Robbinsdale police chief resigns after prostitution sting arrest - KMSP-TV

Robbinsdale police chief resigns after prostitution sting arrest

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ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (KMSP) -

Robbinsdale Police Chief Steven Smith resigned his post over the weekend, more than one month after being arrested Feb. 20 in a Coon Rapids prostitution sting.

The successful sting resulted in the arrest of approximately 10 suspects, including Smith, Coon Rapids police said. All were detained and issued citations for hiring and or engaging in prostitution.

According to Robbinsdale Mayor Regan Murphy, the news came as a complete shock to him.

"I, like you, am also curious," said Murphy. "I just learned of the date today. I do know he did a lot for the city and his record speaks for that. That's why we were caught off guard."

No information regarding Smith's affiliation with law enforcement was given at the time of arrest. The City of Robbinsdale confirmed Saturday night that his resignation was accepted by City Manager Marcia Glick. Captain Jim Franzen has been appointed acting Chief.

Yet, the fact that Smith quietly held his post for more than a month despite the arrest has one of the state's primary combatants of prostitution and sex trafficking speaking out.

"To hide his acts -- it just goes to show that there's a different standard when it comes to men who purchase women," Vendita Carter, founder of Breaking Free, told Fox 9 News.

To Carter, prostitution and sex trafficking are one in the same.

"It's about buying and selling human beings, and we shouldn't," she said.

Yet, defense attorney Marsh Halberg, who has represented johns in the past, points out that prostitution and sex trafficking are distinctly defined charges under Minnesota law.

"It's everybody from your blue-collar worker to your professional and everybody in between," he said. "Most of our clients that come in with this are patrons that are being charged for having solicited a prostitute. Their main concern isn't necessarily jail time, it's 'how do I deal with the Internet? All the news that's going to come out of this?'"

To Halberg, it's no surprise that a month elapsed before Smith's arrest was exposed, but he does agree with her contention that a policy should be in place for officials to report if they've been arrested on misdemeanor charges.

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