|News Media Update||MINNESOTA||Newsgathering|
Restraining order against TV producer dropped
- A district court judge in Minnesota denied the city of Maplewood’s request for a permanent injunction against a former community access cable television producer.
July 7, 2004 — A county judge for the Second District Court in St. Paul, Minn., denied the city of Maplewood’s request last week for a permanent restraining order against a former community access cable television producer.
The June 30 decision vacated a temporary injunction against Kevin Berglund stemming from allegations of “abusive” and “harassing” behavior toward city employees. That restraining order was “not justified by the evidence,” Judge Michael Fetsch wrote, citing “little, if any documentation by the city of any misconduct of Berglund’s part.”
The original restraining order, signed in September 2003, barred Berglund from speaking to nearly all Maplewood city employees, their families or friends. The order was reduced in February 2003 to four female staffers.
Berglund covered many city events, video camera in-hand, for his local community access cable television show, “Inside Insight,” a public affairs program. According to city employees’ testimony, Berglund would also “repeatedly call, harass and confront them at City Council meetings.”
Fetsch found that Berglund was “at times offensive,” but “has never been intimidating, threatening or assaultive.”
“Granted, Berglund made more inquiries, more insistently, more argumentatively, and less politely than most,” Fetsch wrote. “However, the First Amendment is not dependent on any of those qualities.”
Bob Zick, host of “Inside Insight,” told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Berglund had left the program last year to avoid violating the order, but was planning to resume his duties.
This was not the first time Berglund has overcome run-ins with city employees. In 1999, Berglund was arrested after trying to get into a party held in honor of outgoing Maplewood city council members. A jury later found him not guilty of assault, disorderly conduct and trespassing. A countersuit he filed alleging civil rights violations was dismissed.
(City of Maplewood vs. Kevin Berglund; Media Counsel: Jill Clark, Golden Valley) — AV
© 2004 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press