Suicide Files: Bob Fletcher's domestic dispute

Thumbnail image for scared sheriff.jpg
This week's cover told the story of the life and death of Ramsey County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Ruettimann, and the file of documents he specifically left behind for this City Pages reporter.

The documents mostly detail Ruettimann's domestic troubles and an Internal Affairs investigation that resulted because of them. However, there is also a packet in the file that contains several incident reports on crimes committed by other Ramsey County deputies.

Included is a domestic dispute call to the home of then-Sheriff Bob Fletcher. The file is a fascinating look into what it's like to respond to a domestic incident involving the sheriff.

The 911 call came in at about 10 p.m. on July 9, 1999. The woman on the line was crying and so distraught she couldn't manage to tell the dispatcher what she needed.

"Begging me not to send anyone or she will be in big trouble," the baffled 911 operator wrote in the call log. "I asked who she was fighting with, she stated her husband."

Then the woman abruptly hung up.

Thumbnail image for Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.jpg
Around the same time, another call came into the St. Paul station from a woman identifying herself as  Sheriff Fletcher's wife. She asked the officer on duty to give her then-Chief Bill Finney's home telephone number. The officer said she couldn't do that, and the woman began to cry. She gave her own number, asked the officer to pass it to Finney, and to tell him it was an emergency. In his own report about the incident, Finney states that he attempted to call her twice, but got no answer.

St. Paul Police officers were given the woman's address. On their way to the house, one officer wrote in his report that he "heard a transmission from a squad identified as 2400 asking the original car to switch to channel 3 for some information. I recognized the voice as Sheriff R. Fletcher."

When officers switched over to channel 3, Fletcher explained they were heading to his home. He'd heard the 911 dispatch on his own radio and told the St. Paul officers that nothing was wrong. He said he would meet them there and explain the situation.

At the home, Fletcher was calm and collected. His wife, however, was red eyed and, according to one officer, appeared to have been drinking. Fletcher explained that his wife was an alcoholic. The couple was fighting because she'd been trying to get to her car; Fletcher had moved it down the street so she couldn't drive drunk.

While Fletcher stayed outside with three officers, another officer went into the house to talk to Fletcher's wife. He noted that she didn't appear to be harmed in any way.

"I asked Mrs. Fletcher if she had been assaulted and if she wanted to make a Police report and she said no. Mrs. Fletcher again said 'you are only making it worse by being here so you should leave.'"

At some point, Sheriff Fletcher came into the home while the officer was still talking to his wife.

The officer writes that he "asked if we could wrap this up because of the number of squads in front of his home. I again asked Mrs. Fletcher if she wanted any assistance from us and she said no."

After Fletcher complained that two of the squad cars ought to leave, the commander on the scene wrote, "I needed to explain to R. Fletcher that this was an SPPD matter and would be handled under my direction and authority as the St. Paul Police Commander."

Two of the officers did eventually leave. Then Mrs. Fletcher came out of the house and asked one of the sergeants to take a walk with her. She explained that all she wanted from the car was her bag.
dan ruettimann.jpg
Deputy Daniel Ruettimann pulled the 911 incident and included it in a file for City Pages.


"She then asked me to call Chief Finney because he was the only police officer she trusted. I explained I would not call Finney for this matter, but that I would get her husband to get her bag back. At that time she stated that she did not want to talk to me and began walking away. She yelled at her husband something to the effect that we were all the same and that this is just another way for him to exert his control over her."

After she went back inside, Fletcher told the officers there wouldn't be any more problems and followed his wife inside. The officers left the scene.

The next day, the commander submitted an additional report on the incident, writing, "In my opinion, Robert Fletcher attempted to manage and influence the SPPD response."

He cited the fact that Fletcher had monitored the 911 dispatch, asked officers to speak privately on another channel, spoke to one of the St. Paul officers as if he were a subordinate -- ordering him to go talk to his wife -- and pressuring the responding police to leave.

No charges were filed in the incident. Jimmy Hereaux, the friend of Deputy Daniel Ruettimann who passed the paperwork to City Pages, said Ruettimann requested this report and others in the file knowing that the matter wasn't criminal. Rather, he "wanted to show how Fletcher treated people," says Hereaux.

