Minneapolis reacts to two Police Killings on the same Day
discussions on the Minneapolis e-democracy forum compiled by William McGaughey
Note. This is available as a Kindle e-book from Amazon.com for $.99 ASIN B00J44SXJS.
The Theme: How Minneapolis' first female police chief was able to play the city’'s political culture like a fiddle to avoid any responsibility for two police killings under suspicious circumstances by launching a well-publicized campaign to stamp out racism in the department.
Part 1 Background of Facts
The discussion forum and backdrop of events:
This book is about two young men, Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero Olivares, who were killed in south Minneapolis on May 10, 2013 through actions of Minneapolis police and also about public reaction to those killings on the Minneapolis e-democracy forum, an internet discussion group. The forum may be accessed online at http://www.e-democracy.org; the Minneapolis discussion group, at http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls.
The book includes the entire record relating to the two killings on the e-democracy forum so far as the editor (himself an active participant) was able to determine. Any person is able to join this discussion group and post messages to the entire group of members. The stated purpose of the Minneapolis issues forum is: “ to discuss local-level Minneapolis civic issues. With over 1600 registered participants, this is a vibrant online space where citizens, elected officials, and community leaders - with diverse ideas and backgrounds - can discuss the important local issues facing our city in a civil and respectful manner.” The messages are uncensored although there are rules for postings relating to frequency and civility which members must accept.
The postings on the Minneapolis e-democracy forum in regard to these two killings come against a backdrop of events. The messages are reacting to the events and to previously posted messages on the same topic. The topics are organized in “threads” - a string of messages on the same topic, each identified by a header. Participants must use their real names. The date of each sequential posting is also listed.
In this case, the backdrop of events includes the following:
1. The killings themselves and their report in the Minneapolis newspaper (the Star Tribune);
2. Minneapolis police chief Janée Harteau’'s public statements about the killings and related matters (and also a personal reaction to those statements);
3. The chief’'s statements and conduct in the following weeks;
4. A series of public “"Justice for Terrance"” rallies staged by friends and supporters of Terrance Franklin;
5. A decision by the Hennepin County Attorney, Michael Freeman, and by a grand jury whether to prosecute the officers who shot Franklin and also official reports on the case released following that decision;
6. Chief Harteau’'s announcement about racial misconduct involving off-duty police officers in other cities and her discussion group to deal with such problems;
7. The 2013 campaign for Minneapolis mayor and city council;
8. Harteau survives any effort to change the police department other than her own;
9. An attempt by police critics to meet with Minneapolis city officials to discuss police policies and practices;
10. An editorial by the compiler of these messages.
Each of the above is briefly stated as follows.
1. The killings themselves and their report in the Star Tribune newspaper:
In the early afternoon of Friday, May 10, 2013, at 1:58 p.m., the maintenance manager of an apartment building in south Minneapolis called 911 to report that a young man he thought may have burglarized a home was spotted in the building. The Minneapolis police responded to the call. When police arrived, the suspect (Terrance Franklin) fled in a stolen car, striking a marked squad car. Franklin later ditched the car and took refuge in a bicycle shop. He fled the bicycle shop when police approached and escaped on foot. The police began searching homes in the neighborhood. A homeowner at 2717 Bryant Avenue South noticed a broken window in the back door of his house and called the police. Three armed police officers arrived, along with a dog. They searched the house. Eventually, the police dog picked up scent from the basement. The police found Franklin hiding behind a water heater. Some sort of scuffle ensued during which Franklin managed to grab an MP5 submachine gun from one of the officers. He then fired shots at the officers with the weapon, wounding two. Another officer then shot and killed Franklin. Franklin died around 3: 35 p.m. The two assisting officers who had been shot in the legs, Michael Meath and Ricardo Muro, were then taken to Hennepin County Medical Center to be treated for their wounds, which were not life-threatening.
Around 4:05 p.m. - a half hour after Franklin’'s death - a young motorcycle driver, Ivan Romero Olivares, and a female passenger, Jocelin Torrejon,who were driving down Blaisdell Avenue collided with a Minneapolis squad car as the squad car heading west on 26th Street with sirens blaring crossed Blaisdell Avenue against the traffic light. There were several accounts as to how fast the squad car was traveling. It was responding to an earlier call for assistance in the incident regarding Terrance Franklin. Romero died immediately; his female passenger survived. Romero’'s dead body remained in the intersection for several hours.
2. Minneapolis police chief Janée Harteau’'s public statements about the killings:
Later in the afternoon, the Minneapolis police chief, Janée Harteau, flanked by Mayor R.T. Rybak, gave an impromptu press conference in front of the Hennepin County Medical Center where the wounded officers were being treated. “"This is a very tough day for the Minneapolis police department,"” she said. Being a police officer is tough work as illustrated by the wounding of two officers. She said that the Minneapolis police were not looking for other suspects. The burglary suspect who had been killed, Terrance Franklin, had a lengthy arrest record, she said. In a later statement chief Harteau said she did not know if the two officers had been shot with a police weapon. She called the investigation “"preliminary” and “complex"”.
(a) A reaction to the chief’'s statement (from William McGaughey): It was quite unusual to have two people killed by police in separate incidents on the same day. I remember thinking, when chief Harteau solicited sympathy for the two wounded officers: My goodness, doesn’'t she realize that the police just killed two people? (Yes, I had sympathy for the officers but killings are much worse than gun shots in the leg.) Then, the disclosure that the killed burglary suspect had a lengthy arrest record seemed intended to make the public not care so much about his death. (Maybe, even, some people would be glad this young thug was taken off the streets.) In situations like this, there should be some minimal level of respect for the deceased.
As more details became available, my doubts about how the police had handled this case only increased. The most glaring problem I saw at the time was the death of the motorcycle rider. Why was a police squad car speeding to a crime scene a full half hour after the crisis had been resolved? (Chief Harteau said only that the situation was “"fluid"”.) Why did it speed through the intersection against a red light instead of stopping briefly to see if any traffic was coming down Blaisdell Avenue, a busy one-way street? There were few details about the shooting of Terrance Franklin so I was inclined to give the police the benefit of the doubt about that situation.
Then, a few days later, it was disclosed that the Minneapolis police had delayed interviewing the officer whose squad car had killed Ivan Romero because of the officer's “anxiety” about his death. They had also not yet interviewed the two wounded officers. If any eyewitnesses had been interviewed, it was not disclosed. Again, this fact struck me as rather unusual. Normally police investigators want to talk with witnesses while their recollections of events are fresh.
3. The chief’'s statements and conduct in the following weeks:
As days turned into weeks, the doubts would not go away. The scenario of events presented by chief Harteau and her associates seemed quite improbable. How could an unarmed burglary suspect, cornered in a basement by five officers and a dog, manage to grab one of the officers’' gun and begin shooting? Aren’'t police officers trained to deal with this type of situation? And why was the officer carrying an MP5 to do a routine check of a burglary suspect? Keep in mind that the police were not responding to a report of a crime in progress but only to a 911 tipster saying that the suspect resembled someone who might have committed a crime. And then the collision between the squad car and motorcycle was totally inexcusable.
In short, it was unreasonable for the public to believe the police story. It might be true but the police would have to come up with a better explanation - a more detailed explanation - before the public could reasonably be expected to come around to believing the official version of events, sparse as it was.
Instead of dealing with the public in a forthright manner, however, chief Harteau took the position that she could not say much about the double killing until the police had completed their investigation. Later, when the investigation was complete, she could not say much until the grand jury was able to review the evidence and reach a decision about the matter - and this could take months.
In the meanwhile, the public would just have to wait for the legal process to run its course before it could begin to form an opinion about whether the police department had acted properly. Rules relating to possible prosecution trumped the public’'s right to judge the conduct of government officials. There was not one word of regret or remorse from this “tough guy”chief, just her laying down the law that for legal and professional reasons the public would have to be content being kept in the dark.
The reaction was fairly evenly mixed between those who thought the public should be patient and wait for the official report after the grand jury had done its work and those who thought the police department owed the public a more timely explanation of what had happened. The medical examiner’'s report was not being released until the Hennepin County Attorney had completed his work. By then, the public would have forgotten about the killing of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero.
4. A series of public “"Justice for Terrance"” rallies staged by friends and supporters of Terrance Franklin:
Some friends of Terrance Franklin organized a series of marches and demonstrations to protest police brutality. The chief organizer was Mel Reeves, a columnist for the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder. Biweekly meetings to plan these events were held in the basement of Zion Baptist church near Olson highway in north Minneapolis.
The first such march took place in downtown Minneapolis starting at “People’'s Plaza” between City Hall and the Hennepin Government Center on Friday, May 31st, at 5:30 p.m. Others included a march in north Minneapolis beginning at the parking lot on Broadway and Dupont Ave. North; a march through the Uptown area of south Minneapolis, ending at Lake Street and Humboldt Ave. South; a rally on July 15th both to demand justice for Terrance Franklin and protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida which drew a huge crowd. The last rally was held on Friday, September 27, 2013 in downtown Minneapolis.
The marches drew dozens of people, individually and from organizations, many carrying signs or banners, and often made the local news. The march in north Minneapolis took place in the rain. The chief demand was to prosecute the Minneapolis police officers who had shot and killed Terrance Franklin, especially Lucas Peterson.
Meanwhile, Terrance Franklin’'s family engaged the services of attorney Michael Padden to sue the city for their son’'s wrongful death. Attorney Padden held a press conference in late May at the Urban League headquarters in north Minneapolis at which a tape shot by a bystander on May 10th picked up some “racist” comments made by police officers on the street outside 2717 Bryant Avenue. Franklin’'s father, Walter, who was allowed to view the body, said that his son had been shot five times in the back of his head. In September, the parents said they could hear their son’'s voice on the tape pleading for mercy just before he was shot.
5. A decision by the Hennepin County Attorney, Michael Freeman, and by a grand jury whether to prosecute the officers who shot Franklin and also official reports on the case that were released following that decision:
On September 19, 2013, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman announced that a grand jury, which heard testimony from 19 witnesses, had declined to prosecute the Minneapolis officers involved in shooting Terrance Franklin. Freeman said the Minneapolis police had done a “"thorough” and “complete"” investigation of the killing. Police chief Harteau said: “"Franklin’'s actions dictated the outcome of that day ... I fully support the actions of my officers and agree with the decision of the grand jury."”
Essentially the police report, which was released later that day, said that Terrance Franklin was hiding in a dark laundry room under a pile of items behind a water heater when several officers entered the room. An officer ordered Franklin to show his hands but the latter refused. Afraid Franklin was armed, an officer punched Franklin in the face. Several officers tried to pull Franklin from behind the water heater. but he shook them loose and charged at some officers. Officer Mark Durand was carrying an MP5. Thrown backward by Franklin’'s charge, Durand loosened his grip on the gun as he braced himself for a fall. The next thing he knew, Franklin had grabbed hold of the trigger and two shots were fired. Someone said, “He’'s got a gun.” Officer Lucas Peterson, fearing he might be next, threw his bulletproof vest over the barrel and then fired his hand gun at Franklin four times. That’'s how Franklin was killed.
The Hennepin County medical examiner’'s report showed that Franklin had been shot ten times. Six bullets had grazed or entered his head while the other four struck his arm, neck and back. The autopsy said he weighed 173 pounds and stood 5 foot 10 inches; the police report said he weighed 196 pounds and stood 5 foot 11 inches tall.
Ed Felien, publisher of Southside Pride, wrote in late October: “"The 228 page Police Report of the killing of Terrance Franklin has contradictions and inconsistencies that should have set off alarms ... There are clear and arrogant admissions of the use of excessive force. There are serious questions as to whether Terrance Franklin was in control of a weapon or was simply executed. " He added, however, that he and former police chief Tony Bouza disagreed on some points in the report.
On November 13, 2013, the Minneapolis police released a video taken in a squad car trailing the other one that showed a blurred object - Romero’'s motorcycle - crashing into the rear end of the squad car ahead. A State patrol reconstuction showed that Romero was speeding. He was not wearing a helmet nor did he have a valid driver’'s license, Harteau said. The Hennepin County Attorney declined to bring charges against the driver of the squad car.
6. Chief Harteau’'s announcement about racial misconduct involving off-duty police officers in other cities and her discussion group to deal with such problems:
By late September, when the police report on Terrance Franklin was released, public attention had shifted away from this incident to what the police department and the city’'s political establishment found a more congenial topic: racism within the ranks of the Minneapolis police force. Once on the defensive, chief Harteau now came out swinging, as a champion of reform.
