Mike Haege owns a tree-trimming business in Hastings, Minnesota. After a tornado hit northern Minneapolis, he decided to help out. On May 23, the day after the tornado, he signed up as a volunteer and brought some equipment to help people without insurance to dig out from the damage. Mike and his fellow volunteers removed fallen or damaged trees from driveways and doorways, all free of charge. He probably made a lot of friends that day.
Regulators were not among them. While he is licensed to work in many Minneapolis-area cities, he isn’t licensed in Minneapolis proper. So they kicked him out of the city. The Hastings Star Gazette reports:
The inspector told him to get out of the city, so Haege left with the volunteer. As they were on their way back to the volunteer area, residents waved down Haege, pleading for help. He pulled over and helped get a tree out of the way for them.
Haege had no idea police officers were behind him in a sort of unofficial escort out of town. He said they stopped traffic for about two hours while they figured out what to do with him. At one point, officers threatened to throw him in jail, he said.
All the while, residents continued defending him, screaming in his defense.
Officers told him to leave. They told him he was going to receive a “hefty fine” in the mail, and that if he stopped on the way out, the fine would be doubled.
True to their word, Mike later received a $275 fine in the mail.