Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Mayor calls for leniency

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | March 30th, 2018

Zebadiah Gartner participating in murdered and missing Indigenous women march - photograph by C.S. HagenFARGO – So far, an extra sample boneless Buffalo Wing at Cashwise Foods has cost Zebadiah Gartner $500 in fines and court fees, a $54 ticket to Montana, and two nights at the Cass County Jail.

Gartner, 21, an Anishinaabe, doesn’t remember any signs limiting how many sample pieces he could eat at Cashwise Foods in January 2017. He does, however, remember an undercover shopper following him around the store.

“Yeah he was following,” Gartner said. He believes he was profiled. “I honestly laughed when I got stopped because I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ I remember seeing him in a different aisle and was wondering why he kept being in the same aisle as he had absolutely random stuff in his basket.

“I have a eye for that stuff.”

He watches because that’s what Native people are accustomed to, he said.

“This happens to my people for years and with me it comes to the light,” Gartner said. “I wonder how I can help the people further to stop it, not just for me. I have a lot of mental confusion on why I'm in this position.”

Many customers partake of sample foods at grocery stores; it’s a prime method for companies to self promote sales, few, if any, however are arrested for taking an extra sample. Some customers say they go back for seconds or thirds. Others say they sometimes save money on the grocery bill and store hop to escape spending money on dinner.

When Gartner took the extra piece of chicken a year ago an undercover shopper approached him, he said, and told him customers could only have one piece. He threw the extra piece away, and was later charged with theft. He pled guilty in February 2017, after he was taken from an Indigenous ceremony at Fargo’s only sweat lodge in an unrelated incident, and a year later, fines unpaid, was arrested again at the Fargo Amtrak Train Station at 2 a.m. by Fargo Police. He was preparing to travel to Montana for another Indigenous ceremony.

The day after Municipal Court Judge Stephen Dawson attempted to sentence Gartner to 10 days in jail for failing to pay the fine, Mayor Tim Mahoney said the city is stepping into the situation.

“Our attorneys are going to talk to the judge on Monday, and we’re going to try to get something different [to] happen,” Mahoney said. “I can’t say how it will come down because it is the judge who has to make a decision. I talked to Erik Johnson [Fargo City Attorney], and he’s going to talk to the judge and see what we can do.”

Mahoney thought the piece of chicken charge was solved after the sweat lodge incident. Since that time, Fargo Police have undergone cultural sensitivity training, and the Native American Commission is working on improving the area where the sweat lodge is located.

Mahoney also contacted corporate Cashwise Foods management, who said they do not want to press charges.

“I said, hey, from your article, ‘It’s over a piece of chicken,’” Mahoney said. “And they said ‘No, no, we don’t really want to do that, we’d be happy to see what we can do for this young man.’”

During the past year, Gartner can be frequently spotted in marches, and Indigenous rallies, playing the drum and singing traditional songs.

“We feel bad about it, and in my mind, he’s on a religious journey right now, he’s trying to do sweat lodges and he’s trying to help people,” Mahoney said.

Gartner’s possible sentence far outweighs his crime, Mahoney said.

“The additional $400, there are outside people who think this is too high for this kid,” Mahoney said. The city plans to ask the judge that “If he minds himself for the next six months, could you do a much less sentence or fine.”

Excluding a driving without insurance charge from 2015, Gartner has no other convictions on his criminal record.

The situation Gartner finds himself in now, after failing to pay fines and court fees, is a “vicious cycle” that keeps bringing in the same people, over and over again, Mahoney said.

“You get into jail, you can’t pay the fine, and you’re kind of screwed and you just can’t get out of that circle,” Mahoney said. “We’re trying to get people so that they’re not always trapped.”

The repetitious circle increases overall costs, Mahoney said, who also said he is a proponent of judicial reform.

“The F5 Project helps people into a job and moving forward, but there needs to be a discussion about is there a better way of doing criminal justice.”

Mahoney plans to start a conversation soon about judicial reform: what are the best methods for helping people, how to start bringing costs down, and how to keep lawbreakers behind bars who are habitual criminals.

“What we get tired of is this merry-go-round, it’s the same merry-go-round we see them in the system over and over again, and is there anything we can do to break that cycle,” Mahoney said.

“The other issue we’re having is the early release from jail, people are released and what do they do? They go back to crime,” Mahoney said. “If we don’t offer them a different choice… the stats from the police department are people are released and what do they do? They go back to crime. It’s a vicious circle.”

Gartner is bewildered by the disruption an extra boneless Buffalo Wing has caused.

“You know, I don't know how I feel,” Gartner said. “Really, man, it feels unreal.”

Recently in:

FARGO – The day Tiffany Abentroth stood up before a thousand and more Trump-loving Republicans, she knew the GOP blessing was not within reach. She wasn’t even nervous about it. Still a Marine Corps staff sergeant, she squared…

Last week we talked about my lack of photographic skills and then what the heck am I going to do with all of these bad pictures that I take. Storage options for those pictures continues this week:RAIDAnother storage option is a…

Wednesday, April 25, 9pm-howlingThe Aquarium, 226 Broadway, FargoYou may have heard their sick beats on 95.9 lpfm on Friday's from 5pm-midnight. Now you can dance your pants off in the presence of the minds behind ”The Riverside…

According to Greek mythology Hades is to blame for the Earth’s mournful state of winter. The story involves Persephone the goddess of nature and Hades the god of the underworld in a classic caper of obsession, abduction, and…

Does That Old-Time Religion Signal The End Of Rational Thought?An incident about gender identity in the Maryland Legislature last week magnified a microcosm of what we are going through in the United States about religion in the…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

All About Food

​Oysters

by HPR Staff

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comAs a North Dakota native, raw oysters are just not a food staple that I think about. We are about as far from the coasts as we can get and we have a backyard full of tasty local cuisine, like walleye…

Record Store Day is all about music artists and fans celebrating “the culture of the independently owned record store.” A variety of unique and special releases are pressed for Record Store Day and those are only distributed to…

Leveraging whatever name-brand clout it might carry with the target demographic, “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” -- the onscreen title for the pre and post-credit sequences -- won’t make the kind of impact previously enjoyed by…

There are so many cool places to be in Austin during the South by Southwest Festival -- like the Flatstock Market, which displays the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show features posters of varying styles,…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about…

A few months ago, I was introduced to the concept of probiotics and how they work with our bodies. I would never have guessed the change that occurred after their introduction into my system.I always considered myself a fairly…

By Melissa Martin melissamartincounselor@live.com “I’m sorry” are two vital words to be used in relationships because human beings are imperfect people living in imperfect environments. Ask yourself the following…

Calm was the day in late JulyAnd bright was the sun across the skyBut inside his chest the calm had brokenGovernor Sinner had started croakin’.I laughed the first time I read that, and I’m still laughing every time I think…