An article in the Star Tribune on July 30, 2013, reported that, a month earlier, two off-duty Minneapolis police officers had “"disparaged their police chief as a lesbian and insulted members of the Green Bay Police Department during an expletive-laden rant that included racial slurs” during a visit to Green Bay", the article began. They called the local police “a clown show” and said Green Bay was “"too [racial slur] friendly"”, the report said. The Minneapolis officers did not want the incident reported because “"we have a lesbian [expletive] chief that’'s looking to fire people for any reason."” Instead, the Green Bay police sent a 40-page report to their counterparts in Minneapolis. Mayor Rybak said that he was “angered and appalled” by the officers’' behavior. The chair of the City Council’'s Public Safety committee, Don Samuels, called on the officers to resign.
Then, three days later, there was another report in the Star Tribune about three white police officers who had assaulted a black man in a parking lot in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and used racial slurs. Two of the officers pled guilty to disorderly conduct after this incident.
On the following day, August 3rd, police chief Janée Harteau announced that, to deal with problems such as these, she would “"create a dialogue with cultural and faith leaders in the weeks ahead to rebuild the public’'s trust in the (police) department."” She also said: “"The bottom line is that there is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind within the MPD. It will not be tolerated, period."” The Star Tribune article noted that “"the (two) cases came to light as some were already protesting what they saw as racial motivations in the shooting death of Terrance Franklin.”"
The chief’'s announcement struck a responsive chord with the city’'s opinion leaders. An editorial in the Star Tribune on August 3rd headlined “"get to the bottom of police misconduct”" stated: “"What’'s going on with Minneapolis police? The three (off-duty) incidents reflect a bullying, racially biased subculture that has existed within the Minneapolis Police Department for decades ... The department and the city should take a deeper look at hiring practices to avoid bringing officers with these (racist) tendencies onto the force ... We trust these issues are personal for (chief) Harteau. (As) the department’'s first female and lesbian top cop ... she worked her way up through the ranks during a 20-year career in Minneapolis and once filed a gender-based discrimination action against the department she now heads.”"
The move won nearly universal praise. Mayor Rybak’'s spokesman said “"He (the mayor) fully supports Chief Harteau’'s ... resolve not to tolerate racist speech and acts in the department, take decisive action on proven misconduct and earn the community’'s trust."” Mel Reeves, chief organizer of the “"Justice for Terrance"” demonstrations said Mayor Rybak should “"institute a zero tolerance policy on brutality and obvious incidents of racist behavior."” Even the head of the Minneapolis Police Federation, a union representing police, said “"there’'s no place in the department for ‘'racist’' or ‘'bigoted’' officers."”
Now on a roll, chief Harteau convened a closed-door meeting of hand-picked “"community leaders"” on August 7th to discuss how the police department could eliminate racial and other bias. Some prominent black activists such as Mel Reeves and Ron Edwards, former cochair of a federal commission on police brutality, were not included. When Edwards tried to enter the meeting room, he was turned away. Edwards observed that the members of the “"Citizens Advisory Council"” were people Harteau thought she could control. “"They should post an enemies list on this door”", he told a television reporter.
Harteau, of course, saw it differently. She seemed to be out to remake attitudes among the officers. “This is not who we are,” she said, referring to officers in the Green Bay and Apple Valley incidents. Her purpose was to create “"a culture of accountability"” in the police department. A Star Tribune article stated that “"she’'s requiring all officers to say something if they see another officer acting inappropriately. ‘'If you continue to be silent, you’'re part of the problem,’' she said.”
The Star Tribune editorial staff featured this initiative in the Sunday paper on August 11th. The headline for the editorial was “seeking real change in Minneapolis cops.” The gist of it was that talk and good intentions are not enough; we need action. The proposed actions included “community engagement”. (The Wednesday paper, August 7th, had a large picture of chief Harteau high-fiving black teenage girls at a National Night Out event.) The second recommendation pertained to “officer recruitment and hiring”. Hire and promote more officers of color was the recommendation. For the third point of action, “leaders should look to other departments for best practices and quality diversity training.” The fourth point, “accountability”, would be served if “the chief (is) able to discipline and fire offenders without fear that those decisions will be overruled.” No doubt, chief Harteau was pleased by this set of editorial prescriptions.
Somewhat to my surprise, the editorial staff gave me (William McGaughey) the opportunity to publish an opinion article on August 15th, taking a different line. “Incorrect speech riles us up. Police violence, not so much” was the headline. When Mayor Rybak said he was “angered and appalled’' by the off-duty officers’' racial slurs, I observed: “This is the kind of reaction that I had hoped would be forthcoming after the deaths of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero.” I also had the temerity to suggest that police violence may be overlooked because “there is no political profit” in it whereas rebuking white-racist speech wins votes for the DFL party.
In truth, I had been given a tip by a well-informed source that this whole crusade against racist cops had been recommended to the city by an external public-relations firm as a way to deflect criticism in the Terrance Franklin case. In any event, it worked like a charm.
7. The 2013 campaign for Minneapolis mayor and city council: This segment of the public’'s reaction can be summarized in the following words: Nothing much happened. The 2013 contest for mayor of Minneapolis featured a record 35 candidates. The election was conducted by ranked-choice voting. None of the major candidates discussed police issues. They may not have even been asked questions about this, their most important job assignment, even though a major controversy raged over the way that the current chief was handling her job. Instead, the debates were mostly about making Minneapolis a green city and, especially, reducing racial disparities in Minneapolis public schools. The Mayor has no authority in this area; the school board does.
There happened to be one candidate, Cyd Gorman, who made “police reform” her main issue. Unfortunately, her eldest son had been brought up on bogus murder charges by the Minneapolis police and she had to care for her two-month-old parent-less grandchild. Unable to do any campaigning, Gorman finished second to last. The eventual winner of the mayoral election, Betsy Hodges, did, however, touch upon the police-brutality issue in proposing that the department equip officers with cameras who are sent out on dangerous assignments (such as to apprehend Terrance Franklin).
8. Harteau survives any effort to change the police department other than her own: After the dust had settled on the Terrance Franklin controversy, chief Janée Harteau had survived the criticism. Not up for reappointment just yet, she would remain police chief in the incoming Hodges administration. Her initiatives to stamp out racial bigotry in the department were coming along nicely. The Police Conduct Oversight Committee reports for March 2014 show a preoccupation with diversity training.
Harteau herself was attracting favorable publicity. On December 3rd, there was an item in CJ’'s gossip column in the Star Tribune about Harteau’'s deft moves on the dance floor. On December 4th, Harteau announced that she had decided to fire the two officers who had disparaged her and used racial slurs in Green Bay. And, the Police Federation offered them no help. Better still, Ron Edwards, who had complained bitterly about being excluded from the chief’'s “Citizens Advisory Council” in August, was now praising Harteau as a leader. A Star Tribune editorial supporting Harteau’'s decision to fire the officers quoted him as saying that the chief “"is sending a message that disrespect under her leadership will not be tolerated, and I commend her for her courage."” It was unclear what had changed Edwards’' mind about Harteau’'s leadership style.
Then, on December 24th (Christmas eve) chief Harteau announced that she would require all 800 + Minneapolis police to sign a statement acknowledging that officers who leaked sensitive information in ongoing investigations would be subject to criminal prosecution and/or dismissal from the department. Evidently there would be zero tolerance not only of racists but of whistle-blowers. On December 30th, the Star Tribune editorial board praised Harteau for outsourcing certain internal investigations to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension although the Governor complained that he had not been consulted about this in advance and would not accept the deal. Finally, on January 6, 2014, it was announced that chief Harteau had created a new position within the police department to be a liaison to minority communities. She had hired Mayor Rybak’'s aide, Sherman Patterson, to fill that position.
For the first month or two into 2014, there was little or no news about the chief or what the police department was doing. Winters are always a bit slow for police activity and this one was quite severe. Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero were resting in their graves, presumably forgotten by the public. Then, however, a spokesperson for the Minneapolis police department on March 5th held a press conference to announce that a sock had been found near 2717 Bryant Avenue south containing Terrance Franklin’'s DNA. There was a stolen gun inside.
What was the point of this disclosure? It did not shed new light on the circumstances of Franklin’'s conduct preceding his death. The only possible purpose was to vilify this man further, suggesting that he perhaps had stolen this weapon and therefore was a dangerous criminal. And Harteau is not one who tolerates that type of person either.
However, the move may have backfired. Terrance Franklin was “back in the news”; and with him came Janée Harteau. This latest public-relations maneuver has prompted several persons on the Minneapolis e-democracy forum to consider going to their newly elected officials to see what can be done to reform the Minneapolis police department. An appointment was made to meet with the chair of the City Council’'s Public Safety Committee, Blong Yang, to discuss this matter on March 31st.
9. An attempt by police critics to meet with Minneapolis elected officials to discuss police policies and practices:
Fifth Ward Council member Blong Yang, chair of the public safety committee, called Ed Felien after receiving a letter from William McGaughey requesting a meeting. Yang’'s assistant set up a meeting for March 31, 2014.
Part 2 The Police Killings on May 10th and Reaction on the E-democracy Forum (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
5/12/13 Star Tribune article: “"Man killed in struggle with Mpls. police was shot multiple times."”
5/13/13 Star Tribune article: “"Questions remain about Friday’'s fatal Mpls. shooting, collision."”
5/13/13 Star Tribune article: “"Minneapolis officer hasn’'t yet talked to police about fatal crash."”
5/15/13 Star Tribune article: “"Friends of motorcyclist killed in crash seeks answers."”
5/17/13 Star Tribune article: “"Minneapolis police identify officer who was driving vehicle that motorcyclist struck".”
Two Civilians Down
From: Bill McGaughey Date: May 13, 2013, 8:25 am
I may not have all the information needed to reach a sound judgment on this matter but, on the face of it, the incident of the Minneapolis police killing two men in south Minneapolis two days ago smells.
The facts as I know them:
A potentially dangerous man was loose near Bryant and 27th although he did not initially have a gun. The police cornered him in a house, there was a fight, the man grabbed an officer's gun and fired several shots, two officers were slightly wounded, and other officers then riddled the man with bullets, killing him.
At least a dozen squad cars responded to this emergency. A half hour after the first incident was over, one of the squad cars sped through a red light with its emergency lights on striking and killing a young man on a motorcycle. No ambulance arrived for a long time. I may be wrong about this but I believe the squad car was going around 50 miles per hour and did not slow down at the intersection. Blaisdell, a one-way street, has a fair amount of traffic going at a brisk rate of speed.
The Minneapolis police are releasing few details pending an internal investigation. The mayor could not be reached.
I do not believe this is good enough. The public deserves timely information about this matter. Friends and family of the deceased motorcycle driver deserve an apology from the police. Having the emergency lights on is not good enough. Squad cars need to slow down and look when they cross busy intersections. And is police radio communication so bad that squad cars continue to race to the scene of an emergency long after the emergency is over? And there are also some potentially disturbing details about the first incident.
Yes, the public needs to put the spotlight of scrutiny on MPD personnel and procedures and get some assurance of steps to be taken so that things like this do not repeat.
From: Jack Ferman Date: May 13, 2013 9:57 am
I have noticed that mounted above the traffic light a small white light comes on and blinks when an emergency vehicle comes near. There have been times when the siren could be heard but was distant and the white light came on and blinked, then when the sirens became close the traffic signal turned green for the emergency vehicle. It is my suspicion that when the emergency vehicle flips the sirens and flashing lights on and the signal to activate the traffic lights flips on automatically. Also, police, fire, ER sirens are loud and ear splitting and motor cycles are loud and noisy. So it is easy to realize that the motorcycle drive could not have heard the sirens above his own nose. And the motorcycles noise might have deprived other car drivers and pedestrians on hearing the sirens. The traffic codes grant emergency vehicles right-of-way when sirens and lights are on. The police vehicle would have sustained damage - will the costs to repair be borne by the motorcyclists insurance contract?
From: Michael Thompson Date: May 13, 2013 10:23 am
As I understand it, there are a couple of different accounts of what happened. In regard to the motorcyclist, the paper (for what that is worth) is reporting that the squad cars were driving through the intersection against the red at a speed slower than the posted speed limit. Maybe they moved through the intersection slowly as they were going against the light and the motorcycle hit the rear of the MPD SUV, as the paper has reported. What I can't understand is why the police are still moving toward the crime scene with lights and sirens 35 minutes AFTER the suspect is dead and AFTER the two wounded officers were already at HCMC. I'm not a cop, don't profess to be one, but was running the red necessary after the suspect was dead and the two wounded officers already in the hospital.
