Regarding the incident that has grabbed the attention of reporters on yesterday’s Minnesota Department of Health press briefing — I wrote noted it here this morning — the mayor of Eitzen has released the following statement:
The City of Eitzen in no way supports racism or violence. We are shocked by the accusations made in news reports released today, and saddened to hear our city is being slandered. We would like to retell the actual events that occurred in Eitzen on September 15:
In the early evening of September 15, a concerned citizen notified a city official of three people driving an unmarked vehicle with California state license plates. The team of people were going door to door claiming to be conducting a covid-19 survey and tests. The city was not notified prior to the team’s arrival, and we felt there was a need to follow up on the situation. A city official and two other residents met the covid-19 team to verify their identification. Two vehicles driven by the city official and residents were parked on either side of the Covid-19 team’s vehicle, but it was never blocked. The city official asked the Covid-19 team for identification, which was presented. Out of an abundance of caution, the Houston County Sheriff’s Department was also contacted to verify the team’s presence in the city. The Sheriff’s department did state that the vehicle was supposed to be marked, but they confirmed the team was part of the Department of Health. After properly identifying the team, they were left to continue conducting their research within the city. We would like to make it clear there was never a gun or any weapon present and no threats or aggressive behavior occurred during the interaction between the city members and the covid-19 team. We can only assume that the team misinterpreted a large fire department communication radio in a holster for a firearm.
The safety and welfare of our citizens is our number one priority. We strive to quickly respond to any situation where citizens feel there is reason for concern. In a very small town where everyone knows everyone, a group of unfamiliar people with out of state plates is unusual, and to some residents is cause for concern. This situation was handled professionally, courteously, and unbiased with no racial slurs, threats or inappropriate comments made. We have and will continue to be open and honest with law enforcement agencies investigating this situation. The only contact made to law enforcement during the alleged confrontation was made by the city official while the covid-19 team was present.
Jeffrey Adamson, Eitzen City Mayor
Although it is referred to in the Star Tribune story I linked in my post, it is not quoted or linked. I found the statement posted here in its entirety. It constitutes a denial of the incident as recounted by MDH in every relevant respect and seems to me an important addition to the record of yesterday’s briefing.