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46 comments
Happytown
Happytown

I want to hear more about Fletcher shooting the dog in front of his wife and child and telling her that she was next, I would also like to know more about the townhouse fire... Anyone??? I can picture Fletcher driving around the county acting like he owns it for 16 years, what does the sob do now?  Is he still living in a hotel because Kris found out about his affair?  

Lidlowryder
Lidlowryder

W harvel beats his wife and gets off the hook, no IA, no demotion, no nothing. What gives? Oh ya, he was a supporter of fletcher. Same circumstances. He's pictured on the fletcher for sheriff website. Go check it out.

fletcherforsheriff.com

RC DEPUTY
RC DEPUTY

Why are we still protecting Fletcher? It is time for us all to come clean and start telling all. Bob is not in office anymore, we should not fear what he could do in retaliation. Let's tell all guys! We can't allow Fletcher to do this any longer. 

Tabloid Pages
Tabloid Pages

Does the author of this series of articles really think this is journalism?  Seriously, what is the point of printing all of this garbage, whether it is about Mr. Ruittiman or Mr. Fletcher?  I fail to see the point or wisdom in printing any of it.  If I were the author of this rubbish, I would hold on to my day job.

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

RIP Dan......"nice effort to help good old bob" Bob doesnt need my help......there is always two sides to every story....somewhere we lost personal responsibility and replaced it with entitlements.....I would be willing to wager that most people that make ignorant claims against  Fletcher have issues with decisions that he has made that affected their lives...good or bad!

Brent Halverson
Brent Halverson

I'm not sure who Flether is or who Ruettiman is, but I happened to be a freelance reporter and have followed up on these articles on the city pages.  Correct me if im wrong but, didn't Fletcher's incident happen nearly 13 years ago?  I don't know about you but it seems like a desperate attempt to justify your cause!  It seems like the deceased deputy had a hard time being held accountable for his own actions, and that he tried to displace blame elsewhere to justify his own actions thus no accountabily for his own actions!  It also appears that he was mixed up in the Sheriff's Office politics....the thing that puzzles me is his close association to Sheriff Bostrom..  never the less RIP to the deputy!!!!

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

But wait!  I thought it was only Fletcher's enemies that had domestic disputes!  (/sarcasm)

Wonder how all the pro-Fletcher trolls who left nasty comments in the first Ruettiman piece are feeling now?  Must be Red Alert time at Fletcher Central.

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

As I admit to knowing nothing about how police file out their reports, I found the following from the article of interest:

The next day, the commander submitted an additional report on the incident, writing, "In my opinion, Robert Fletcher attempted to manage and influence the SPPD response."Did you file out the additional report at the request/demand from a superior?

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

I have read some comments and am curious as to why you didnt hear of these issues with Finney when he was running for Sheriff....

Really?
Really?

Please... Attacking Matt Bostrom in connection with Fletcher's outrages and criminal behavior is truly stunning.  Sheriff Bostrom is an honest and honerable man.  Plain and simple.  All the leftover Fletcher cronies drank the coolaid, now are like rats on an already sunk ship... Get over it.

PRTYANGESMILE
PRTYANGESMILE

Ummmm have you meet his CRAZY EX-WIFE? ALCOHOLIC ANYONE WHO KNOWS HER WILL UNDERSTAND THE BASELESS STORY... SHE OBVIOUSLY NEEDS HELP & WANTED ATTENTION ANY WAY SHE COULD GET IT...THIS STORY IS IMPORTANT WHY???

citizen
citizen

Hmmm... In reading these comments it occurred to me that the same thing happened that is happening here at  behind the blue wall site under Ruettimann's story.   As soon as the dog got brought up Finney started to get attacked. Leads me to believe that Finney knows everything about  Fletcher shooting the dog and what he did to his ex-wife and that Fletcher believes that it is Finney sharing this so he is attacking him. Very typical Fletcher behavior! 

Moore on Finney
Moore on Finney

Finney hired his close friend and drug runner Aaron Foster to run the police property room in 1998.

Sgt. Sam Caron questioned why Foster carried a gun at work, as he was a civilian employee. He also drove a squad car to work. Finney called Caron into his office and told Sgt. Caron that Foster had his permission to drive the squad car and carry a gun (Finney signed the permit to carry).

