Policy Fellow for Mpls Mayor Jacob Frey Charged with Drugs, Illegally Possessing Gun

A multi-time felon who’s been working in Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s office as a policy fellow on criminal justice reform, has been charged with three felonies involving narcotics and illegal possession of a firearm.

Keegan Jamaal Rolenc

A multi-time felon who’s been working in Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s office as a policy fellow on criminal justice reform, has been charged with three felonies involving narcotics and illegal possession of a firearm.

Keegan Jamaal Rolenc, 28, was convicted in 2012 on two felony counts of drive-by shooting and second-degree assault, in connection to a 2011 gang-related shooting where shots were fired at an occupied home and vehicle, according to a contemporaneous report.

According to that 2012 report, Rolenc’s case was supposedly being prosecuted as part of so-called “stepped up prosecutions” in Hennepin County aimed at cracking down on gunplay and stray bullets, the likes of which killed 3-year-old Terrell Mays in north Minneapolis that year.

However, despite the tough talk by the county attorney’s office and the reported original eight felony charges against Rolenc, he was offered a plea agreement. Rolenc pleaded guilty to only two of the charges and the rest were dismissed including several other counts of drive-by shooting, second-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Rolenc was sentenced to 86-months in prison on the conviction and allowed to serve that sentence concurrently with another felony narcotics sentence for which he’d originally received a stay-of-imposition two years earlier. 

A month after the drive-by conviction, Rolenc pleaded guilty to another pending felony narcotics case. That 21-month sentence was also ordered to be served concurrently with the drive-by shooting sentence.

In 2017, Rolenc pleaded guilty to yet another felony, this time third-degree assault. He was granted a stayed sentence and placed on probation by Rice County Judge John T. Cajacob.

Somehow, after receiving plea bargains, concurrent and stayed sentences on a raft of violent crimes, Rolenc felt wronged by the criminal justice system and began speaking out on criminal justice system reform in the last few years. He eventually rubbed shoulders with the likes of former Attorney General Eric Holder and met then Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey in 2016 at a city-sponsored gang intervention program, according to a report on the new charges Rolenc is facing.

According to the report, Frey began mentoring Rolenc following their 2016 introduction, and last fall gave him a 30-hour-a-week job as a policy fellow in the Mayor’s office after Rolenc was denied a real estate license because of his felony past.

NEW CHARGES

Police reportedly pulled over Rolenc on Sunday night after he ran a stop sign and searched his car after smelling marijuana. They found 40.6 grams of cocaine, $2,200 and a loaded 9mm handgun in a backpack, according to charges filed in Hennepin County Tuesday. Police also found a digital scale and a notebook with a list of handwritten names under the title, “owe me,” according to the complaint.

Rolenc, whose address is listed on the 5300 block of 12th Avenue South, was taken into custody and booked into Hennepin County Jail early Monday morning. Court records show that he posted bail on Tuesday and made his first court appearance on Wednesday to face charges of first-and second-degree narcotics and felon in possession of a firearm. Rolenc was granted a public defender at the Wednesday afternoon hearing and is next scheduled to appear in court on March 2. Rolenc remains free on bail.

Rolenc has reportedly been suspended from his position in the Mayor’s office pending the outcome of the case.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.