hortman feels that he, as an elected member, requires additional punishment.

In particular, it was Grossell's entrance to the police station at 5:40 a.m. on May 4 that Hortman flagged up, with one of the police reports stating Grossell identified himself as a former deputy and a current lawmaker. He then said he didn't know why he'd been arrested, before adding "it will be hell to pay."

"In my judgement, this conduct is an abuse of the office you hold as an elected official and a consequence and sanction is appropriate," Hortman wrote.

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In a statement in response to Hortman's move, Grossell said that he has worked since the night of his arrest "to personally apologize to those involved, make amends, and complete the legal process."

"Despite Speaker Hortman's efforts to remove law enforcement voices from the Public Safety Committee, I will continue to focus on efforts to make our communities safer and support the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line each day to protect Minnesotans," he added.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) claimed that Hortman's decision was an example of her party's "outright hostility for law enforcement," claiming it was a politically-motivated move.

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