Police reports paint disturbing Minnesota Family Court picture

Four new police reports paint a troubling picture of a violent and dangerous man that has sole custody of his five children, yet the media says he is wrongfully accused. Why?


WASHINGTON, May 7, 2016 — Communities Digital News has unearthed four police reports involving David Rucki, whose divorce, custody battle and two daughters’ disappearance was the feature of the April 8 “20/20” episode entitled “Footprints in the Snow.”

Those police reports paint a troubling portrait of David Rucki, who presently has sole custody of his five children with ex-wife Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki accused David Rucki of physical and emotional abuse of her and her children for several years.

The Rucki family came to the attention of the media when the two oldest daughters ran away on April 19, 2013, after their pleas to live with their mother were shut down repeatedly by the court.

They remained missing until November 2015, when U.S. marshals discovered them on a farm in Herman, Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune.

CDN had reported information that backs up Grazzini-Rucki claims of abuse by Rucki.

Rucki has more than 10 criminal arrests and multiple convictions. Four new police reports further substantiate Grazzini-Rucki’s  claims of violence by David Rucki.

Previous police reports include an incident when David Rucki told a third party he would hire the Hell’s Angels to rough up his wife. Another report alleges that Rucki stalked Grazzini-Rucki, and a third included Rucki’s being charged with fifthdegree assault of a third party in 2008.

The first incident occurred on Dec. 3, 1994. At that time, David Rucki was in a bar called the Whiskey Junction in Minneapolis, broke a bottle and refused to leave.

Police had to forcibly remove him.

Officers were on patrol and approached the above address and heard shouting and screaming. Officers stopped at 901 Cedar and observed the DEF (David Rucki) arguing with employees of Whiskey Junction. DEF was inside and had broke (sic) a beer bottle and was asked to leave by staff due to his excessive drinking and not having control. DEF started to argue and swear and at one time threatened to get tough with employees. DEF was asked to leave numerous times by the business and he refused. DEF was also was asked by the police to leave and he refused. DEF swore and hollered at officers all the way to jail. Very uncooperative.

Rucki was eventually convicted of disorderly conduct for this incident.

The second incident occurred on Feb. 27, 2011, shortly before the marriage disintegrated. In this incident, Rucki let one of his three bulldogs into his neighbor’s yard, and the dog proceeded to stare menacingly at the home for nearly two minutes; the neighbors, the Martins, told the police officer that they wanted a report because this was part of a pattern of behavior.

(Ms. Martin) advised that there is an ongoing issue between her family and their neighbor, David Rucki. (Ms. Martin) has obtained a harassment order against Rucki in reference to past issues. Robin stated that David’s dogs habitually run through the cul-de-sac and into her yard.

The Martins had taken out an restraining order out against David Rucki in 2009; they feared him so much, according to the police report, that the family installed video cameras on their home; using those cameras, the police saw exactly what happened.

“The offending bulldog can be seen at 21:22:40 hours,” the police report stated, “on the tape advancing toward the Martin’s garage. On the footage the dog appears to be in an aggressive stance and his body movements suggest he is barking at Robin. Approximately two minutes later at 21:29:48 a human figure can be seen in the cul-de-sac, at which time the dog leaves Robin’s driveway and follows the figure (David) back to (David’s home).”

Rucki was issued only a $30 fine for this incident.

In his previous statement, Dooley acknowledged knowing about the restraining order taken out by the neighbors but minimized its importance:

Regarding the incident you raised involving the Rucki’s neighbor we chose not to include it because it was not directly related to the Rucki marriage or divorce.  It should be noted that there is a police report from July 2003 after Sandra went to police complaining about this same neighbor.  She reported feeling threatened by the neighbor.

Dooley’s minimization takes on new context with the third incident, which occurred on Nov. 27, 2011.

By coincidence and with separate parties, Rucki and Grazzini-Rucki were both at Manny Steakhouse, a posh restaurant in Minneapolis.

Grazzini-Rucki got up to go to the bathroom, according to the police report, and walked by a booth where Rucki was sitting with friends. Each immediately recognized the other and David quickly told his table, “the bitch is here, oh f–k, I’m in trouble.”

Grazzini-Rucki had gotten a restraining order against her ex, but David Rucki had violated it several times: once he rummaged through their mailbox in front of the home after he’d been told to stay away, and another time he contacted a third party he wasn’t allowed to contact. On Nov 7, 2011, after repeated violations, Rucki was sentenced to two days in jail and a year’s probation, and the restraining order now forced him to leave any time they were within 300 feet of each other regardless of the circumstances.

Grazzini-Rucki then contacted management, explained that she had an order for protection against David and asked them to ask him to leave. When restaurant management asked David to leave, he refused, so Grazzini-Rucki left, called the police and was told to report the incident to the Fifth Precinct.

Grazzini-Rucki filed a report, telling them that since he recently, in November, was convicted of violating repeatedly orders for protection and was now mandated to leave even if they meet in a public place, but the officer could only find a May 2011 order for protection as the most recent order in the system.

According to that order, Rucki did not need to leave.

The officer, in the statement the Minneapolis Police Department, said “I looked up the OFP (Order for Protection) on NCIC and found that it had been served on 6/22/2011 in Dakota County. V1 (Sandra) stated that S1 has been in violation of his order multiple times and they were in court in November for the last violation.”

The last incident was a road rage incident from June 12, 2014. “Upon arrival we made contact with Suspect 1: Troy Lee Witt DOB. 10/07/1962 who was actively bleeding from the mouth and lips. Witt said he was involved in a road rage incident with Suspect #2, later identified as David Victor Rucki DOB 02/03/1963. Witt stated Rucki cut him off in traffic and admitted to later passing Rucki’s vehicle and ‘flipping him the bird’ before cutting him off in return. Witt said Rucki followed him into Cub Foods and parked his vehicle behind Witt as he was parked legally in the lot. Witt said Rucki got out of his vehicle and confronted him by the cart coral, where they both exchanged in a verbal altercation. Witt said Rucki pushed him into the cart corral and then returned to his vehicle. Witt said he then pursued Rucki slamming his driver’s door after he got into his car. Witt said he was ‘pretty sure’ Rucki was completely inside his vehicle when he slammed the door, but he stated he could not be positive. Witt said Rucki then came after him and punched him once, knocking him down to his knees. He said Rucki punched him two or three more times and then walked into Cub Foods.”

While charged with fifth-degree assault, Rucki would eventually plead guilty to disorderly conduct, bookending two disorderly conduct convictions from two violent incidents, 20 years apart.

Despite his history, David Rucki currently has sole custody of their five children; Sandra Grazzini-Rucki last saw her children in early 2013 and she is scheduled to go on trial for parental interference for her alleged role in her two daughters’ more than two-year disappearance.


The author Michael Volpe wrote the book, Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney’s Kafkaesque Divorce last year. Michelle MacDonald, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s current attorney, edited the book and wrote the foreword. They are also currently working on a book project about her professional experience including this case.

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