32 cases to be dismissed after an Eden Prairie police officer is accused of lying about a search warrant

Case involving Travis Serafin has been referred to McLoud Co. for possible charges

Sloane Martin
October 12, 2018 - 11:36 am
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More than two dozen cases could be dismissed due to what the Hennepin County Attorney's Office identified as misconduct by an Eden Prairie Police Officer.

The issue stems from a drug investigation in September 2017 and the subsequent guilty plea from the defendant. The judge in the case was concerned about the testimony from Officer Travis Serafin because it "did not make sense." The officer claimed that there was a "clerical error," or a glitch of some kind, and the judge was troubled by that testimony," Hennepin County Attorney Chief deputy David Brown said.

The judge sent a letter to the Eden Prairie Police Department to kickstart an internal investigation alleging Serrafin lied about the search warrant.

"Later examination of the detective's computer showed that a week after the search warrant for only the house was signed," Brown said. "A separate document — a new front page was apparently attached to the copy of the original warrant. Clearly the original search warrant did not allow the search of the car and anything taken from the car was illegally obtained."

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office is allowing defense attorneys to file a motion to dismiss in 32 cases in which Serafin was a critical witness.  In three of those cases, the defendants were sent to prison, and will now be set free. 

Brown says it's believed no other law enforcement officer was involved but called the case "inexcusable."

"It's devastating. I've been a prosecutor in Hennepin County for over 30 years. I've never seen anything like this," he said. "Our trust, the trust of our law enforcement officers who just exceptional work, the trust of the prosecutors is everything. When something like this happens, as part of our initiative and doing the right thing, we know our obligation is to take steps as soon as we can to right that wrong."

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office has sent this case to McLeod County for possible criminal charges against Serafin.

In a statement, Eden Prairie Police says an administrative investigation is underway. This is the entire statement:

"The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has released information concerning an Eden Prairie Police Officer. For further information, contact the County Attorney’s office.

As a result of receiving the information released by the Hennepin County Attorney, and in accordance with Eden Prairie Police Department procedures, an administrative investigation is underway.

Pursuant to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, no further information regarding this active investigation is available at this time.

The Eden Prairie Police Department holds officers to extremely high ethical standards. The Department also affords officers time for due process if their actions are called into question.

Although it is difficult for me not to provide further comment on an issue involving the Eden Prairie Police Department, it is important for our organization to follow appropriate protocol."

Serafin was named the department's Officer of the Year in 2011.