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Edina man accused of threatening Rochester police found not competent to stand trial

A district judge ruled earlier this week that Josef Makatewassi, 52, of Edina, was not competent to stand trial for charges related to threatening officers from the Rochester Police Department and domestic assault.

Josef Makatewassi
Josef Makatewassi
Contributed / Olmsted County Sheriff's Office
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ROCHESTER — An Edina man facing charges related to multiple threatening emails he sent over the summer to Rochester police officers was found incompetent earlier this week in Olmsted County District Court.

Josef Makatewassi, 52, will most likely be civilly committed following a Sept. 19, 2022, Rule 20 hearing where District Judge Pamela King ruled he was not competent to stand trial.

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The Olmsted County Attorney's Office intends to prosecute Makatewassi for one count of felony terroristic threats and harassment, a gross misdemeanor, once he is fit to stand trial, according to a Sept. 21, 2022, court filing.

In separate cases, misdemeanor charges of domestic assault, disorderly conduct and violating an order for protection was dismissed against Makatewassi following the ruling.

According to the criminal complaint :

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Makatewassi sent multiple emails to Rochester police officers involved in his April 15 arrest for domestic assault earlier that week.

Around May 2, a Rochester officer received emails from Makatewassi that Olmsted Sheriff's Capt. James Scheuller described as rambling, talking about sex trafficking, drug cartels, Nazis and corrupt Rochester police officers.

The Olmsted Sheriff's Office was the investigating agency for this incident.

On June 7, law enforcement received a phone call regarding Makatewassi.

On June 9, Rochester officers received multiple emails from Makatewassi where he threatened to kill the officers, harm their children and kill any officers that came to arrest him.

On June 11, Rochester officers received multiple emails from Makatewassi where he included pictures of their families and a picture of one of the officers with the caption "consider a target for assassination." There were also several pornographic images and videos attached to the emails.

"He had done his research and was identifying family members and home addresses for these family members of the officers and he was making overt actions towards completing the threat," Schueller said. "If you're going that far and doing research and starting to post that kind of stuff, that's a serious threat that and we take it as such."

Makatewassi was arrested Tuesday, June 14, 2022, by the Edina Police Department without incident, according to Scheuller.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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