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Widow of slain Mendota Heights police officer settles lawsuit with city

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The city of Mendota Heights has settled an employment-related lawsuit with the widow of slain police officer Scott Patrick.

Five months before he was shot to death in July 2014 during a routine traffic stop, Patrick had sued the city and its police chief, claiming whistleblower harassment and workplace retaliation.

The suit’s origins date to 2008, when Officer Patrick reported two fellow officers moving a picnic table to city hall from the old Lilydale Tennis Club, and reported it as a property theft to Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener.

Patrick claimed other officers harassed him after that, and he filed a complaint outlining several instances.

The suit says Aschenbrener retaliated against Patrick for filing the complaint by issuing him a one-day suspension following an internal affairs investigation into an unrelated 2012 incident.

Patrick's widow Michelle was allowed to continue the suit after his death. She and the city reached a settlement Monday after the two sides met with a mediator, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The city will pay Michelle Patrick $50,000, the newspaper reports. Of that, her attorneys will receive $21,213 and she will receive the rest.

"Rather than engage in protracted litigation, the City and Ms. Patrick agreed it is in their best interests to resolve the dispute," the parties said in a joint statement released Tuesday afternoon.

The payment will be covered by the city's insurance carrier, according to KSTP.

Brian Fitch, Sr., 40, was convicted of first-degree murder for Patrick’s death in February. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

With 19 years of service, Patrick, 47, was the department’s most senior officer when he was fatally shot. On May 15, Patrick’s name was etched onto the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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