Not sure if the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet. It has been reported that he was wearing flip-flops, so I do not believe it a stretch to conclude that he was not the world's brightest biker. That said, if the MPD is to blame, then I will stand by that.
As for the dead criminal........ whatever. As if on cue, mother was one the radio telling us all how her son wouldn't shoot a police officer. I suspect "he was just beginning to get his life together" (but had to commit one more burglary just for good measure.) I hope mom gets her head out of the sand soon. Struggling with police with automatic weapons usually doesn't end well. I frankly couldn't care less about how poorly things ended for him.
From: Doug Mann Date: May 13, 2013 10:29 am
Does forensic evidence support the cop's version of the shoot-out in the basement?
Were the police following protocol which they should have been trained to follow in making the arrest?
Can we rely on an in-house investigation to rule out police misconduct?
-Doug Mann, candidate for Mayor, North side resident
From: joan thom Date: May 13, 2013 10:57 am
If you saw the Pictures of the Squad last Night shown on WCCO TV News the Motorcycle hit the Squad car in the Passenger Tire. That is how the damage to the Squad shows it.
From: Brian Stricherz Date: May 13, 2013 2:08 pm
Are the two cops who were pursuing the burglar part of a SWAT team or other auxiliary unit? Because I'd be a little surprised if regular police are armed with sub-machine guns for routine calls. How many situations necessitate a sub-machine gun?
From: John Gaylord Date: May 13, 2013 6:53 pm
These comments, in my opinion, belie a lack of empathy for public servants - that is, the ability to imagine ourself in another's place.
It's a tough job and requires lots of personal risk. They are not always going to be correct, but let's let the rule of law define our path and any resulting action.
From: Emilie Quast, SE Como Date: May 13, 2013 8:25 pm
I've all but finished this spring's MPD Citizen's Academy. In the last ten weeks I have listened to a LOT of cops tell me about their jobs. The dedication they have is palpable. So, I agree with John Gaylord.
In the last ten weeks I've met some people I'd love to be friends with and a very few that kind of scare me, but there is no question that any of those people would put themselves between me and danger. Probably the scarey ones are the ones who'd move faster, deeper, first.
They all let you know they're going to be there.
If they don't expect me to always make the right decision (and they have stated they don't expect that) , then I'll sit back and let the investigation take place before I make a decision.
From: Dave Garland Date: May 13, 2013 10:24 pm
On 5/13/2013, John Gaylord wrote:
"These comments, in my opinion, belie a lack of empathy for public servants - that is, the ability to imagine ourself in another's place ... It's a tough job and requires lots of personal risk."
It does indeed, but let's not forget that of the top 10 dangerous occupations, in most years police officer is somewhere around #11. Garbageman, pilot, farmer, truck driver, and roofer are among the
common jobs that usually see a higher on-the-job fatality rate than police officers.
They are not always going to be correct, but let's let the rule of law define our path and any resulting action.
And let us ensure that they themselves are held responsible if they fail comply with the law (Gang Strike Task Force, anyone?).
I don't have any opinion as to the current 2 deaths, certainly waving a weapon at a police officer seems like pushing one's luck.
From: Bill Kahn Date: May 14, 2013 1:46 pm
I meant to forward this City press release I was sent yesterday, but ran out of posts after clarifying some stuff written a out the w2 DFL convention.
I guess we have to continue to wait and see just how much transparency Chief Harteau is able to bring to MPD.
From: Keith Reitman Date: May 15, 2013 4:42 am
My sincere condolences to those who knew or loved the deceased cyclist. In the matter of the collision it is possible, on an open stretch of road on a sunny day, that the cyclist was driving faster than the speed limit, or even much faster. Young of age, flip-flops on feet, no helmet, friend girl on the back. Giddy-up? And, Valid driver's license in pocket?
From: Bill McGaughey Date: May 15, 2013 12:02 pm
It is now five days after the unfortunate incidents. The Minneapolis police owe the public an explanation soon. I am especially concerned about the incident at Blaisdell and 26th.
Was the squad car traveling well under the posted speed limit or was it traveling 40 to 50 miles per hour as two eyewitnesses testified?
Was there any attempt to slow down or look at traffic as the squad car approached Blaisdell?
Why was a squad car dispatched to the scene of the emergency on Bryant thirty minutes after that situation was under control?
Answers, please, Ms. Harteau. Did the police do anything wrong and, if so, what steps do you propose to avoid similar situations?
From: Jim Graham Date: May 15, 2013 3:41 pm
As someone who really does support the police most of the time I am disturbed about this in more than one way. Only the week before the incident I asked a police officer who I have known for years why so many police officers rush to the scene of a police shooting long after the action is clearly over and all they will do is stand around talking to other officers. That if I wanted to rob a bank I would get a police scanner and wait for such an incident then proceed to a bank or jewelry store somewhere and do the robbery. I would certainly be safe from any police pursuit because they would ALL be at the incident for the next hour. He said because it breaks up the monotony of the day, and is a cool thing to do.
I am more than a little biased about this I must truthfully admit, even if I generally support police officers. Having kids who were and are police officers. That being said, I think that ANY police officer who is involved in such an accident should be charged just as if they were a civilian if they are breaking the traffic laws when NOT going to an actual emergency call. The reason I am biased is because I was once hit by a Minneapolis Police cruiser that came through an intersection going at minimum 60 or 70 miles per hour. This resulted in a fractured spine, soft tissue damage a concussion, and over thirty years of pain on a daily basis besides about five months in a body cast. So I am biased I must admit. By the way the officers were on a non-emergency suspicion of burglary call. And did not have a siren or lights on. Then Minneapolis police had the gall to bring me a ticket for failing to yield to the police car while I was laying in hospital in traction.
Still, even though I typically support the police absolutely do not when the police break the law in any way. There is a law about speeding for police when not on an emergency call. Police do need to be held to a higher standard. No one, especially the police, the Mayor, and the Council Members especially, should be above the law. Even if some Council Members and the Mayor seem to think they are.
From: andrea schaerf Date: May 15, 2013 6:17 pm
The Chief said other cars were stopped at the green light and that the squad was going about 61 mph. She said it was all caught on video.
From: Bob Carney Jr. Date: May 15, 2013 6:18 pm
I was at Chief Harteau's news conference, videotaping, and I asked her: given that emergency vehicles can change traffic signals -- why didn't that happen? She said it was a good question, and that she didn't know. A few minutes later, someone handed her a note, they talked, and she said she had been told that particular intersection was not equipped to pick up signals from emergency vehicles. I was surprised to hear that some intersections don't have this equipment. As I left, one other journalist was following up with a municipal official with more questions about the absence of automated light changing equipment.
She said the police vehicle was going about 16-17 MPH at the time of the collision, but didn't know its location when it received the call to respond, or how fast it may have been going shortly before the collision -- i.e., the speed it may have slowed down from.
Attached is a screen print from Hennepin County property site, showing the intersection, with a red line of sight line. As you can see, the apartment building on the North East corner is right up against the sidewalk on 26th -- only a few feet of grass separates the building and Blaisdell. Even at 16-17 MPH, looking at the layout it appears the police squad would have had about 3 seconds or less between the time the motorcycle could have first became visible and the moment of the collision. There is a parking lot on the south side of the intersection between Blaisdell and Nicollet -- the sound of a siren did not have a surface to rebound north down Blaisdell. The North East corner apartment would obstruct the sound of the siren going on to Blaisdell.
I'll have more to post on this later.
From: Terrell Brown Date: May 15, 2013 6:36 pm
I'm interested in a couple of questions: Was the motorcyclist wearing a helmet that may have limited his ability to hear a siren? Was the headlight of the motorcycle on?
Regardless, in this city all (or most) fire and ambulance vehicles stop and look prior to entering an intersection while they are operating their lights and sirens, the fire department sounds very loud air horns prior to entering the intersection when the lights are red. Why doesn't the Police Department follow the same procedure, that few seconds may well have saved a life and a serious injury .... in this case the emergency had ended half an hour plus earlier.
If the squad(s) were going about 61 mph (even 40-50) in the area of 26th and Blaisdell, there is no excuse for that. It is a densely populated area, a fair number of kids and approaching a school. Safe driving is a reasonable expectation of the Police Department, training should teach them not to let addrenilan take over. The County Attorney needs to look at Criminal Vehiclar Homicide charges, it certainly appears to be an incident where safety was totally disregarded.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: May 15, 2013 8:54 pm
This is all rather confusing. The Star Tribune said today that the police chief said the squad car approaching Blaisdell was going only 16 to 17 m.p.h. An earlier posting says the chief admitted the squad car was going 61 m.p.h. Two eyewitnesses thought the speed was between 40 and 50 m.p.h. Which is right?
Another disturbing fact is that, after five days, the driver of the squad car has not yet given a statement because he was too "shaken" from the incident.
And apparently no one has pressed the police chief to explain why the vehicle was speeding to a crime scene 30 minutes after the action was over.
None of this produces confidence in the Minneapolis police department. I'm all for thorough investigations but this one strikes me more as PR damage control. Where are the mayoral candidates on this issue? It should be right up their alley.
Enough of damage control. Let's have an admission of wrong doing by the police followed by a specific promise to do things differently in the future.
From: David Fehlan Date: May 16, 2013 8:03 am
It's not just the delay in releasing information that reeks of incompetence and/or a cover-up, it's that three police officers apparently get to live by rules different than everyone else.
They get to talk to investigators when they feel like it, and it's been six days and counting. By this time, they've either fabricated a story to make themselves look blameless or their memories are simply not going to be as good.
From: Jim Mork Date: May 16, 2013 10:28 am
Was the officer a Minneapolis nonresident? I think the guy who murdered a truck driver on 36th Avenue a while back was. There was great controversy in that case, and it got swept under the rug. (Mayor) Rybak seemed to dodge the issue.
From: Dann Dobson Date: May 16, 2013 10:31 am
I am concerned that 5 days after a fatal accident the Minneapolis. Police still haven't taken a statement from the officer involved.
If any of us ran a red light and caused a fatality, we would have our statement taken then and there. Why the delay?
The question needs to be answered why was this officer speeding to the scene of this shooting, with siren and red lights on, 35 minutes after the accused shooter was dead and after the injured officers were already at HCMC. What was the rush?
The transparency promised by the new chief is not looking good.
From: Janet Nye Date: May 16, 2013 10:48 am
For anyone interested there is a memorial tonight at 7 pm for the young motorcyclist at Plaza Verde located near Lake and Bloomington. There is also a memorial for Terrence Franklin at 6 pm on Friday at 27th and Bryant. Remember, he was a "suspect" and did what is natural for a young black man to do when chased by the police. He ran. This does not make him guilty as I fear many people think he was. Certainly it was not for the police to decide his guilt, and the stories around his death are quite unclear and conflicting. Apart from that, I don't believe death by firing squad is the penalty for burglary.
From: Gary Farland Date: May 16, 2013 2:58 pm
The long and short of it is that the police had an unarmed young man cornered in a basement, who was suspected of a non-violent crime. They should have been able to arrest him without incident. Instead, they had a dog attack him and then wrestled with him with a fully automatic pistol. The police then over-reacted by streaming in many police from a number of jurisdictions causing a fatal accident and needlessly taping off six square blocks. While I recognize that the police have a difficult job and I am willing to allow them some slack, I think this over-reaction was disruptive and even dangerous.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: May 16, 2013 5:50 pm
I resent you conflating an innocent civilian with a thug perpetrator. An innocent civilian is dead. It is a tragedy. A worthless thug got what he asked for. We should all cheer.
I am very worried about the many posting in this thread who don't want to wait until the facts come out. The police department investigates all officer-involved shootings. That is where this is at now. When the department is finished with its investigation, the file will be turned over to the county attorney for possible prosecution. Any officer who did wrong will have to answer. The hostile is dead, so he will never be tried. We will have to be satisfied with his past record, which includes multiple convictions for assault with firearms.
There is also an investigation into the collision. Any officer who did wrong will have to take his or her lumps.
Terrence Franklin was one of our worst civil rights violators. The kind of person who makes us afraid to go out after dark, and sometimes in the daylight. The kind of animal who makes parts of our city completely unlivable. Dead or alive, his behavior should be condemned by all righteous citizens.
I really wonder about the moral bankruptcy of those who can never issue enough praise for every thug they ever heard of.