After Sgt. Caron questioned Foster’s actions, Sgt. Caron’s immediate supervisor came down on him. In a two-month period Sgt. Caron received two letters of reprimand, a two-week suspension for referring to Foster as "chief" and an unsatisfactory job evaluation after what he said was 14 years of exemplary service.

Sgt. Brian Reed, who also supervised Foster, stated "If Foster had a disagreement with an officer regarding any issue, his tactic was to invoke Chief Finney's name and end the discussion."

Sgt. Reed asked for permission to suspend Foster after Foster cursed at him and wouldn't complete an assignment. Higher-ranking officers told Reed he couldn't suspend him.

When Sgt. Reed was assigned to investigate a verbal exchange between Foster and a sergeant, he said, he sustained the complaint. The commander said she concurred with his findings and was going to pass it along to the assistant chief who under Finney’s direction dropped the complaint.Sgt. Reed was then assigned to work at the front desk, an assignment "widely known throughout the police department as being punitive." Sgt. Reed was doing his job and Finney put him at the front desk as punishment.

In 1999, Sgt. Robert Winsor went to the property room to request extra film for patrol cars. Foster told Sgt. Winsor he couldn't have more film, which Sgt. Winsor disputed.

As Sgt. Winsor was walking away, Foster picked up the phone and said, "Here, I'll tell you who to call, you call the Chief, you talk to the Chief, go ahead, let's see if you're brave enough to call the Chief."

A lawsuit filed in 2002 by the St. Paul Police Federation and Sgt. Ann Bebeau against the city, the police department and Finney alleged, "Finney, acting directly or through his command staff, has allowed … Foster to harass and interfere with St. Paul police officers."

The suit also claimed Foster had "been protected from the consequences of his actions because of a close personal friendship" with Finney.

Five more police officers filed affidavits in the suit about what they considered problems with Foster at work from 1999 through 2001.

The 2002 suit centered on an argument between Bebeau and Foster in the property room. At one point, Bebeau stated in an affidavit filed as part of the suit, Foster said, "Let's take it up to the third floor, and we'll see who wins this one."

Sgt. Bebeau said she interpreted the remark to mean Foster would take the matter to Finney, whose office was on the third floor.

In the end, Sgt. Bebeau prevailed against the city and the police department, but only in the accusation that the city [Finney] violated the Minnesota Peace Officer Discipline Procedures Act and not in any claims against Finney. This cost the city just under $20,000 whit Sgt. Bebeau receiving $1,620 in damages, and the city was ordered to pay her attorney's bill.

Another convicted drug runner that Finney hired to watch the police impound lot is Ken Brennan. His real name wan Ken Pluff Jr., now he is known as Kenny Brennan, security guard. The Pluff family ran one of the largest drug distributing operations on the East Side of St. Paul. Pluff [Brennan] was a licensed police officer who worked for White Bear Lake Township and Ramsey County Reserve Deputy. He ratted out his fellow police officers and turned in this information over to his drug running family on the East Side. Pluff [Brennan] used law enforcement resources to spy on the cops doing their investigation on his family’s drug business. Pluff [Brennan] was co-chair and worked on Finney’s Sheriff campaign

Ghost of Finney & Bostrom
Ghost of Finney & Bostrom

Let's take a look at the "trust" under Finney, Bostrom, and Axtell.

Take a close friend of Bill Finney and former St. Paul cop Clemie Tucker. Tucker who was caught with over 17 pounds of meth. Tucker was arrested at Finney's house.

St. Paul Police Sgt. Benny Williams, another Finney friend who was caught giving confidential Department documents to Johnny Clark who was a major drug dealer in St. Paul. Thing is Clark was in jail at the time and he gave these classified police documents to Plukie Duke his Nephew. Duke is another friend of Bill Finney and was a major drug dealer in St. Paul who is now in jail.

Take Kenny Brennan, ex police officer and drug dealer, also known as Ken Kenny Pluff, Jr. before he changed his name? The Pluff family ran a major drug operation on the East Side. Brennan ratted out his fellow cops by informing on the cops watching his families drug business. Brennan is a security guard for a St. Paul company whose boss is a very close friend of Finney. His name is Sheldon Anderson. Brennan is a very close friend of Finney and Finney hired Kenny to watch the St. Paul Police Impound Lot.

