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:

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Attorney General’s office announced Friday it is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for gross negligence and tortious acts during the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy in 2016.The state has…

The 45th Annual Downtown Fargo Street Fair has been making efforts to increase the number of local vendors. The Local Block will be located at the north end of the 300 block on Broadway, near the Fargo Theatre.The High Plains…

Thursday, July 26 at 5 p.m.-midnightFargo Brewing Company, 610 N University, FargoHip hop artist, community activist, and member of Rhymesayers, Brother Ali will appear with Nooky Jones at The Fargo Brewing Company. Nooky Jones was…

With all of the excitement surrounding the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana, why aren’t we discussing the possibilities of industrial hemp? You might not catch a buzz from it but there’s all kinds of other…

“Hi Ho, Hi Ho! It’s Off To Work We Go!”How many undocumented workers are in the United States? Estimates range from 11 to 25 million. We need some history to understand why our immigration laws are in such a mess. The most…

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

​Food truck fever

by HPR Contributor

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comHave you all been to Taco Brothers Taco Truck yet? Or how about Poke Bowl Food Truck? Have you tried the Walleye Wrap at Chef Mobile? There may have been a few mobile food establishments in decades…

We had a chance to chat with Duluth native Gaelynn Lea at Winnipeg Folk Festival. Not only did she tell us how she developed her sound she told us about her experience winning the NPR Tiny Desk Concert and the trials and…

Boots Riley hallucinates a wildly funny feature debut with “Sorry to Bother You,” a sharp-fanged social satire that mashes up the innovative handmade aesthetics of Michel Gondry with the fierce truth-to-power consciousness of…

Arts

Dan Mihuta: The Art Maker

by HPR Contributor

By Rod Hadland rodanthonyhadland@gmail.comThe name Mr. Mihuta may not be familiar, but for most of my life, I’ve known that name. There was a television show where Mr. Mihuta taught art projects, in various mediums, that I…

Theatre

Xanadu: The Musical

by HPR Contributor

By Tayler Klimektklimek@cord.eduGet ready to dive into a world full of demi-gods, mythological creatures, and plenty of disco balls when you see Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater’s exciting first show of its 72nd season:…

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…

Once a year, fans of beer in the FM area have access to what their heart desires... bragging rights. The Rare Beer Picnic grants beer aficionados the ability to taste whatever their heart desires from their favorite beer…

Best Local CelebrityCarson WentzBest Stylist / BarberJed Felix, Everett’s BarbershopBest Salon / Barber ShopEverett’s BarbershopBest Tattoo Parlor46 & 2 TattooBest Tattoo ArtistMeg Felix, No Coast TattooBest Gift ShopZandbroz…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu Recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.- The United Nations…