From: andrea schaerf Date: May 16, 2013 6:18 pm
often or always a trained dog is sent ahead of officers when someone they are trying to catch has taken refuge somewhere. the police were trying to restrain the man when he took a gun held by a shoulder strap and supposedly shot them in the legs. The other cops or cops killed him. If he had not ran from the police in his car , then on foot. broke into a strangers house, hid in the basement, tried to get the police dog off him, grabbed the police officers gun, I doubt he woulda been shot.The perp may not have had a gun i would guess or he would shot the dog. Or the cops coming down the steps. But hey ya never know.
From: andrea schaerf Date: May 16, 2013 6:26 pm
The chief said there were cars waiting in both directions at the green light. It was all video taped. One of those buildings must have had cameras or the one in the police car. After the highway patrol went over it, she would release more. I would guess the officer would be upset to get hit in the side and have such a terrible tragedy happen. I would guess since he cant change anything that's on video, they may let him recover and hope to keep him on.
From: Brian Stricherz Date: May 16, 2013 6:34 pm
Susan Goldberg wrote: "Any officer who did wrong will have to answer. "
Me: Answer to who? Five days and counting and the cop driving the SUV still hasn't given a statement of what happened. I'd like to have more faith in the system, but when you see bad cops in the past go unpunished for bad behavior, it's hard to have a whole lot of faith.
Susan Goldberg wrote: "The kind of person who makes us afraid to go out after dark, and sometimes in the daylight. The kind of animal who makes parts of our city completely unlivable."
Me: If the guy shot the cops, then they did what they had to do. But that guy most certainly did not make me afraid to go out after dark, and sometimes in the daylight. I'm not sure who "us" is.
@Andrea Schaerf: Where did you get your information from? I've read next to nothing about what happened.
Lastly, does anyone know if most cops are now armed with sub-machine guns? Or were these cops part of a SWAT team? If not, when did regular cops start carrying smg's?
From: Bill McGaughey Date: May 16, 2013 6:47 pm
Susan, Terrence Franklin may have had a criminal record but that does not make him an animal who deserved to be shot to death. Any time armed police kill someone should be a cause for concern. If officers were themselves in great danger, it may be justified but there does not seem to be enough evidence in this situation to conclude that they were in danger. Maybe further information will come out.
You say we must wait for a full investigation to be completed before criticizing the police. Who are you to say that? Baloney. As citizens of this great city, we all have a right to comment.
I say six days is enough time for the police to find out why a squad car was being dispatched to an emergency at a high rate of speed a half hour after the emergency was over. The public deserves prompt answers. It does not deserve PR excuses if the police were at fault.
From: Ed Felien Date: May 16, 2013 7:27 pm
Thank you Bill for spearheading this people's investigation.
From: Bill Kahn Date: May 16, 2013 7:41 pm
I have been loath to weigh in here since I really don't have any idea what went down in that house, but since apparently it is my civic duty, What the hey?
I'd always assumed that one or more officers had not followed procedure in trying to catch this particular bad guy (prima facie evidence of him being a bad guy is sufficient for me too, although I'd say stupid predominates); one or more of these officers deserves some major discipline and retraining or perhaps suspension or firing.
It all depends on what actually happened and who was armed with what as they came into the house. Statements and forensic evidence should help if we can get them.
As far as the motorcyclist, I guess my friend Jim Graham has that covered.
Hopefully, we shall see the truth through the new Chief Harteau transparency;-).
From: Bob Carney Jr. Date: May 16, 2013 8:25 pm
News event: Father of Waters in City Hall Atrium, Monday, May 20th at 3:00 PM
Attached is a news release. I'm calling for an investigation of the city’'s emergency vehicle traffic signal override system. In response to my question at a Wednesday news conference held by Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau, it emerged that equipment to change traffic lights to red when emergency vehicles are approaching was not installed at 26th and Blaisdell. Chief Harteau confirmed yesterday that the police vehicle “did have the red light.”
It appears this tragedy would not have happened had that equipment been installed. The motorcyclist, Ivan Romero, would have had a red light, and would have stopped.
I will hold a news event at the Father of Waters statue in the City Hall Atrium at 3:00 PM Monday. I am inviting Council members, other Mayoral candidates, and all interested citizens, to join me at the news event to demand the proposed investigation. I will also call for a significant increase in city audits and program evaluations – to ensure the city both anticipates and avoids the kind of preventable risks that resulted in last week’'s tragic collision.
I spoke today with Matt Laible of the City’'s Communications Department, who returned my call and had one immediate answer, stating Minneapolis has: “about 800 signalized intersections, and about half currently have the equipment.” Laible anticipates having answers by Friday afternoon to many or all of an additional list of my questions.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: May 17, 2013 1:13 am
Brian Stricherz said:
“But that guy most certainly did not make me afraid to go out after dark, and sometimes in the daylight. I'm not sure who "us" is.”
1. Rages at Brian Stricherz
2. WOMEN! It is women who are marginalized and forced indoors by violent crime.
From: joan thom Date: May 17, 2013 3:50 am
The bad part of the Light change system is everyone has become desensitized because of the Light Rail triggering them all the time.
From: Fredda Scobey Date: May 17, 2013 7:48 am
From my perspective, the Light Rail/light change system has had just the opposite effect.
Who wants to get hit by a train?
From: Brian Stricherz Date: May 18, 2013 12:16 am
Let me get this straight, women are (in Susan Goldberg's words) "forced indoors by violent crime" and should be "afraid to go out after dark, and sometimes in the daylight"? I routinely see women walking in Minneapolis sans any male accompaniment or police escort, even at night! Clearly there are number of women for whom Susan Goldberg does not speak for.
And Mr. Graham, most rapists and murderers aren't random "animal" "thug" "predators" on the street, they are likely to be family, friends, and acquaintances.
From: Bob Carney Jr. Date: May 18, 2013 9:19 am
I'm continuing to get information about the automatic signal changing equipment, which is not installed at 26th and Blaisdell. Here's an update.
I asked the City's Internal Auditor, Magdy Mossaad, if his department has looked at the kinds of risks associated with emergency vehicles going through red lights and injuring or killing people. He said: "No we did not." His department is currently back down to one auditor -- himself -- after a second auditor left. He said in principle the risk of not having signal changing equipment installed could be something within the scope of his department's ability to audit.
Matthew Laible of the City's Communications Department e-mailed me additional answers to my questions. He said: "The cost to upgrade an intersection is between $15,000 and $30,000, depending on the intersection, and those costs are typically covered as part of a larger reconstruction project. This year we expect to put in new signals with the technology at about 20 intersections."
At a rate of 20 installations a year, it would take 20 years to have the equipment installed at all Minneapolis intersections.
I am surprised the cost is that high -- and am wondering if it is the cost of the equipment itself, or more likely a "fully loaded" internal cost accounting figure.
I confirmed today that no events are scheduled at the Father of Waters statute in the City Hall Atrium for 3 PM Monday -- I will have a news conference there to call for an investigation of what appears to be a very inadequate plan for installing signal changing equipment in Minneapolis. Everyone is invited to join me in calling for this investigation.
Below is Liable's full e-mail to me. At the end he asks about whether I am writing for the Pioneer Press -- I am not -- I have no idea how anyone got that idea. Reporters for the Pioneer Press are on my news release e-mail list, but of course sending a news release to a newspaper and writing for that newspaper are two different things.
Following up on your questions, Public Works pulled some information together, and here’'s what we have. First, it should be noted that the City has over 10,000 intersections, most of which are controlled by stop signs. As I mentioned, about half of our 800 signalized intersections have emergency vehicle signal preemption equipment, and that number continues to grow. As signals are upgraded or rebuilt across the City, the equipment is added at those intersections. The cost to upgrade an intersection is between $15,000 and $30,000, depending on the intersection, and those costs are typically covered as part of a larger reconstruction project. This year we expect to put in new signals with the technology at about 20 intersections.
The technology is an emitter/receiver system using a strobe within the vehicle that emits a light pulse. The traffic signal receives the pulse and preempts the signal. The preempt either holds the green phase or implements a change from red to green phase.
Metro Transit would be able to tell you more about light rail trains, but in general, they use a different system based on railroad technology that uses detectors on the tracks.
The current emitter/receiver technology could be used for buses, however, it’'s not used that way in Minneapolis. If buses did use it, for example, the technology would be able to prioritize emergency vehicles over buses. On your last question, we’'ve not observed or heard about any type of misuse by members of the public tapping into the system. The system is encoded to prevent that.
I also understand that you’'ve called Council Member Tuthill’'s office. My understanding was that they’'d been told you’'re writing for the Pioneer Press—can you clarify that for me? In the meantime, you can let me know if you have additional questions and I can get those answers from staff.
City of Minneapolis Communications Department"
From: Pat Byrne Date: May 19, 2013 7:11 pm
The recent discussion on signalized intersection safety brought back a few conversations and observations.
I started working in Minneapolis about seven years ago. I live in St. Paul. And I was amazed at the number of times I saw emergency vehicles going thru red lights with cross traffic still having a green. Signalized intersections in St. Paul are approximately 100% equipped with an Opticon system, a system giving emergency vehicle preemption, turning the lights their direction green and the cross direction red.
When I asked Traffic Operations in Public Works why Minneapolis never completed theirs, the answer was that it was an economic decision.
Bugged me a bit as in the early 70's I worked part time driving trucks with a company that hired fire fighters as part time drivers. And one of the guys I worked with had been on the fire truck that had an accident at Lexington and University where a vehicle had been hit by the truck, it exploded, and a family burned to death. He talked about the devastation that the people on the truck felt, and he never wanted to go thru anything like that again.
I'm pretty sure that accident spurred or helped spur St. Paul on a good tack with Opticon.
I did drive to the intersection of Blaisdell and 26th to look. Yes, no Opticon system, but that was predictable by the accident description. And there was confusing lane striping for west bound 26th turning south. But that shouldn't have influenced anything. Caught a reporter there and chatted a bit. He asked what % of Minneapolis had Opticon. I had no idea. I'd guess 30% based on my experience (I've heard 50% since, as a guess), but anything short of 100% you'd be better off asking what % of traffic involved intersections with Opticon rather than % of intersections. Also Minneapolis has twice as many intersections so the economic question is a bit greater.
I could leave that email right there but it roped me into another direction, another agenda, again economic, and again with Public Works.
I've had the opportunity a couple of times to compare work practices and costs between Minneapolis Public Works and St. Paul Public Works. I've worked for both. Neither, now.
With a couple of quick unofficial investigative questions it appeared to me that it costs 50% to 80% more to construct streets in Minneapolis than in St. Paul, while using almost identical standards (except alley construction - Minneapolis wants concrete based alleys)
In a different area, again with a few quick unofficial investigative questions it appeared to me that Minneapolis has a budget of approximately $8 M to sweep streets while St. Paul used $4.5 M to sweep streets, all with approximately the same number of miles of streets. Did you know the land area of Minneapolis is less than 6% larger than St. Paul. Much higher population density. Probably why Minneapolis has twice as many of those signalized intersections.
Another interesting difference was that in Minneapolis that street sweeping is paid for completely by the money raised for storm water management thru taxes or charges to property, while in St. Paul only about 25% or less is funded with their storm water management funds, also raised by taxes or charges on property. There should be some accountability issues here.
While I've asked many times, I got no answer to why these things are.
Once again, I think that could be a subject all by it self. But once again I'm led to yet another connection, agenda, and again, money.
Recently there were discussion about Sandra Colvin Roy and the fact that she didn't get indorsed because of her decision concerning the stadium. I wasn't fond of that decision either. But one connection is that she is chair of the Public Works and Transportation committee that oversees Public Works spending and budget priorities. I'd like to see her more vulnerable and held more accountable because of poor priorities.
Now someone will, as they have in the past, try to say the funding for the two, PW and Stadiums, come from two very different sources. I've worked with those budget pros for almost thirty three years and I still love the way they try to obscure the primary connection and play their games. Both sources include the tax payers' pockets, and if other choices were made; that funding could have gone different directions.
Also, there is no way one area, such as public safety, or education, is going to be 100% funded, leaving another, possibly legitimate area, hugely underfunded. Choices do have to be made. But a couple of the examples listed above are efficiency questions, not choice questions. And on the choice question is still comes down to lives and accountability versus short term economic solutions for construction and welfare for billionaires.
I hope you folks vote her out. I hope you ask more questions. And I certainly hope you get more answers than I did. And I hope future agendas include more Opticon installations for emergency vehicles.
I apologize to the motorcyclist's family and friends for using the occasion to not only comment on that accident but a bit of other, connected, items on my agenda.