Another Finney friend and drug runner for Plukie Duke was Aaron Foster who killed a woman in Maplewood back in 1981. Finney hired Foster to work in the St. Paul Police property room, the same room that held evidence to his murder case. The evidence went missing before Foster’s trial and Foster got off. Foster also cost the City of St. Paul over $20,000.00 for his inappropriate behavior against women police officers. Foster has assaulted and threatened many women and Chief Finney just brushed it off as boys will be boys and issues him a permit to carry. Finney I don’t feel that it is just boys being boys when you have a loaded handgun to their head. Also note the handgun in question was one Finney sold to Foster.

The sad thing is Finney did all of this while he was on the St. Paul School Board and while he was chief of police in St. Paul.

The St. Paul Police Citizens Review Board recommended that Sgt. Benny Williams be fired for giving this material to a known drug dealer and inmate. Finney protected his friend and only gave him a 30-day suspension. He is still employed at the St. Paul Police Department and works off duty as a security guard in the Big Top Liquor.

In addition to protecting his friends, Finney also gave out "Get Out Of Jail Free' letters to his drug dealing friends. This is how things are done in Chicago.

Finney is supporting Bostrom for Sheriff because he has something on Bostrom. Finney only supports people who will help him. Take Melvin Carter (City Council, Ward 1). Finney's drug running friends (Brennan, Axtell, Foster) are all working hard on Bostrom's campaign, I wonder why? Axtell also wants to be police chief, but he has some answering to do for his drug undercover work. Four years ago Axtell was in charge of the undercover drug operations for St. Paul Police Department. Finney directed Axtell, as to what to do and not what to do.

Finney only helps people who will help him in the long run. Finney made lots of money as Chief of Police. He protected his drug running friends and he supports people who will help his drug running friends.

Citizen
Citizen

The only person who said she was drunk was the sheriff. It was not noted by any of the officer's. I do not applaud the former sheriff for using his control and power in this situation. Let's ask Sheriff Fletcher and the SPPD about the dog he shot in front of his wife and told her that she was next? The citizen's of Ramsey County finally saw who Fletcher really is, and voted him out! How could we have allowed someone like that to run a sheriff's department for 16 years. Very Disturbing!

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

So the former Sheriff stopped his exwife from driving while she was apparently drunk....they argued and she called the police on him.....seems to be an acceptable account and I applaud the former sheriff for stepping in. If these are the files that were in the article from the deputy that killed himself, and are suppose to support the deceased deputys claim that the former Sheriff was "out to get him", it only supports my opinion that this deputy had some serious mental health issues and should have received help.......

Ramsey County Citizen
Ramsey County Citizen

Editorial: New leadership forRamsey County

Article by:  Startribune Last update: October 20, 2010 - 2:15 PM

 

Temperamentand leadership style are our primary concerns about Fletcher. The first timethe former St. Paul officer and CityCouncil member ran for sheriff, this editorial page expressed concern that hemight stretch the office's mandates and make it too political. Those concernswere justified.

Mr
Mr

if anyone deserves to pay it for sure Fletcher!

a reader
a reader

because this is how mean, corrupt people think...:" its my way or you will pay" and that how this appears to me ...im not a county worker nor a friend ... this is as great of a story as CNN just ran last week about bullying someone to the point of no return, kicking them when they are down, and not letting up... sounds like many suffered here , and were a bit stronger to hold there own... This story is REAL and its Journalism at its best! There was a life lost here, and its saddens me to the point of making me sick...

RIP Dan
RIP Dan

If the department has lost personal responsibility and it was replaced with entitlements, that was learned behavior from Fletcher for 16 years. Ignorant claims?  There is at least 50 ignorant claims that I can google and read about. There is something wrong if that many people have issues with his behavior. 

anreader
anreader

isn't it puzzling about the connection dan had many years ago... and what haooen after... 13 yrs put him just in office months... oh thats nice thought!

