Among errors in search warrant affidavits was the conjecture that boxes delivered to Mike Whalen's house contained weapons, when the contents were pamphlets.
Search warrant affidavits made public Monday imply that longtime St. Paul activist Mike Whalen supported international terrorism, had boxes of weapons delivered to his home, advocated violence during the Republican National Convention and fled police in a rented Chevy.
That's all a bunch of hooey, Whalen said Monday.
On Aug. 30, as they waited for a search warrant to be granted, St. Paul police circled the side-by-side duplex at 949-951 Iglehart Av. that Whalen has owned and lived in since 1977. Several residents and visitors who went out to confront police were detained.
When the warrant arrived about 3 p.m., Whalen and about a dozen others -- including members of I-Witness Video who were in town for the convention and were staying in one of the duplex's units -- were handcuffed, patted down and taken to the back yard.
Nothing was seized by police, and no one was arrested there.
The affidavits, which laid out the probable cause that police had to search the Iglehart addresses, somehow ended up at the Ramsey County attorney's office instead of the County Courthouse and didn't turn up until Monday.
The documents said police learned that Whalen, 60, "was previously under investigation during the 1990s due to a suspicion that he was supporting international terrorism."
Whalen said he has been involved in Irish solidarity groups and has brought speakers to the Twin Cities -- including mothers whose children have been killed by plastic bullets -- to talk about the violence in Northern Ireland.
The affidavits said Whalen owns the Arise bookstore at 2441 Lyndale Av. S. in Minneapolis and there are "postings in plain view" in the store and on the website "that are clear calls for action for unlawful activities including violence to law enforcement and destruction of property."
Whalen said he owns the building the bookstore occupies but he is selling it to the cooperatively owned store. "I'm not sure of that," he said of the postings. "I know they do have a bulletin board, a community space where virtually anybody can put anything up.
"I doubt they would have anything that would advocate violence, but I'm not sure."
The affidavits also noted that 21 packages were delivered to Whalen's home Aug. 30 and that an FBI agent learned "from a reliable source that the packages contained weapons that were intended to be used during the RNC."
Packages like that, Whalen said, are delivered to his house every month. They contain literature on veganism and vegetarianism that his housemate distributes on college campuses.
And that's just what police found when they opened those boxes, said police spokesman Peter Panos.
As for the claim in the affidavits that he left his house and fled police in a rented black Chevy Cobalt, Whalen is flummoxed.
"Noooo," he said. "I was never in a car. I was in my house, afraid to leave my house."
Whalen said he drove his red pickup truck to a Ralph Nader meeting in Minneapolis that morning and stopped at a garage sale on the way back, though.
Whalen has been known as a social activist for decades. He has taught Irish dancing for 35 years, including to members of Mayor Chris Coleman's family, and has been a waiter at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Minneapolis for 30 years.
He thinks police were after the members of I-Witness Video, a New York-based group that films protest activity and uses the footage to verify or disprove police claims about protesters' conduct.
Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551