Justice Served:  Ramsey County Judge issues Factual Finding of Murder and 6 Million Dollar Judgment against Aaron Foster!
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Foster loses his lawsuit
Man acquitted of 1981 murder sues St. Paul over job loss

Alleging racial discrimination, he says he was suspended without pay and the city didn't reinstate him.

By PAT PHEIFER, Star Tribune

Last update: November 19, 2009 - 9:12 PM
Aaron W. Foster Sr., who was acquitted in July 2008 in the 1981 death of his girlfriend, Barbara (Bobbi) Winn, has sued the city of St. Paul for racial discrimination.

Foster, 57, who is black, said in the lawsuit that he was suspended without pay from his job in the St. Paul Police Department property room after he was arrested and charged in November 2007.

"White employees ... faced with criminal charges have been suspended with pay, pending trial," according to the suit, which was served on the city last Friday.

The lawsuit goes on to say that Foster resigned from his job "in order to obtain funds to defend himself in the criminal action." After his acquittal, he sought to be reinstated, and, although the city claims to have put him on the reinstatement register on Oct. 1, 2008, he was never informed of that and he never got his job back, the suit said.

The city's "failure to reinstate [Foster] was because of his race," it said. The lawsuit asks for lost wages, damages of mental anguish, front pay and other damages "in excess of $50,000."

Foster's attorney, Paul Iversen, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

City Attorney John Choi said simply, "We've received the complaint, and we'll respond accordingly."

Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Schnell said as a matter of policy, "we don't comment on active litigation."

Foster has never talked publicly about Winn's death, which happened in her Maplewood townhouse.

After the Ramsey County attorney's office declined to charge Foster in 1981, Winn's family fought long and hard for him to be charged and ultimately tried in the case.

The case was reopened in 2006 by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. A grand jury indicted Foster in November 2007 on charges of third-degree murder.

Winn, 35, was trying to break off her relationship with Foster and had asked him to move out. She came home as he was packing and they argued.

Only the two of them were in her bedroom when she was killed with a single bullet from Foster's gun. Foster said she shot herself. Her family, including her three children, who were 15, 13 and 12 at the time, has maintained he killed her.

When the case went to trial, several pieces of evidence as well as statements Foster made to police at the time were suppressed. The jury acquitted him on July 23, 2008.

Winn's family was devastated. "He got away with it," Patty Bruce, Winn's sister-in-law and the family's spokeswoman, said at the time.

Pat Pheifer • 612-741-4992





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