RIP Dan
RIP Dan

I do not believe that the deputy had a hard time being held accountable for his actions. You are right when you say this call on Fletcher was 13 years ago. Let's look at Ruettimann's case. He was accused of choking his wife in 2006, that was 5 years ago. The police were called to that incident and no marks on her neck were seen by the police. The department was aware of that incident and did not open a internal affairs investigation - why-  because he was campaigning for Fletcher at the time. Then 5 years later he makes a dumb comment to his ex in a argument and all of a sudden - boom, the old incident is brought up, why,  because he choose to campaign for Bostrom and Fletcher was pissed. Fletcher felt like the deputy owed him and he took it personally that he choose to campaign for Bostrom.  He is not trying to displace blame, I think he is trying to say that the internal affairs of Ramsey County is based on if you campaigned for Fletcher or not.

RIP Dan
RIP Dan

Fletcher central ~ Is that what everyone call's it? I think we should name it FOB land. 

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

Sorry for sounding like a fletcher supporter....but after I read the article it wasnt about Fletcher abusing his wife, I read that she had been drinking and he stopped her from driving...even at the end of the article it stated from the deputy that killed himself that there wasnt anything criminal about the call? Unless you have read something else I just don't see it! It also said the police officer that was on the call was talked to like a subordinate...wasnt Fletcher the Sheriff of Ramsey County?

Citizen
Citizen

I think I would be all of the above too if I was married to a power hungry, ruthless evil man who is a control freak!  Fletcher will stop at nothing to get revenge on people that he feels  have betrayed him and that includes beating his wife. He should not be able to carry a badge or a gun!

Daily 5
Daily 5

Well in reading these coments,and.... if you still support Bostrom or Finney you should have your head examinded

Clemen
Clemen

or just typical Bostrom Supporters venting...... lets see Finney & Bostrom? whats the difference?

the shadow
the shadow

Who is John Moore? please post if anyone knows more about him! ......All  I know is he was a Bostrom crony, but who is he, and what did he do?  All I can find is he was suspended twice for conduct unbecoming an Officer and that he supported Matt Bostrom for Sheriff!

Wildfan
Wildfan

Not sure if you heard but this or not,  but the election is over.  I can't believe how delusional Bostrom people are what is the ponit of this?

E K
E K

From the article:

"His wife, however, was red eyed and, according to one officer, appeared to have been drinking."

Just Sayin
Just Sayin

I googled about Matt Bostrom too, and found similar things about him and political retaliation..... It seems like his Matt's old man paved the way for him.  Matt was the Mayor's driver... im sorry but you don't get that assignment without knowing someone in the political circles!  He also worked as a DARE officer and IDENT tech.  He also worked directly out of the Chiefs Office at SPPD... once again an assignment with political ties!

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

AS much a I have enjoyed reading the articles, it would seem that people read many things and apparently miss many things, in response when I read the article it stated that the reason that the Deputy wasnt charged 6 years ago was because his exwife wouldnt press charges....it had absolutely nothing to do with Fletcher, their wasnt an open internal affairs investigation becasue his exwife refused to charge him with the New Brighton Police Department, again nothing to do with Fletcher...while I understand at times people may say things....you may not say that you are going to fucking kill your dad tonight and then make a motion across your neck....sorry everyone but that is going to far and he should have been terminated immediately as it goes to show he was unstable. You have also made comments about how Fletcher felt.....how do you know this...were you physically there or did this troubled deputy tell you this story.........now that Fletcher is gone who will you all blame for your lot in life....its time to grow up and take some responsibilty....

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

While I can admit to doing some pretty stupid things...I draw the line at telling my wife that I am going to kill her dad and make the motion of cutting his throat.....the Sheriff was correct at terminating this deputy...in regards to "how Bob treats people"...he was in charge of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department.....not all will agree with his management style...now that hes out of office and a "better" Sheriff is in office...I have not seen or heard a word from the new Sheriff, actually I have no clue as to what he even looks like, I want a Sheriff that stands up for the tax payers and isnt beholden to any political party or special interest groups that supported my campaing....you may think its a turn for the better...time will tell, but for this tax payer I slept much better at night knowing Fletcher was out there.......if I were out and happen to see the former Sheriff I would like to walk up to him and shake his hand and say Thanks you for all you have done and that you have been apprecaited for your dedication to making our community better and more importantly safer!.....and isnt that what we all would want?

