Questions Arise About Favoritism By Local Law Enforcement, And In Edina And Knox County Hiring Practices

By Echo Menges

 

An incident involving a Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy, who also works as an Edina Police Officer, his cousin, and several Knox County High School students lead The Edina Sentinel to uncover more questions than answers.

First, here are the details of the incidents, which opened a proverbial can of worms for the County of Knox and City of Edina.

Taylor Kinman, 20, of Edina is alleged to have had an altercation with four Knox County High School students on August 15, 2012, in which Kinman is accused of driving his vehicle head on at the students. It is also alleged that Kinman pursued the students after the initial confrontation by continuing “to chase them and yell at them down several streets.” The report also alleges “Kinman chased them until they were stopped by (Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy who was working as an Edina Police Officer at the time) David Fagin on Clay Street in Edina.”

During the traffic stop it is alleged that Kinman pulled up to the scene of the stop, parked his vehicle behind the officer’s vehicle, approached Deputy/Officer Fagin and asked “if he could ask some questions.” It is alleged that Kinman then spoke to the students in an “aggressive manner and asked them why they had driven past his house three times. Kinman then told them he had a pregnant girlfriend, and if they disturbed her or his horses, he was going to – “take their heads off.””

No charges were filed against Kinman or the students by Deputy/Officer Fagin following the August 15, 2012 traffic stop.

According to court documents a parent of one of the students did notify a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol about the August 15, 2012 incident on August 16, 2012.

Also, according to the documents, it is alleged that Kinman ran into two of the students from the August 15, 2012, incident at their place of work on August 18, 2012, recognized them as the people “from the other night,” allegedly called the students a vulgar name and allegedly told them they better “watch themselves.”

After the students’ parents contacted the MSHP, a trooper went to Kinman’s home where Kinman allegedly accused the students of “driving recklessly through town and had been running stop signs and squealing their tires.” Kinman allegedly told the trooper he went out to stop them because he “didn’t want them to wake his girlfriend.”

According to the report, Kinman allegedly confessed to driving his vehicle on the wrong side of the road while approaching the students’ vehicle head-on and confessed to stopping his vehicle to block the students’ vehicle on August 15, 2012. It is also alleged that Kinman confessed to calling two of the students a vulgar name at their place of work on August 18, 2012.

Since The Edina Sentinel began to investigate this story, it was learned that Mr. Kinman is a cousin, of Deputy/Officer Fagin and Kinman’s live-in girlfriend, Nicole Klataske, was hired as a part-time dispatcher for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office back in June of this year. It has also been learned that, the part-time dispatcher job opportunity was not advertised to the public. The obvious question is: Was Klataske hired as a favor to Deputy Fagin?

According to Knox County Clerk Marlene Spory, Sheriff Mike Kite is responsible for hiring KCSO dispatch positions.

It has also been learned by The Edina Sentinel that a housemate of Deputy Fagin’s was recently hired as a part-time dispatcher by the Edina Police Department. That position was advertised to the public, but the question remains: Was the new city dispatcher hired as a favor to Deputy/Officer Fagin?

According to Edina City Clerk Margaret Gibson, Chief Roger Waibel is responsible to hire for that City of Edina’s dispatch position.

And of course the most obvious question: Was Kinman not charged by Deputy/Officer Fagin after allegedly threatening the four students in front of him during August 15, 2012 incident because of Kinman’s relation to the Deputy/Officer?

It has also been learned by The Edina Sentinel that Officer/Deputy Fagin is not commissioned, through the state, by the Edina Police Department. According to the Program Manager for the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Program, Jeremy Spratt, as of Friday, August 24, 2012 Deputy/Officer Fagin was never commissioned by the City of Edina to work as a police officer for the Edina Police Department, which makes him unable to enforce city ordinances.

“If he (David Fagin) is working for the city (of Edina), they have not reported it to us. If he is commissioned by that city, that city has to report that to us unless he’s working in a county capacity,” said Spratt. “That is public information.”

According to Edina Mayor Davey Strickler, David Fagin has been working as an officer for the City of Edina more frequently because part-time Edina Police Officer Jeanette Randall recently resigned her position at the department and those hours had to be filled.

“One thing we forget to remember about (Deputy/Officer) David (Fagin) is how young he is and that he’s still learning,” said Mayor Strickler. “He hasn’t committed anything criminal.”

According to Mayor Strickler it is not known whether disciplinary actions will be taken against Deputy/Officer Fagin by the City of Edina for possible misconduct in allegedly allowing Kinman to approach the students during his traffic stop.

“We’re still investigating,” said Mayor Strickler.

Concerning Knox County Sheriff Mike Kite’s apparent failure to advertise the part-time dispatcher position filled by Deputy Fagin’s cousin’s girlfriend, Klataske, Knox County Presiding Commissioner Evan Glasgow said, “It should have been advertised. It’s a county policy to advertise. We’re going to have to talk to a lawyer and see what we can do. (Sheriff) Mike (Kite) is notorious for hiring without advertising.”

The Knox County Prosecutor’s Office has responded to the report filed by MSHP concerning the August 15 and 18, 2012 incidents by filing ten charges against Taylor Kinman.

According to court documents, Kinman is facing four charges of Assault in the Third Degree for allegedly, “recklessly engaging in conduct which created grave risk of serious physical injury to another person by driving (his) vehicle on the wrong side of the street at a high rate of speed and head-on toward the vehicle (in which the four students were riding in) in an attempt to unlawfully stop the vehicle.”

Four charges of Harassment have been filed against Kinman for allegedly telling the students he would, “take their heads off,” on August 15, 2012.

Two additional charges of Harassment have been filed against Kinman for allegedly calling two of the students a vulgar name at their place of work on August 18, 2012.

It is important to state that Edina Police Chief Roger Waibel, Knox County Sheriff Mike Kite and Deputy/Officer David Fagin declined to comment for this story in the earliest stages of its conception, before all of the information was completely uncovered. It is hoped by The Edina Sentinel they will choose to issue statements concerning these matters that we may release to the public.

About Mike Scott

Publisher of The Media, The Edina Sentinel and Nemonews.net Dedicated to community newspapers, and watching and reporting on local government and how local government spends YOUR tax dollars. If we don't, who will?

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