From: Jack Ferman Date: May 19, 2013 9:14 pm
Pat raises a number of very fundamental issues which should trigger extensive analysis. The 26th and Blaisdell is a major intersection if traffic count is a criterion. I have used it thousands of times. Both streets are 2 lane One Ways so traffic is usually faster. So why doesn't that intersection have the Opticon technology. Shouldn't the local CCM be demanding it. Does the city have a database on traffic intensity at all of it's intersections and are individual CCMs aware of the Opticon coverage in their wards.
About the collison incident; the squad car had its flashers and siren going, the law grants all emergency vehicles on emergency with lights and sirens on the right of way at all intersections, period. No Opticon is not a police responsibility but is a city responsibility. This should tell us where to glare for answers. How do we get the responsible people on the hot seat.
From: Marcus Anderberg Date: May 19, 2013 10:54 pm
My guess is the truth will put the MPD at risk of a major lawsuit. Hence the silence. Can we have someone with credibility talk to us about what happened? Or is that out of bounds?
Who's more dangerous to the community? An unarmed suspected burglar or police officers driving through crowded city neighborhoods at deadly speeds?
From: Connie Sullivan Date: May 20, 2013 9:23 am
Is there a map of Minneapolis, available to the public and on-line, that shows which intersections have the Opticon system and which do not?
If we have that information, maybe we out here actually living in the neighborhoods can inform our Council Members and Public Works (who are not really very sensitive to the public, by the way) of where we need them most.
Then, we can begin a fierce lobbying effort, grass-roots style, to get the city to install the system at 100% of interesections.
That we do not currently have this (thanks, Pat Byrne, for your great information!) is a scandal in the 21st century.
The Council has tended to bury budget problems in the thick weeds of Public Works--where they also made a slick decision to do only quick fixes to our streets rather than the honest and complete re-dos on the thirty-year rotation basis that had been standard operating procedure for decades. Saving money temporarily, don't you know, at the expense of our streets' quality.
From: David Tilsen Date: May 20, 2013 10:34am,
This is a good information site about opticom.
here is an excerpt without pictures.
Almost all of the traffic signals in the Twin Cities Metro area have been converted to employ the use of traffic preemption devices, such as GTT's Opticom™. Intersections so equipped are usually easy to identify by the presence of a receiver, and most equipped intersections also have a confirmation light, a visual signal device, which is simply a clear floodlight for each directional approach to the intersection.
When an equipped intersection detects a confirmed preemption signal from an emergency vehicle equipped with an emitter, all of the confirmation lights begin to operate immediately. Approaching trains may also preempt the intersection and cause the confirmation lights to operate. The floodlight aimed in the direction from which the activation was received will illuminate and remain on in a steady burn, to notify the operator of the emergency vehicle that the traffic signal has acquired the request to pre-empt traffic. The remaining floodlights, aimed in all other directions, will begin flashing, which serves two purposes. first, all other traffic will have a specific signal informing them that this is not just any ordinary red light, but that an emergency vehicle is approaching the intersection. This will hopefully
encourage drivers to not take any free right turns or try to run a late yellow light, and just sit tight until the emergency vehicle passes. Second, and more importantly, in the event more than one emergency vehicle is approaching the intersection at the same time from different directions, the flashing signal communicates to the emergency vehicle driver who was not granted pre-emption that another emergency vehicle has acquired the green light in a different direction. This driver must now take extreme care in approaching and proceeding through the intersection, since they will probably not have a green light when they get there. One of the greatest dangers to responding emergency vehicles is not being able to hear each other's sirens when more than one of them approaches the same intersection at the same time. It is not uncommon; however, for an intersection to quickly grant access to additional emergency vehicles approaching from different directions after the first has already passed. In any case, if you are at a red light and see the floodlight in front of you flashing, you can check the other floodlights to find the one not flashing (staying on), and therefore figure out from which direction the acquired emergency vehicle is approaching. All of the confirmation lights will flash if a train (heavy rail or light rail) has preempted the intersection.
Emergency vehicle operators should consider that the Opticom™ system preemption is not instantaneous. When a traffic signal receives activation, it has pre-programmed normal tolerances that it must cycle through to ensure all traffic is clear of the intersection before providing a green light to the approaching emergency vehicle. This may simply require the normal lag time for other directional signals to turn yellow and then red, including the normal all-red delay. In some cases this lag time may be extended when a pedestrian signal must also be cleared, since pedestrians must be given extra time to
clear an intersection before a green light is granted which could expose them to traffic.
Part 3 Dissatisfaction with the police chief's lack of disclosure (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
5/31/13 Star Tribune article: “"Family of man killed in struggle with Mpls. police seeks answers."”
6/7/13 Star Tribune editorial: “"Make cops answer for costly misconduct".”
6/22/13 Star Tribune article: “"Minneapolis’' new police chief put to the test early in tenure."
7/2/13 Star Tribune editorial: “"Minneapolis police and excessive force: Address the outliers."”
The double killing seems to have blown over
From: Bill McGaughey Date: May 22, 2013 11:14 am
Almost two weeks ago, two Minneapolis residents were killed by the police, one who was clearly innocent and one who was a burglary suspect with a criminal record. There was a brief flurry of interest in these incidents. Now the subject has largely disappeared from public view.
The issue here is civilian control of the police and internal-security forces generally. The police chief reports to the mayor and the mayor is elected by Minneapolis voters. The mayor and the City Council member who chairs the Public Safety committee are the principal persons representing the public in police oversight. To the best of my knowledge, neither Mayor Rybak nor Council Member Samuels have commented on the double killing with respect to police conduct or possible misconduct. Neither have any of the candidates running for mayor with the exception of Bob Carney who focused on the lack of light-changing equipment at 26th and Blaisdell.
The Minneapolis police most certainly were at fault in allowing a squad car to proceed to a crime scene at a high rate of speed (and thereby endangering the public) half an hour after the period of danger had passed. The squad-car driver may also have been guilty of reckless driving if he went through a red light across a busy street at anything close to the 40 to 50 miles per hour reported by two eyewitnesses.
The shooting of burglary suspect Terrance Franklin is harder to assess since Franklin is dead and the only living eyewitnesses to the critical events in this situation are police officers whose story has not yet been released to the public. It seems clear that Franklin grabbed an officer’'s gun and began shooting. It is unclear if the officers killed Franklin while their own lives were at risk or the killing happened after the period of risk had passed. If the former, Franklin’'s killing was likely justified. If the later, it was not.
If police officers were at fault in any of these incidents, the appropriate response would be to analyze the situations and then change police policies and procedures to try to avoid recurrence of mistakes. It might also be appropriate to discipline particular officers if they violated existing policies. In either case, however, the police should admit guilt and then say what the department intends to do about it.
Instead of this, we saw chief Janee Harteau talking tough at her news conference. There was little or no admission of wrongdoing put instead putting off disclosure of key information pending an internal investigation by the department itself or by another police agency. Now, thorough and lengthy investigations are warranted in some cases but the public also has a right to timely information of matters that can be reasonably determined in a short time. Delay in releasing information immediately has the public-relations advantage of disclosing the damaging details after the public has lost interest in the case. Then little or no corrective action needs be taken.
My point is that the police need to be held accountable in situations like this. Although all killings are grievous, killings by police are of even greater public concern. It is essential that the police always be kept under close civilian review. No police agency can be allowed to say: “Trust us; we alone are qualified to know and understand our operation.”
I do not fault chief Harteau for the killings themselves but I do fault her for giving what appears largely to have been a stonewalling performance in explaining them. If the police are allowed to get away with this, we will keep slipping closer to living in a police state where the traditional rights of American citizens are lost.
In this post-911 age, we are indeed moving closer to a police state. The problem is that few people seem to care. I think of former Governor Jesse Ventura’'s disclosure in a book that has been reviewed in major newspapers to the effect that the CIA illegally keeps spies in Minnesota state government. Why haven’'t there been newspaper editorials about this? Why hasn’'t it been discussed on radio talk shows? It could be that we Minnesotans simply do not care. We are all too ready to trust tough-talking police authorities instead of thinking for ourselves. And we no longer have elected officials (except for Ventura) of a calibre who will aggressively defend the people’'s liberty.
From: Terrell Brown Date: May 22, 2013 1:35 pm
Perhaps not. The Strib editorialized on it today: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/208404551.html
Minneapolis police chief's troubling lack of transparency
* Article by: STAR TRIBUNE EDITORIAL
* Updated: May 22, 2013 - 10:25 AM
The public needed more timely answers from police chief on incident that left two young men dead.
When Janeé Harteau became Minneapolis <http://www.startribune.com/topics/places/minneapolis.html> police chief, she told the Star Tribune Editorial Board that her priorities for the department included transparency.
In fact, the motto “Commitment, Integrity, Transparency” appears on most correspondence from her office.
Earlier this month, she faced one of her first big tests in community relations. Two Minneapolis police officers were shot and two young men died following a police chase in the city’'s Uptown area. The tragic events of May 10 left the community with questions <http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/207273111.html> about what happened and how the investigation was being conducted. ....
There seems to be something on these events in the news pages every day or so.
From: Dennis Hill Date: May 22, 2013 4:45 pm
I think most people are waiting for more information to be released before coming to any conclusions regarding the incident. As far as I can tell there has not been any information released about how the two officers were shot.
The Chief did say that based on the information they had the squad entered the intersection traveling at less than 20 miles per hour.
Since the city could be facing a lawsuit based on the accident and possibly the shooting it is not surprising that further public statements might not be forth coming until a complete investigation is concluded.
The question right now is what is a reasonable amount of time for the investigations to be completed. Reasonable people may disagree on this point but most people would agree it is better to get it done right rather than fast.
From: Kristina Gronquist Date: May 22, 2013 5:22 pm
It's not at all clear that Terrence grabbed the officers guns. Really, how could a young, terrified unarmed kid grab guns off highly trained SWAT officers? There is no factual evidence to prove this and I am certain an independent investigation will show a very different sequence of events. Don't crucify Terrence for being a young black man with a police record. He did not deserve to be killed - shot multiple times - for that, just for fleeing the MPD. He was only a burglary "suspect". Don't believe the Star Tribune reports, either, they are spoon fed.
This has not blown over in any way, shape or form. Nor should it. Is this Minneapolis, 2013 or Mississippi in the 1950's?
Terrence Franklin did not deserve this ending any more than the Latino brother, Ivan Romero did. This was a double homicide day and a very tragic one. The community must demand answers for both of these needless deaths.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: May 22, 2013 6:20 pm
You have it all wrong. Terrence Franklin was assassinated because he knew too much about the Benghazi incident. Obama sent a hit squad for him. The chase through Whittier and the Wedge, the breaking into the back room of a business on Lyndale, the break-in at the residence on Bryant Ave., the shooting of the two policemen, that was all staged by Obama's CIA operatives.
From: Jim Mork Date: May 22, 2013 6:58 pm
Not an appropriate subject for that kind of humor.
From: Jim Graham Date: May 23, 2013 8:29 am
I think Jim Mork is correct; humor or fantasy is not appropriate for this situation. And Kristina's post was fantasy and would have been a sick joke if not for how serious the situation was. Susan Goldberg's post was not humor, her reply was an example that would have been just as likely as Kristina's; and was used to show an example of ridiculous fantasy in the other direction. I agree with you Jim Mork and think Kristina's post was ridiculous and the humor was not appropriate for this serious situation. The predators that freely walk our streets and threaten good people without much fear of police (most of the time) are certainly NOT a things to joke about.
"It is always an utter folly to underestimate the lure and attraction of a great evil. The whitened bones of their victims litter the highways and byways of mankind’'s history. Stopped only by the few willing to pay the ultimate price and make a stand." Toe
From: Bill Kahn Date: May 23, 2013 9:31 am
I dunno. The vacuum created by the lake of information from a new chief from the ranks, the joy-riding cops, and what must have been a highly unprofessional botched apprehension of a suspect reminded me of Duy Ngo for some reason.
Forget the fantasy, I hope the reality of this situation is going to be disturbing enough to jar us into completely replacing the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department so that we can not only be confident in their ability to do their job, but that we can be proud of them at all times.
Bill, some things never blow over, and for this department and this city, I think we need to acknowledge that there is and has been trouble in River City for a long, long time and the failures of the Rybak Administration and the Council on these matters are particularly glaring. William McManus might have had a handle on the problems, but someone or some group stopped any solutions that might have been implemented to save us from these ongoing tragedies.
This is the year to undo all sorts of horrible legacies.