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

While I tried to follow your comment....he made a dumb comment...he said he was going to kill her dad....this deputy had many issues and if you are trying to say that his world was just fine and that Fletcher is the one responsible for his issues...well I would like to know what color the sky is in your world?

a watching friend
a watching friend

fletcher will get his at the end... because what goes around "ALWAYS" comes back around... its the waiting for it that sucks... rip Dan

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

Ah, now I see how Fletcher backers are spinning this -- they're blaming everyone but Fletcher!

So for those following along at home:

When the first Ruettimann story came up, Fletcher backers started yammering about Ruettimann blaming Fletcher for his domestic problems.  Now that Fletcher is shown to have had similar domestic issues (and to have tried to control how the SPPD handled them instead of recusing himself as a good officer would), suddenly it's the spouse's fault, Finney's fault, Bostrom's fault, everyone's fault but Bob Fletcher's.

Seems to me that Ruettimann felt guilt over what he'd done and how his life turned out, which is why he's no longer alive.  Fletcher feels no guilt over any of his own thuggery, and acts rather like a textbook sociopath and bully:  He feels it's his divine right to do what he does.

More on Moore
More on Moore

Star Tribune.  Minneapolis, Minn  Oct 28, 2002"...Moore's candidacy was inspired by his anger at being suspended for two days last year for using department letterhead to seek a date with a female paramedic"

Star Tribune.  Minneapolis, Minn Mar 2, 2004"Moore was suspended for 30 days last July for taking county-owned car parts, including sirens, from a public works garage. He also was suspended for two days in September 2001 for harassing a female member of the public."

Mary Dots2
Mary Dots2

 when the crooks get caught they lie even more

Citizen
Citizen

She was red eyed because she was hysterical and bawling her eyes out because her husband is a abusive control freak! appeared to have been drinking is not intoxicated. Cops do know the difference and they also know how to state the difference in a report.

RIP Dan
RIP Dan

He should have been terminated immediately? Why? Fletcher can shoot a dog in front of his wife and child and tell the wife she is next and no one does anything about it. This deputy didn't threatened her dad, never said a word to him. He didn't touch  or threaten his ex, but yet Fletcher had 2 yes 2 different counties look at the case to try to have him charged.  He wasn't satisfied with one county saying no there is no case here, he had to send it to another one. We know nothing about the argument between him and his ex other than his comment about her dad but yet you say this makes him unstable?  I don't see that. If it is true that he did choke his wife, I do not see the new brighton police department allowing the ex-wife to decide if she wants to press charges. They would have arrested him and she wouldn't have had anything to say about it.

RIP Dan
RIP Dan

Well Ramesy County Citizen, why would we listen to anything you have to say? You come on here and act like you are just a citizen who doesn't know how to fill out a police report, that you are not a fletcher supporter. blah blah blah... I haven't missed anything. If you google Bob Fletcher and read other articles about him, you really find out what kind of man he is. From city council members, to other deputies. I have read and he is described as ruthless, evil, vindictive, will stop at nothing to get what he wants, to vandalism on people that have betrayed him, combatative, power hungry, controlling, do I need to go on?  These other stories have Nothing to do with this deputy. Nice effort to help good old Bob! Have a great day!

RIP Dan
RIP Dan

Have you ever said something in a heated argument that you didn't mean? In fact I was arguing with someone last night and in the argument I said " oh I could kill you sometimes" After I said it I thought  Wow, of course I didn't mean it. Every one of us has issues and I don't think anyone is blaming Fletcher for anything other than the way he is. Bob's Bob, It just is not right the way he treats people, and the things he does and says are exactly my point. He will do whatever it takes to destroy people he feels have betrayed him. 

HULL
HULL

yah CNN was doing a big story on Bullying and sucide.... someone call!!!!!!!!!

Ramesy County Citizen
Ramesy County Citizen

If you feel like that about the former Sheriff how do you feel about Sheriff Joe? I always put them close...neither of them take any shit and both know how to get things done...but no matter what you will have little snot nose brats complaining....

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