A U.S. magistrate judge on Monday ordered a former Minneapolis police officer, accused of stealing drugs from defendants, released from jail after he was arrested last week for violating pretrial conditions that allowed him to remain free pending trial.
A federal prosecutor asked Magistrate Kate Menendez to revoke Ty Jindra's $25,000 bond, saying he had sent a threatening text message to a Minneapolis police sergeant who might be called as a witness in Jindra's upcoming criminal trial.
Menendez said Jindra had violated his pretrial conditions — "I think this shows incredibly bad judgment," she said — but ordered him released, noting that the conditions about contacting witnesses were somewhat ambiguous.
The magistrate appeared to be persuaded by defense attorney Peter Wold's argument that Jindra was angry at the sergeant for reasons unrelated to the specific charges against him.
While Menendez did not say so explicitly, it appeared likely she would draft an order barring Jindra from contacting any Minneapolis officers without first obtaining permission from prosecutors. In the meantime, he will be barred from contacting any officer.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jones did not raise objections to Menendez's decision.
Jindra, who was jailed last Friday, appeared in the virtual hearing in a jail jumpsuit. Wold did most of the talking, with Jindra speaking only briefly, answering, "Yes, your honor," to questions from Menendez.
Jindra, 28, was indicted Nov. 5 on 11 counts alleging that he abused his position as a police officer to steal methamphetamine, heroin, oxycodone and other drugs for personal use during the course of his duties.
From September 2017 to October 2019, he allegedly ran a scheme to steal drugs that were seized during arrests. In one case, he reportedly stole heroin and meth from the scene of an overdose call.
Jones said that Jindra sent a text message to a Minneapolis police sergeant that read: "slander, Karma's the thing coming for you I guess," adding, "see you soon buddy." He also wrote the sergeant that he was "scaring off partners into talking to me."
Jones said it could constitute obstruction of justice and "appears to be a veiled threat of some sort." Jindra was jailed after the sergeant disclosed the text to authorities.
The police sergeant, who was not named, was at the scene of one of the incidents on which Jindra is charged and was a potential witness.
Wold said that Jindra had sent the message not to intimidate a witness, but because a bank had notified him that he could no longer do business there. He thought the sergeant might have played a role in the bank's decision and "slandered" him, Wold said.
He said Jindra also was upset that some of his old friends in the Police Department hadn't reached out to him after his name was in the newspaper. "He thought he'd been blackballed," Wold said.
Wold said, and Jones confirmed, that Jindra had not violated any other conditions on his bond since the indictment. He has passed all alcohol and drug tests and has seen a psychiatrist weekly.
Randy Furst • 612-673-4224