From: Brian Stricherz Date: May 23, 2013 10:55 am
The longer this draws out with unanswered questions and unreconciled conflicting accounts, the more the need for an independent investigation. At this point, an internal investigation alone won't stop lingering doubts.
From: Fredda Scobey Date: May 23, 2013 11:23 am
Inappropriate and ill-advised, yes. But I recognized it as a parody of the sort of conspiracies theories that far right nut cases have been posting on the net, such as Sandy Hook as a staged event to promote gun control.
Kristina went too far, but haven't we all at some point?
From: Bill Kahn Date: 11:43am, May 23, 2013
Of course I meant LACK of information, not "lake."
I guess autocorrect features of cell phones makes a fast post possible for the pudgy fingered folks like me, but I sometimes wish I didn't have it.
Another feature would be nice: a voice asking if you really want to send this or asking you if you proofread yet.
Maybe MPD officers need an electronic partner asking them if they've considers all the facts and decided on the best action in any given situation or whether they should go jump in the lack.
From: Dennis Hill Date: May 23, 2013 12:48 pm
I agree with you Brian that the longer it takes to provide answers to some basic questions the more it looks like stalling and lack of transparency. I'm sure the Chief knows that the clock is ticking as far as public perceptions go.
From: Dave Bicking Date: May 23, 2013 3:02 pm
I don't think Kristina went too far at all. She asked some questions and drew some conclusions that are very reasonable and logical given the information so far.
[Susan Goldberg's post, on the other hand, was offensive and not at all funny.]
The police story - what little of it there is - does not make sense and seems very unlikely to be true.
The police said almost right away that Terrance Franklin shot the two officers, using the submachine gun strapped across the chest of one of the SWAT team members in the basement. At that time, they were releasing almost no other information, claiming they had no idea what had happened and that they had not gotten statements from any of the officers who had been in that basement. So how did they know that piece of the story but nothing else?
The logical answer is that they didn't know, but that that was the best story to put out immediately. What they DID almost surely know soon after the two wounded officers arrived at the hospital, was that the bullets in their legs came from their own SWAT officer's gun.
There are really only two explanations: 1) Terrance gained control of the officer's gun long enough to use it to shoot not one, but two officers. OR 2) The two wounded officers were the victims of friendly fire. Does it surprise anyone that the police chief chose to go with story #1? Friendly fire indicates gross incompetence or worse.
Eventually, on May 18 - over a week later - we got a fuller account in the Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/207968221.html
This gives a more detailed sequence of what happened in the basement and which officers were present. Note, though, that the account doesn't come from the Police Department or the Chief, but from two un-named, un-described "sources". A cynic might say that that gives the MPD plausible deniability that they lied, should later information be incompatible with this story. In any case, the story has to come from one or more officers who were in the basement, or from someone who received an account from them.
We are now told that the K9 handler let the dog off his leash, and that the dog latched onto Terrance's leg. An officer grabbed Terrance by the head to pull him from behind the water heater where he was trying to defend himself. It was under those circumstances that Terrance supposedly grabbed at the submachine gun. That seems implausible by itself. But the claim is that he was also able to pull the gun far enough away from that SWAT officer that he could lift it to shoot another officer in the leg. That means he had to not only grab the gun, but he had to get his hand on the trigger and pull it. What SWAT officer would be unable to stop a suspect from doing that?? Particularly given that there were 4 other officers assisting and the suspect is simultaneously under attack from a dog. And then Terrance was able to re-aim at another officer and fire a second time!!
I don't think it takes a conspiracy nut to think it didn't really happen like that. I don't know exactly what happened, but here is another possibility which seems to fit the available evidence: We are told by the coroner that Terrance died from multiple gunshots. It would be very unlikely that he was able to remain standing after more than one or two shots from military-grade weapons at close range. If that is the case, the remaining shots were fired down at him as he collapsed to the floor. In a small space, with officers shooting downward toward a cement floor, it would be likely that some bullets would ricochet and hit other officers in the legs. Maybe there is a better explanation, but this at least seems plausible, unlike the police story. Unless you believe the police never lie.
I don't know if we will ever get the real story. But one important fact that I hope is truthfully revealed is the trajectory of the bullets that hit the officers' legs. If downward, the police story could be true; if upward, it would indicate ricocheting friendly fire.
I don't trust the police to investigate themselves. When anyone else dies from gunfire, the investigation is not done by those who had the guns and bullets that were used. There needs to be an independent investigation, but that will not happen unless there is a lot of pressure on the Police Chief, the Mayor, and the City Council. Unfortunately, any independent investigation is already corrupted and subverted by the deliberate actions of the Mpls Police Department. The officers involved were given a week or more to talk among themselves and get their story straight. No other witnesses (let alone perpetrators) would be allowed or encouraged to do that. I don't have personal knowledge, but I am told that the scene was cleaned up too quickly for the thorough investigation that was needed.
Even if the police account were true, there are many troubling questions:
Why would the K9 officer let the dog off the leash in an enclosed space (as opposed to a chase in open fields, for instance)? Isn't that more for punishment, rather than control and apprehension?
Why were there that many heavily armed officers in such a small space? Wouldn't it have been far safer, for everyone including the officers, to withdraw to a perimeter outside the house, and persuade or induce the suspect to surrender?
Why was SWAT necessary for a trapped, un-armed suspect? Why are military weapons brought into a police operation? Why couldn't the officer control his own weapon?
Some of us are organizing to make sure that this doesn't "blow over", like the title of this thread says. We will find out more about what happened and do what we can to spread the truth. We will ask the questions that need to be asked. And we will put pressure on the police and the mayor for answers and an independent investigation. Anyone wanting to help can contact me off-list.
From: Janet Nye Date: May 29, 2013 4:24 pm
Susan has a good point here. The way it was handled, considering that Terrence Franklin was a "possible" suspect, was way overboard. The incredible waste of resources makes me think that the MPD leadership is indulging in too many steroids, and making some very regrettable decisions that will only add to the very recent huge payouts of 3 million dollars, and another couple of hundred thousand for the slaughter of two dogs in an apparently mistaken search of the home of an innocent couple. We have an extremely expensive police force due to the failure of the MPD management to deal with rogue police. (Remember that "Million Dollar Mike" Sauro still works for the police force in a teaching capacity even after several attempts to fire him, and that sorry piece of humanity Jason Andersen, who murdered Fong Lee, is working in City Hall, because the MPD can't figure out how to fire him .) Something is very, very wrong here.
From: Jim Mork Date: May 30, 2013 5:38 am
Clock is ticking on Janee Harteau's credibility as a chief in control of the force.
From: Dave Bicking Date: May 30, 2013 12:27 pm
Tomorrow there will be a rally and march seeking justice for Terrance Franklin, the unarmed young man who was first attacked by a K9, then shot multiple times by heavily-armed SWAT officers in a crowded basement.
Friday, May 31, 5:30pm rally, 6pm march Justice for Terrance Franklin! Starting at the "People's Plaza" - north plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center, next to LRT stop, downtown Mpls, with march through downtown and ending back at the plaza.
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/150566065130265/?fref=ts
I am working with a group that is organizing a response to these killings. There will soon be more information at two locations:
Website: http://justiceforterrancefranklin.wordpress.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForTerranceFranklin
There is little indication that the city will do anything more than a cover-up unless there is public pressure. Please come.
Also, very short notice, but for more information and to show support, I encourage you to come to a press conference this afternoon:
TODAY! Thursday, May 30, 2pm Press conference by the lawyer representing Terrance Franklin's parents. At the Urban League, Plymouth Ave. & Penn Ave. N.
The parents are expected to be there as well. The lawyer also says he expects to show a video.
Just last night, KSTP posted an article online about statements made by the lawyer for Terrance Franklin's family, and announcing the press conference: http://kstp.com/news/stories/S3049858.shtml?cat=1
From: Doug Mann Date: May 30, 2013 9:19 pm
The response of City Hall and its media allies to the double killings is outrageous. In both cases, there is ample evidence that police did not follow the protocols they are supposed to follow. And the police version of events surrounding the death of Terrance Franklin seem rather implausible to me. Could the truth be that the death of Terrance Franklin was the result of a beating by police that got out of hand? I could not be the only person in Minneapolis to suspect that serious misconduct and a cover-up by the police department lies behind the killing of Terrance Franklin.
I will attempt to show up at some point during the march and rally seeking justice for Terrance Franklin on May 31.
From: Holle Brian Date: May 31, 2013 9:43 am
In my heart the deaths of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero have cast an even darker shadow over an already dark spring. Whenever Minneapolis police actions result in the death of a resident, I feel like we all have blood on our hands. The people of Minneapolis and especially the families of the victims deserve a timely, transparent and compassionate response to these tragedies. The longer the "investigation" continues the more our confidence erodes.
I was a victim in a bizarre speeding squad car accident back in 1997, not in any way my fault, which totalled my car and injured several people. This occurred on Bloomington Avenue and 27th street, around 3:00 p.m. Police need to understand that these very congested, pedestrian-heavy neighborhoods are not freeways, and that injuring or killing people on the way to a call is never justified.
From: Jim Mork Date: May 31, 2013 12:44 pm
One real problem I see in Minneapolis streets is the ones where parking has been eliminated to increase traffic flow. The result is that at busy times, civilian cars are unable to make a path for the police car or ambulance. This, to me, is an example of where catering to rush hour traffic begins to create scenarios that could turn tragic. I think the need of emergency traffic to get through should be weighed when traffic engineering gets to scheming how to get a few more cars through. Really, I think rush hour traffic should be encouraged in every way to use the freeways. Don't create gridlock on a street where someone may be rushing to save a life.
No confidence in the police chief
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 01, 2013 9:22 am
Although many may think this statement premature, I want to say that I have no confidence in Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau. She ought to go.
How many weeks has it been now since the police began their internal investigation? Still no details have been released about the killing of Terrance Franklin. Important questions remain unanswered about Ivan Romero’'s death in a collision with a squad car.
Yes, it is important to do a careful investigation from the standpoint of reviewing police procedure and assessing blame. The city may have liability in a civil rights or wrongful death suit. However, it is also important that the public be informed of the essential facts on a timely basis so it can be confident we have a police force serving the public interest. We need a candid, complete, and timely disclosure of what happened.
Yes, the process may be painful. But isn’'t that what leadership is about? Where is the leadership from Chief Harteau? Where is the leadership from Mayor Rybak or the City Council leadership, especially Don Samuels? Where is any indication that the announced candidates for Mayor think this case is important? What have any of them to say about situations where Minneapolis police officers kill civilians? Shouldn’'t this be close to Number One among our local political issues? I think so. But there has been little or nothing from any of these people. Issue shirkers, third-rate leaders all!
Even admitting that there must be some secrecy in police investigations, couldn’'t Mayor Rybak or Council Member Samuels review the private documents and make a public statement? They are our representatives. The double killings are a matter of urgent public concern. Was or was there not wrong doing by the Minneapolis police force? If the former, these officials ought to give some indication in general terms as to what they intend to do. To wait for the results of a lengthy internal investigation, whether by the Minneapolis police department or another police agency, is not good enough. Sound public policy is at stake.
My impression of Chief Harteau is that she is focused entirely on damage control. She is signaling that this is simply the way things are done and the police did nothing wrong. Her initial press conference solicited sympathy for the two officers who were in the hospital with minor wounds but said nothing about the two civilians who died through police action. Although I also have sympathy for the wounded officers, such a priority seemed to be wrong. Being killed is much worse than what the officers suffered. But instead of acknowledging that tragedy, the police indicated that Terrance Franklin had a criminal record. Presumably he was a mad dog whose death should not cause the slightest concern. One member of this forum, at least, took it that way.
Now we have chief Harteau criticizing Franklin’'s parents for holding a press conference before her investigation was complete. She said she reached out to them but they declined to respond. We have the chief demanding an apology from their attorney for falsely saying that the n-word was used twice in a tape made (not by the police) at the crime scene.
I was at this press conference. Key witnesses to the deaths had not been interviewed days after the event. Franklin’'s parents said they had received no phone calls from the police chief. Although the “enhanced” tape was played at the press conference, I could not make out any words. Presumably some neutral listeners will be able to recognize what was said.
I think it may have been a mistake for the attorney to raise the issue of racial slurs because this allowed the discussion to be side-tracked. The main issue is not whether some officers despised Franklin for his race but whether he was murdered. We, the public, entrust the police with advanced weaponry and much discretion in intruding in people’'s personal lives to prevent or investigate possible crimes. It is supremely important that this discretion not be abused.
