Accusations fly after MN sheriff, ex-FBI agent scuffle in Reno

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek official portrait.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek official portrait.(KOLO)
Published: Aug. 12, 2017 at 4:09 PM PDT
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A Minnesota sheriff has been granted a restraining order in Minnesota against an ex-FBI agent he said attacked him at a sheriff’s conference at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno in June 2017.

Washoe County District Attorney’s Office public information officer Michelle Bays confirmed the office has received a citation against John Guandolo of Dallas for misdemeanor battery but said the office has not made a decision on prosecution.

The blog Imagine2050 brought the incident to light after it obtained a copy of a sealed restraining order granted against Guandolo for Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek. It was filed in Hennepin County, Minn., on July 16.

Stanek spoke at the National Sheriff’s Office national conference in Reno on June 28. In the restraining order request, he wrote that he agreed to meet with Guandolo to discuss an article on Guandolo’s Understanding the Threat website in which Guandolo accused the sheriff of refusing to address a growing jihadi threat in Minnesota, among other criticisms.

During the meeting, Stanek said he questioned the accuracy of the article. Guandolo accused Stanek of supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Stanek said he stood up and said the meeting was over after Guandolo called him an obscenity, the restraining order application said.

Guandolo stood up and went chest-to-chest with Stanek and then shoved him into a wall, the restraining order application said. Stanek wrote that he grabbed Guandolo’s necktie and locked his arm in self defense and Guandolo then threw two punches at Stanek, hitting him once on the left side of his face.

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded and separated the two and they got surveillance video that shows Guandolo striking Stanek, the restraining order application said.

Although the Atlantis is within the Reno city limits, Washoe sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon said his office investigated the case because it was providing security for the conference. Harmon said he had no other information on the specifics of the case.

John Andrews, national board chairman for Understanding the Threat, spoke via telephone on Guandolo’s behalf and said Guandolo will be vindicated. The video and audio recordings will show that Stanek initiated the violence and Guandolo acted in self defense, Andrews said. Guandolo refused to remove an article that was critical of Stanek and that’s what provoked the confrontation, Andrews said.

“It’s one of those situations of who started the fight and who acted in self defense,” Andrews said.

Andrews said Guandolo did not know about the restraining order until the news media reported on it. He has never been served with it.

Andrews said Guandolo filed a report with the Reno Police Department alleging an assault by Stanek. Reno Police Department Lt. Scott Shaw confirmed there had been a report filed online but was not able to say Saturday if the case had been referred for possible prosecution. The Hennepin sheriff’s office said Stanek is not facing a criminal charge.

“The whole thing appears to have been a setup instigated by Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers to impede UTT’s growing national influence as a truth-teller against jihad and sharia in the US homeland,” Andrews said in a statement. “But I guarantee you, UTT will not be silenced by lawless intimidation of this kind.”

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office from Minnesota released this statement:

On June 28, 2017, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek was physically assaulted while attending the National Sheriffs’ Association Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada. John Guandolo, of Dallas Texas, was cited for battery. Guandolo was presenting at the conference on behalf of the “Understanding the Threat” organization.

The Hennepin County District Court has issued a Harassment Restraining Order against Guandolo. The criminal investigation is being conducted by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Stanek serves as the 2nd Vice President of the National Sheriffs’ Association and Chair of the Homeland Security Committee.

Statement from Understanding the Threat on behalf of John Guandolo

Shockingly, UTT President John Guandolo was assaulted by Sheriff Rich Stanek of Hennepin County MN during a law enforcement conference at a Reno hotel earlier this summer. The sheriff physically roughed up Mr. Guandolo after his demands for removal of critical comments from the UTT website were declined.

Charges and counter-charges by both men stemming from the June 28 incident are pending in the Nevada courts. The National Sheriffs’ Association, host of the Reno conference, responded with a defamatory letter about Mr. Guandolo, but quickly retracted it on the advice of legal counsel.

We are confident John Guandolo will be fully vindicated, and that Sheriff Stanek’s unprofessional conduct will be condemned, when this matter is adjudicated.

The whole thing appears to have been a setup instigated by Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers to impede UTT’s growing national influence as a truth-teller against jihad and sharia in the US homeland. But I guarantee you, UTT will not be silenced by lawless intimidation of this kind.