EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff doubles down on viral comments blasting Minnesota’s DFL leadership 

Sheriff Scott Knudson said the law enforcement community is under attack "with little to no support from people in high-level positions."

St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson talks with Alpha News reporter Liz Collin. (Alpha News)

After a shooting took the lives of three Burnsville first responders, a Wisconsin sheriff blasted Minnesota’s DFL leadership. His message went viral and now St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson is speaking exclusively to Alpha News about those comments.

Sheriff Knudson posted the 14-minute video to the agency’s Facebook page a week after Burnsville police officers Paul Elmstrand, Matthew Ruge and firefighter paramedic Adam Finseth were murdered.

In it, Knudson took aim at Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who participated in a press conference the day the first responders were killed.

“My emotion from really our event on May 6 of last year when [St. Croix County Deputy Kaitie Leising] was killed was starting to bubble up. Now, as we know, the last four years have been beyond difficult in so many different arenas for law enforcement … and some of the most impactful and what I felt damaging comments during that time were from Gov. Walz … his comments right after painted us to be racist and killers,” Sheriff Knudson told Alpha News.

Deputy Kaitie Leising/Wisconsin Department of Justice

“Did it seem disingenuous to me that now, next to our coffins, several politicians step up and say, ‘Our condolences, we need to honor you’? You either don’t like us and support us or you do. You’ve already made it clear that you don’t … the Minnesota law enforcement community was silently screaming in their heads for years, these concerns,” he added.

Sources have told Alpha News that some law enforcement families did not want Walz at a public memorial service that was held for the fallen Burnsville officers and fire medic, but he ultimately showed up.

Alpha News asked Gov. Walz for a response to Sheriff Knudson’s public comments but did not receive a reply. The sheriff also said he has heard nothing in return.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty held an expungement clinic for felons on the day of the public memorial service.

“The timing of it seemed very in our face, very unfortunate. A slap to the families,” Sheriff Knudson said.

“For Mary to do that, when a felon had just murdered these three, is kind of mind blowing to me, very tone deaf,” he added.

He said it’s impossible not to care about what’s happening across the border in Minnesota because of who killed Deputy Leising in his own department in May of last year.

“He was a sex offender (coming from Minnesota), had a firearm, a serial number scratched off the firearm,” Knudson said of the felon, who killed himself after shooting Leising.

“With a criminal element that’s not held to account … it seems the criminals’ rights are more important than the victims’ rights,” Sheriff Knudson said.

At least eight first responders have been killed in the line of duty in the region in the last year.

“Whether people like it or not, like us or not, we are an important part of our society. We are the weave that holds society together. When you start killing these peacemakers, those that take the drunk drivers off the road, those that break up the domestics, those that investigate the homicides, those that catch the child predators, when you start killing those people that are trying to stop that, you’re damaging the fabric of society,” Knudson said.

A squad car parked outside Burnsville city hall is barely visible underneath a pile of flowers. (Hayley Feland/Alpha News)

“Our society, our fabric is getting torn apart and with little to no support from people in high-level positions and those were the four that I wanted to point out.

“Some will ask why I’m on this platform. I will say that there were several other media outlets that during the weeks that followed, I attempted to get this message out. I shared my views. I shared my views towards Walz, Moriarty, Keith Ellison, and Ilhan Omar. All of them can kick rocks. Those four can kick rocks. I tried to get this out before, nobody wanted it, nobody would touch it.”



Liz Collin

Liz Collin has been a truth-teller for 20 years as a multi-Emmy-Award-winning reporter and anchor. Liz is a Worthington, Minnesota native who lives in the suburbs with her husband, son and loyal lab.