So what can be done? Neither Terrance Franklin nor Ivan Romero can be brought back to life. Difficult as it may be, I think the Minneapolis police department ought to admit mistakes or wrongdoing where they were made and then indicate what policies or procedures will be changed in response to those mistakes and what people will be disciplined. Specific self-admission of police wrong-doing is the first requirement; then comes the proposed follow-up action.
What is not acceptable (unless it is conclusively proven) is for the police to pretend nothing was wrong and try to blame others. If chief Harteau pulls this, I say she is not measuring up to the high standards set for a Minneapolis police chief and she has to go. What have the mayor and the 2013 mayoral candidates to say? We need to hear from them on this matter.
From: Shelley Leeson Date: Jun 01, 2013 10:35 am
I had no confidence in Harteau long before this incident occurred. She's a "yes man" who only wants to sidle up to the political elite in DC and act as a tool for oppressive government.
Re the killings, the evidence needs to be immediately turned over to an independent investigator.
The current mayor, city council and Harteau are all remiss, and worthless, but we know that already.
Harteau's leadership needs to be immediately reevaluated and reconsidered. The political appointments in Minneapolis are a joke.
From: Charley Underwood Date: Jun 01, 2013 12:09 pm
On a crass monetary level, if police accountability is not tightened up, the city of Minneapolis has a future of many, many more astronomical settlements for wrongful death, like this one announced last week: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/208912661.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue
On a human level, we can anticipate a future of family after family mourning the needless deaths of their loved ones. There is no amount of money adequate to compensate for those deaths.
On a civil level, police misconduct undermines the entire fabric of society. If some rogue police officers are allowed to operate above the law and without consequences, then citizens begin to view the police force as enemy or occupying army, rather than a resource to use in time of extreme need.
To my understanding, no Minneapolis police officer has ever been charged with a crime committed while on duty, at least for decades. Does anyone have any information counter to this understanding?
I remember clearly when Dave Bicking was summarily removed from the Civilian Review Board. I remember September 9, 2012, when the City Council voted to dismantle the Civilian Review Authority; council members voting to abolish that civilian review were CMs Reich, Hofstede, Johnson, Samuels, Goodman, Tuthill, Quincy, Colvin Roy and Hodges. I remember when the appointment of then-chief of the MPD came up for a Council vote. In spite of a dismal record of failing to rein in rogue police officers, the Council voted enthusiastically to re-appoint Tim Dolan. The following Council Member were pleased enough with city policing to give Dolan their support: Reich, Hofstede, Johnson, Samuels, Goodman, Quincy and Colvin Roy.
So we have a City Council that stifles any civilian oversight of the MPD. We have a City Council that seems completely satisfied with the police administration. We have a city attorney who realizes it is easier to pay multi-million dollar settlements each year, rather than to bring charges against the Minneapolis police officers who break the law. We have a City Council who regularly votes to pay these huge settlements, rather than to rock the boat.
Again, I want to stress quite strongly that I am not opposed to having a police department, nor do I mean to sully in any way the vast majority of uniformed officers. On the contrary, those honest officers are getting smeared by the unbridled actions of a few lawless and arrogant bad apples on the force, and the total lack of effective discipline and leadership by the police command structure.
Is this truly the city we wish to live in? Does it really seem like this situation is making anyone more secure in their homes or in their persons?
(If anyone believes I have wrongly attributed a vote or a decision, please correct me immediately.)
From: Ed Felien Date: Jun 01, 2013 1:09 pm
Allow me to give a long answer to Charley's question about whether police officers have ever been tried for crimes while in uniform:
I first ran for public office after an undercover narcotics officer shot and killed an unarmed West Bank pot dealer. We organized a march on City Hall at the time the Grand Jury was considering charging the officer. We brought a wreath of flowers to lay at the door of the hearing room. Then the forty or fifty of us went downstairs to Mayor Charlie Stenvig's office. We sat in the hallway and asked him to come out and talk to us. He said he'd listen to a delegation of six. When the delegation came out from the meeting, some were completely enchanted by Stenvig's charisma, but Dickie Dworkin, a friend from working on the underground newspaper Hundred Flowers together, said we ought to stay in the hallway until Stenvig came out. Lt. Eckblad had been handing people a bullhorn to address the crowd. When Dickie said that, Eckblad pulled back Dickie's thumb and broke it. I stood up and said, "That's it. We're out of here." I got Dickie and we went to General Hospital and had his thumb set and put in a cast. Two days later Dickie and I returned to City Hall to file a complaint against Lt. Eckblad for use of excessive force. We were directed to the Internal Affairs Unit--two officers in a basement room. We brought in x-rays of the broken thumb and said we'd like to file a complaint. They made a call and in a few moments Lt. Eckblad came in, and the three officers started talking about their pensions. After about a half an hour of this, I asked when we could file our complaint. They said there would be no complaint. We left.
And, I thought, "The use of excessive force is an assault and a crime, so we should go see the City Attorney." We went upstairs to the City Attorney's office and asked to talk to a criminal attorney. After we showed him the x-rays we asked him to bring charges of criminal misconduct against Lt. Eckblad. The attorney said, "You don't understand. The police bring us criminals and tell us who to prosecute." "But what if they're the criminals?" I asked. The attorney said, "That doesn't happen." Having reached a second dead end, we asked the attorney, "Who appoints the City Attorney?" He said, "The City Council." We went over to the City Council offices and tried to talk to our representative, but he wasn't interested in seeing us. That was the spring of 1971, and that's when I decided to run for City Council.
I lost the election in 1971 but won in 1973. One of the first acts of the new City Council was to fire the current City Attorney and hire Walter Duffy and replace the head of the Criminal Division. Walt told me the next year that his office had prosecuted four officers for misconduct and had gotten two convictions.
One of the important distinctions between then and now is that under our administration the Civil Rights Commission could hear testimony regarding police misconduct. This was important because, unlike the Civilian Review Authority or any other ad hoc citizen panel, the Commission could subpoena officers and compel them to testify under oath, and they could award damages.
The Police Federation was active in opposing my re-election. Third Precinct Captain Basil Lutz campaigned in uniform against me. And shortly after I was defeated the Federation convinced the City Council that the Civil Rights Commission should investigate everybody except the Police Department.
The result of that policy has been millions of dollars every year paid out in police brutality cases and a thin blue line that protects racists and thumpers in the Department.
From my understanding, Gary Schiff is the only candidate for Mayor who begins to understand the seriousness of this question.
From: andrea schaerf Date: Jun 01, 2013 1:12 pm
Historically, these investigations have taken years even.It didn’'t occur to me how much this contributed to power inequality until I read" We, the public, entrust the police with advanced weaponry and much discretion in intruding in peoples personal lives to prevent or investigate possible crimes. It is supremely important that this discretion not be abused." The abuse could go either way but the discretion is what needs beefed up.
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Jun 01, 2013 1:25 pm,
Charley wrote: "I remember September 9, 2012, when the City Council voted to dismantle the Civilian Review Authority; council members voting to abolish that civilian review were CMs Reich, Hofstede, Johnson, Samuels, Goodman, Tuthill, Quincy, Colvin Roy and Hodges."
And then: "(If anyone believes I have wrongly attributed a vote or a decision, please correct me immediately.)"
The Council meeting was September 21 -- Charley may be confusing it with a committee meeting -- and Hodges voted against the motion. The vote was 8-5.
Also, as Charley did allude to, KSTP quoted Chief Harteau as saying the family refused an offer to be kept abreast of the investigation. If that's true, does anyone know why? I have looked on the various websites listed in another chain, and I can't find any response to that. Here's what appeared on KSTP's site:
"Chief Harteau also issued the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:
"'I have maintained the integrity of the investigation by consistently declining to respond to speculation and anonymous sources. It is disappointing that Mr. Franklin's family refuse my offer to meet to give them an inside look at the investigative process and status, yet they are free to make public accusations against my officers and question the legitimacy of our investigative practices. If they have video of events from the scene, I request they turn it over to me as it is evidence in an active investigation.'"
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Jun 01, 2013 1:56 pm
I wrote: "KSTP quoted Chief Harteau as saying the family refused an offer to be kept abreast of the investigation. If that's true, does anyone know why?"
On a later KSTP post, my question was answered: "Franklin's family discounted that statement saying Chief Harteau has never called them."
From: andrea schaerf Date: Jun 01, 2013 2:36 pm
The police should carry their own liability insurance. It could be endless for tax payers to maintain.
From: Bob Carney Jr. Date: Jun 01, 2013: 5:51 pm
I’'ve been reading this thread, and the earlier ones “the double killing seems to have blown over” and “two civilians down.”
It has now been a little over three weeks since Terrence Franklin and Ivan Romero were killed. At Chief Harteau’'s news conference the Tuesday after they were killed, I was the one who asked about why the signal at 26th and Blaisdell didn’'t switch automatically. Responding to the answer – the equipment isn’'t installed at that intersection -- I’'ve been involved in investigating the absence of automatic traffic signaling at 26th and Blaisdell, and plan to continue working on that.
Franklin’'s father’'s said last Thursday that his son was shot five times in the back of the head. The family’'s attorney has also said they cannot accept a conclusion that Franklin grabbed at an officer’'s weapon and fired it.
As a candidate for Mayor, I don’'t want to do or say anything inflammatory. The historical background provided by Ed Feline and Charlie Underwood on this thread is helpful to me. I ran into Chief Harteau a few days after her news conference, going up on the elevator to a City Council meeting. I told her briefly what I had found out about the signaling equipment. I then told her I found the reports on the shooting of Franklin troubling, and asked about an independent investigation. She first said she couldn’'t comment, but then indicated it wasn’'t something she had ruled out.
I am willing to wait until the investigation is complete, and the results and evidence are released. I think the Police department should, at a minimum, give an interim report, and say when the final report will be released. If it will not be complete and released within days, the police should explain why the delay is necessary. When the investigation report is issued, people may challenge its findings. A further, independent investigation might be warranted, but let’'s wait to see the first report.
Let me be frank in saying that the shooting death of Franklin, and the death of Ivan Romero, IS a political issue. We the People of Minneapolis are ultimately responsible for what our Police Department does. Regardless of what the Franklin investigation report says – if Franklin was isolated in the basement, shouldn’'t a perimeter have been established? Wouldn’'t it be better in this situation to try to talk him out? Why was it necessary to unleash a police dog? We need to also examine the procedures for requesting additional squads at a shooting scene – if there is no imminent danger, is this information included in the dispatch call? If there is no need to rush, police responding to a call should know that. These and other questions of procedure can and must be addressed sooner rather than later. Answers are not dependent on the circumstances of the deaths of Franklin and Romero.
Ed Felien writes: “From my understanding, Gary Schiff is the only candidate for Mayor who begins to understand the seriousness of this question.” Based on that view, I think the police investigation’'s report should be issued at least a week before the upcoming DFL Convention if at all possible. Candidates and delegates should have the benefit of its findings and conclusions in considering the responsibility of We the People, and elected officials, to have the right Police policies and procedures in place.
I am focused primarily on my Transit Revolution. But I fully recognize the importance of the issue of Police procedures and police misconduct that is now emerging. At the same time -- outside of the “bully pulpit” -- going forward, I would like to know more about what options and powers the Mayor has. Underwood, Felien, and of course Bicking, have made a great start on this. If they and others can research and comment on what exactly the Mayor can and should, that would help me, and I think it would help all the candidates for Mayor. This is complicated by the fact that a completely new City Charter is being put up for a vote this fall. Except for the use of the “bully pulpit” – I frankly wonder how much the Mayor can do. Because of that, we should consider this issue in the context of both Council races, and a possible charter amendment – which may be necessary to establish a mechanism for accountability.
For more historical perspective, someone posting on this thread, or a future thread on reform of the police depart, should read Minnesota Rag, a book by Fred Friendly, a former President of CBS News.
I’'m going mostly from memory – I read this book in 2009 as part of the research on a legal challenge I launched against the city for not allowing me to use the word “Republican” as part of a three word political principle on the ballot. The subject of the book was The Saturday Press, a “scandal sheet” that ran for about fourteen issues. The Saturday Press ran afoul of a Minnesota Statute authorizing prior restraint of publication – the prosecutor was none other than Floyd B. Olson. The Saturday Press’' main historical significance -- the reason Friendly wrote about it -- comes from a U.S. Supreme Court Case -- Near v. Minnesota – which established that prior restraint – laws barring publication of material – is unconstitutional. This was a major precedent supporting freedom of the press, and was a major basis for deciding the Pentagon Papers case during the Nixon Administration.
