NATIONAL NEWS

Minnesota state senator arrested on suspicion of burglary

Apr 22, 2024, 3:33 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A state senator and former broadcast meteorologist was arrested on suspicion of burglary early Monday in the northwestern Minnesota city of Detroit Lakes, police said.

Democratic Sen. Nicole Mitchell, 49, of Woodbury, was being held in the Becker County Jail on suspicion of first-degree burglary. Formal charges were still pending Monday afternoon, Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steve Todd said.

Mitchell did not immediately return a call left on the jail’s voicemail system for inmates. It’s not clear if she has an attorney who could comment on her behalf. The police chief said he didn’t know of one.

Mitchell was arrested while the Senate is on its Passover break. Her arrest comes at an awkward time for Senate Democrats, who hold just a one-seat majority with four weeks left in the legislative session. Her absence would make it difficult to pass any legislation that lacks bipartisan support.

Mitchell worked as a meteorologist with the U.S. military and for KSTP-TV and Minnesota Public Radio before she was elected to the Senate in 2022 from a suburban St. Paul district. She still serves as lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, commanding a weather unit, her official profile says. She worked for The Weather Channel earlier in her career, her profile says.

Dispatchers received a 911 call at 4:45 a.m. from a homeowner about “an active burglary in process at her residence,” Todd said in an interview. Officers searched the home and arrested Mitchell, Todd said.

The police chief said he could provide few other details because the case was still under investigation. He said he was waiting to hear back from the county attorney’s office, and that a complaint detailing the allegations might not get filed until Tuesday.

Becker County Attorney Brian McDonald did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the case.

An obituary posted by a Detroit Lakes funeral home shows that Mitchell’s father, who died last month, and stepmother lived on the same block of the same road in Detroit Lakes as where the senator was arrested. The stepmother did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Mitchell’s arrest took Senate leaders by surprise. The Senate Democratic Caucus said in a statement that it’s “aware of the situation and has no comment pending further information.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Johnson, of East Grand Forks, said he was shocked but knew very few details.

“The public expects Legislators to meet a high standard of conduct,” Johnson said in a statement. “As information comes out, we expect the consequences to meet the actions, both in the court of law, and in her role at the legislature.”

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Minnesota state senator arrested on suspicion of burglary