The St. Paul, Minn. city attorney will not press charges against Tom Hackbarth, a Republican state representative who was handcuffed by police last month after they found him lurking outside a Planned Parenthood with a gun strapped to his hip.
Hackbarth had told police that he didn’t even know he was in the parking lot of a Planned Parenthood. Instead, he said, he was looking for a woman he had been on a few dates with who lived in the area and who, he said, had blown him off on a date that night.“She gave me some line of baloney, and I thought, ‘well, she’s fibbing to me.’ You could tell, and I thought, ‘well, I’m going to check it out.’ and I went there to see if she was around and her vehicle was not there. And I was just checking on her,” he said at the time. He also had maps and extra ammo in his truck.
Police didn’t arrest him and they returned his gun, which he had a permit for, a few days later. They did, however, try to track down the woman Hackbarth said he was looking for.
But they couldn’t find her. He had no phone number or address for the woman, who he said he met through an online dating site. Then, police say, an anonymous tipster called and said the woman Hackbarth was looking for was a different person altogether.
Police were able to track down that woman. She acknowledged she knows Hackbarth, but said she didn’t know why he’d be in the area that day and declined to press any charges. One local news station reported that the woman works for the state department of agriculture.
Police then turned over the case to the city attorney.
“He tells us one thing, the caller tells us something else,” a police spokesperson said at the time. “We have no evidence to suggest one way or another. We feel we have the responsibility to do our due diligence and turn the case over to the city attorney’s office.”
Yesterday, the city attorney announced there will be no charges filed.
“It’s extremely disappointing that he was less than clear with the St. Paul Police Department,” said the attorney, Sara Grewing. “But as far as his actions, they don’t rise to the level of a crime we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Grewing was not immediately available for further comment.
Hackbarth, a 16-year veteran of the Minnesota state house, resigned a committee chairmanship after the incident.
Hackbarth says he is in the process of divorcing his wife.
Late update: Grewing, the city attorney, tells TPM a little more about why she can’t press charges.
Providing false information to police? That only works if you provide false information about your own identity. In any case, it’s still unclear whether Hackbarth made up a woman’s name or whether he was telling the truth.
Obstruction of legal process? That needs an element of physical obstruction. Hackbarth cooperated with police.
Harassment and stalking? There’s no victim. Grewing said the woman they spoke to said she had no fear of Hackbarth and didn’t want to press charges.