MNPD officer Matthew Bajt, who resigned on June 19th, 2018, in the midst of an investigation of his use and manufacture of drugs, was a racist police officer. This writer is comfortable printing that statement, because MNPD’s Office of Professional Accountability was able to view text messages (below) that Bajt sent to his paramour that could be described no other way than blatantly racist. The department also has statements from his out-of-marriage lover, confirming additional racial statements made by Bajt.
MNPD administration was either unaware, or did not document, any signs of racism or any abnormal activity in his personnel file, other than his propensity to use curse words in his interactions with citizens, which was the majority of his complaints contained in the file, which we obtained and reviewed last week. Despite the fact that he had been on the force over 6 years and he shared a home with another officer as a roommate for a period of time, no one seemed to notice his behavior, or it was kept quiet. We spoke with an officer that knew him for the past 18 months, and they confirmed the statement of his paramour, and that Bajt often seemed ‘not present’ even when standing in front of you.
The entire investigation began in January of 2018, when Crimes Stoppers received a tip about Officer Matthew Bajt, about videos of him growing and using illegal mushrooms to use to get high. He didn’t resign until June, over six months later.
During the drug investigation, it was learned that officer Bajt was having an affair with a woman for nearly two years, and she spoke with detectives after they tracked her down during the drug investigation. (In the June 2017 MNPD employee newsletter, Chief Anderson congratulated officer Bajt & his wife on the birth of their son). After photos were sent to the department via Crime Stoppers of his drug manufacture and use, he was placed in what he called ‘the bubble’, which appears to be a restricted duty assignment. Here’s how he described why he was there:
“I am in the bubble because I am a racist asshole.”
His paramour says that Bajt “definitely hates black people”, “he is a racist”, and she presented a text message history between here and Bajt from the last year to prove it. A text from October 15th, 2017, reads:
“omg so many ni***rs wtf its like a zoo here wait those animals at the zoo are behaved”
Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) investigators determined that Bajt was on shift working as an MNPD officer at the time the above message was sent.
In fact, the interview with his paramour revealed many new accusations of Bajt – so bad that he was willing to give up his ability to ever be a police officer again rather than answer to the charges. Here is the text notes from the interview:
The complaint was filed in January of 2018, and Officer Bajt says that someone named ‘Rhonda’ gave him a heads up that the department had received videos of him with the mushrooms while in uniform. There’s only one Rhonda in his precinct, and that is an administrative assistant, who would have had access to the information. We were able to confirm Monday morning with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office in Woodstock, IL, that Officer Matthew Bajt had applied and been placed on their eligibility roster for patrol deputies in May of 2018, but had not yet began the training/hiring process, and wasn’t a current employee at this time. Upon his resignation, MNPD has request the POST commission remove his certification so he could not longer be a police officer in Tennessee in the future.
Bajt’s Neighborhood Policing
The people the neighborhood he patrolled appeared to have knowledge of Bajt ‘s racism, one of them telling him during an arrest report, that he was:
“just a crooked cop that likes to mess with black people”
In a 2017 arrest of a black man, he notes:
“There was no medical emergency or legit reason the suspect should have been out driving, rather to go get a beer at 11 O Clock at night.”
An officer that worked with Bajt for approximately 18 months, says that Bajt would often brag about his ‘sniff test arrests’, and explained that when in black neighborhoods on a call that didn’t take long, he would routinely walk around the neighbors houses or apartments and ‘sniff’ for the smell of weed outside their doors, and then get them to open the doors so he could confirm they were smoking marijuana inside their private homes, freeze the area if they didn’t consent to a search, and arrest them for smoking in their own homes.
We were able to confirm some examples of this in his arrest affidavits, as below, of which both defendants were black:
“Officers were in the area of the suspect’s residence for an unrelated call. Officers could smell the obvious smoke of marijuana being burned coming from the suspect’s residence. Police approached the house and the odor got stronger, confirming their beliefs that it was the suspect’s house that had the odor. Officers knocked and spoke with the suspect as well as his wife. Both parties admitted to smoking marijuana in the house and having a little bit in the house.”
“officers were in the area of 12th & Cockrill Street conducting an investigation. At the completion of that investigation, officers noticed a strong, distinct smell of marijuana coming from the area of xxxx 12th Avenue North.. officers determined that the smell of marijuana was strongest at xxxx 12th Avenue North Apt. xxxx… Resident opened the door and asked officers if everything was okay. At that time officers observed a cloud of smoke and a distinct odor of marijuana coming from inside the residence. Officer Bajt and Officer Burnett spoke with the resident and explained the circumstances surrounding what officers observed and why it was believed marijuana was inside the residence. During the consent search, officers recovered a marijuana cigarette weighing approximately .1 grams and one grinder with marijuana residue. “
There was another arrest narrative that stood out, due to Bajt’s extreme racist texts. In GS772566, Bajt arrested a while male, citing:
“The suspect is a danger to himself because in that area, being intoxicated(smell of alcohol, slurred speech) and shouting racist words at people could end very poorly for the suspect in that part of town.”
In the end, the Office of Professional Accountability would present the conclusion of facts, below, recommending a criminal charge for the manufacture of a controlled substance (mushrooms), while recommending ‘use of illegal drugs, conduct unbecoming of an officer (racial texts), all be noted as a ‘Matter of Record’ simply meaning the complaint was received but not sustained. In the end, when presented with facing an interview about these disciplinary matters, Bajt would simply submit his resignation, and avoid any punishment. A MNPD spokesperson confirms that no criminal charges were sought after his resignation.
Due to Bajt resigning, and not participating in the investigation, he skirted any criminal charges, and none of these facts will be a part of any ‘sustained’ complaints in the MNPD’s statistics.