Here’'s a three paragraph excerpt from the Wikipedia article on that case:
“In 1927, Jay M. Near, who has been described as –‘anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-labor’' began publishing The Saturday Press in Minneapolis with Howard A. Guilford, a former mayoral candidate who had been convicted of criminal libel.”
“The paper claimed that Jewish gangs were ‘practically ruling’' the city along with the police chief, Frank W. Brunskill, who was accused of participation in graft. Among the paper's other targets were mayor George E. Leach, Hennepin County attorney and future three-term governor Floyd B. Olson, and the members of the grand jury of Hennepin County, who, the paper claimed, were either incompetent or willfully failing to investigate and prosecute known criminal activity.”
“Shortly after the first issue was distributed, Guilford was gunned down and hospitalized, where a further attempt on his life was made. At least one of the stories printed in The Saturday Press led to a successful prosecution of a gangster called Big Mose Barnett who had intimidated a local dry cleaner by destroying his customers' clothing.”
In 1934 Guilford, who as I recall was again running for Mayor, announced he would soon present information during a radio broadcast “exposing” Floyd B. Olson, who was then the Governor of Minnesota. Shortly after that, “candidate-journalist” Guilford was killed, gangland style, with a shotgun blast to the face, on Blaisdell Avenue.
Here’'s something further to consider -- a paragraph from Wikipedia’'s article on Gov. Olson:
“Despite considerable achievements and popular support, Olson's administration was marred by allegations made by crusading newspaper editor Walter Liggett that there were links between some members of his administration and organized crime. No evidence ever implicated Olson personally, however. Liggett was gunned down in front of his family in 1935. Kid Cann, Minnesota gangster, was charged with but not convicted of the killing.”
So… the history of alternative media, Minneapolis Mayoral “candidate-journalists”, and accusations of corruption, including in Minneapolis City government, goes way back. It includes at least two “crusading” journalists who were gunned down.
Please note: I’'m not commenting here on Floyd Olson’'s agenda – he was the first Farmer Labor Association candidate to be elected Governor – and from what I’'ve read it’'s obvious he was on the side of “We the People.” By the way, I think Republican Congressman Charles Lindbergh may have switched to the Farmer Labor Association at the end of his life. It emerged partly from the Non-Partisan League, which Lindbergh worked with closely.
Regarding Hubert Humphrey, one of the things that came to me from my reading of Minnesota Rag is his role in cleaning up Minneapolis as a center of organized crime. Prohibition was at the root of it – a lot of illegal hard liquor came through Minneapolis from Canada. Of course that was “the good stuff” -- produced legally and on an industrial scale.
By the way again – here’'s something else to think about – it may have at least indirect relevance to this topic. The “Prohibition Amendment” actually never prohibited beer and wine! Instead, the Eighteenth Amendment prohibits: “… the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…” Liquor is distilled – wine and beer are fermented. However, when Congress implemented the amendment with the National Prohibition Act, (the “Volstead Act”, named after its House author, Congressman Andrew Volstead, from Minnesota,) it based prohibition not on the manufacturing process, but on the percent of alcohol content – something the amendment didn’'t specifically authorize. Here’'s the potentially relevant aspect: I wonder if the drafting of the National Prohibition Act was influenced by organized crime – the real beneficiary of prohibition? This is way down on my list of things to research, but in the context of the history of corruption in Minneapolis it might be relevant.
Here’'s what I found on-line on Guilford (not much -- from www.newseum.org):
Howard A. Guilford -- Shotgunned Sept. 6 in Minneapolis by assailants who fired into his car as he listened to a Cubs game on the radio. He had been shot once before by gunmen, in 1927. He was 40 when he was killed and had left his job as a controversial editor crusading against the police chief and "Jew gangsters." He had helped win a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in 1931 -- Near vs. Minnesota -- overturning the state’'s "gag law" after officials closed his newspaper as a public nuisance.
This is all I have time or information for on this topic for the present.
Bob Carney Jr.
“candidate-journalist”; Candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis
From: Jack Ferman Date: Jun 01, 2013 9:10 pm
In the first reports that I heard was the remark that two officers took rounds. There should be direct physical evidence of that.
Regarding the latter parts of this post, Minneapolis certainly has a sordid past.
From: Jim Mork Date: Jun 01, 2013 9:15 pm
Seems like the department makes progress and then falls back. I wish my memory were better. Does anyone remember this much trouble during the Don Fraser years? After he retired, it kinda seems like we've been sliding downhill. The following generations seem to have found hard what he did naturally.
From: Ron Lischeid Date: Jun 01, 2013 9:34 pm
'Following generations' did not have Arvonne Fraser helping them make the right decisions.
From: Ed Felien Date: Jun 01, 2013 9:39 pm
or Tony Bouza. Chief of Police under Fraser wrote in Southside Pride, "The police are out of control:" http://www.southsidepride.com/2012/04/articles/americas_police-out-of-control.html
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Jun 01, 2013 10:05 pm
There was plenty of action in Police Dept when Fraser was mayor. Fraser came in on the heels of a major police corruption scandal. This was also a time when the police were often raiding gay bathhouses.
It was 1989 or 90 that a policeman on the northside shot and killed a 12 year old boy in the back, Tycel Nelson. There was a lot of hue and cry on that one, even in the days before internet agitprop.
Fraser's police chief Bouza was often accused of grandstanding. He gave so many tv interviews that people were suspicious that he was going to run for office himself. He did.
Bouza was in denial about the gang problem in Minneapolis for years. A policeman was shot on the job in 1981 and police blamed this on Bouza's policy of replacing two-officer squads with single-member squads.
Just before Fraser retired, policeman Jerry Haaf was assassinated in a southside pub.
From: ann peterson Date: Jun 01, 2013 10:59 pm
Well how timely. Tony Bouza will be interviewed on Andy Driscoll's To Tell the Truth on Monday June 3rd addressing the issue in his new book Expert Witness: Breaking the Policemen’'s Blue Code of Silence, a volume of case files. We should all pay attention.
From: Doug Mann Date: Jun 02, 2013 7:21 am
Ed Felien writes,
One of the important distinctions between then [early 1970s] and now is that under our administration the Civil Rights Commission could hear testimony regarding police misconduct. This was important because, unlike the Civilian Review Authority or any other ad hoc citizen panel, the Commission could subpoena officers and compel them to testify under oath, and they could award damages. The Police Federation was active in opposing my re-election. Third Precinct Captain Basil Lutz campaigned in uniform against me. And shortly after I was defeated the Federation convinced the City Council that the Civil Rights Commission should investigate everybody except the Police Department. [end of quote]
Doug Mann responds,
A lot of things have changed in the last 40 years. The poorest 40% of the population is much poorer, and the gap between the top and bottom quartiles on the income scale has widened considerably. The buying power of the federal minimum wage has decreased by more than 50%. The social safety net is much weaker. Higher education has become unaffordable to much of the population. The influence of the Civil Rights movement on public policy was much stronger then. The influence of unions in the workplace was much greater. And during the 1980s there was a shift in K-12 education toward less racial integration, a return to tracking from the early elementary grades upward, and increasing exposure of Black students to inexperienced teachers.
But perhaps the most significant change we have seen over the past 40 years is a more than 10-fold increase in the prison population, much of that occurring during the 1990s. This is largely a byproduct of the so-called war on drugs, as well as being an effect rising poverty rates. The police find themselves moreat odds with a large part of the Black community, especially Black youth.
There are deeply rooted systemic causes of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, the job and housing markets, and in the public education system that must be addressed.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 02, 2013 7:55 am
The question is what to do about police corruption in the present instance. There are several possibilities:
1. It may be that chief Harteau presides over an honest investigation and, if officers did wrong, admits guilt on behalf of the department and takes steps to prevent future mistakes of this sort and, where appropriate, disciplines the offending officers. This is an acceptable outcome. In that case, I would certainly take back my statement that Harteau has to go.
2. If Harteau continues to stonewall the public, the next course of action is to pester our elected officials to discipline her or remove her from office. The best way is to confront those officials personally. For example, I confronted Don Samuels, chair of the Public Safety regulatory committee, at my neighborhood association's annual meeting last week. Follow-up action may be necessary where there is no positive response. Mayor Rybak also needs to be confronted. A number of people should do this, not just me.
3. If steps Number 1 and Number 2 don't work, confront the candidates who are running for mayor in 2013. Support the candidate or candidates who most indicate support for police reform. Then, keep the pressure on in the next administration to follow through on campaign promises, if any.
4. If none of the above work, form a citizen committee for police reform. Approach Tony Bouza about heading the effort. He ought to have some influence with DFL city officials considering that he was Mayor Fraser's police chief and Rybak was his campaign manager when he ran for governor.
What will not work is to generalize the problem. History of systemic police corruption is fine but it will get us nowhere in the present situation. Accusations of a racist society will get us nowhere. Be willing to commit to a specific (although not perfect) reform at the present time and expect that the Minneapolis police department can change. Some measure of good will is also necessary on the part of the would-be reformers.
From: MALCOLM BISSON Date: Jun 02, 2013 8:53 am
REACTING TO RECENT ISSUES IS ONE THING. BUT, I'M LOOKING AT EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T HAPPENING WITH REGARDS TO THE DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES THAT WILL BE COMING. WHERE THE POPULATION OF MAJORITY IS NO LONGER THE MAJORITY. HECK, I'M NOT EVEN SEEING THIS ISSUE COME UP WITH ANYONE, MUCH LESS THE VAST AMOUNT OF PEOPLE RUNNING FOR WHATEVER OFFICE THEY ASPIRE TO.
PRESENTLY THE METRO AREA IS 40% POPULATIONS OF COLOR. SO, I'M THINKING I'LL ACTUALLY LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO BE HERE WHEN THAT POWER BASE ACTUALLY ALTERS POLICY FOR "EVERYONE". AT THE PRESENT PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE OF COLOR, IT ISN'T REPRESENTED ANYWHERE, MUCH LESS THE MPLS. CITY COUNCIL. YES, WE HAVE TWO PEOPLE OF COLOR ON THE COUNCIL, BUT NEITHER REPRESENT THEIR OWN POPULATION.
AS FOR HARTEAU, I THINK SHE WAS RAISED WITH INDIAN VALUES. BUT, LIKE MANY INDIANS IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY, THEY ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW ALIEN POLICIES AND PROTOCOLS OF ANOTHER DOMINANT CULTURE. AND, IN THIS CASE THERE IS A POLICE UNION WHO WILL ONLY CHANGE BY YEARS AND YEARS OF KICKING AND SCREAMING. BECAUSE PRESENT POLICY IS ALL THEY KNOW.
PEOPLE, IT ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE, ONCE YOU NO LONGER ARE A MAJORITY, EVERYTHING NEEDS TO CHANGE, TO ACCOMMODATE "EVERYONE"! AS I'VE SAID BEFORE, SAVANNAH, GA. ALREADY HAS A REPRESENTATIVE CITY COUNCIL. WHERE, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 75% OR MORE OF THEIR COUNCIL ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR, SPECIFICALLY BLACK COUNCIL PEOPLE. IT ALSO MEANS THEY HAVE ENOUGH BASE TO FIND QUALIFIED CANDIDATES AND VOTE FOR THEM. BUT, POLITICS ARE WAY DIFFERENT HERE IN THIS VENUE. HERE YOU CAN ONLY GET YOUR MOCCASIN IN THE TIPI IF YOU ACT AS IF YOUR ARE PIGMENTALLY CHALLENGED, AND SUPPORT THEIR AGENDA.
SO PEOPLE, IT'S GETTING DOWN TO WHERE INCLUSION SHOULD BECOME A DRIVING FACTOR IN MANY AREA'S, WHEN IT COMES TO "POWER ISSUES". THE FEW JUST CAN'T CONTINUE TO PRESCRIBE POLICY FOR ONLY THEMSELVES. JUST THINK, I HAVE A FEELING THAT SAVANNAH HAS ALREADY "INCLUDED" OTHER WAYS OF OPERATING THEIR CITY COUNCIL, TO INCLUDE "THEM".
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 02, 2013 1:09 pm
Maybe I'll live to see the day when white people are not a majority in Minneapolis. My best interest, as a white man now and then, is to see a Minneapolis police force that is under control, which executes the laws fairly and impartially and without excessive force. That battle is now. If the public does not rise up now against what appears to be misconduct - two people needlessly killed - it never will. We will then have this problem forever regardless of whether whites or blacks control the City Council.
What is required now is action, not analysis.
From: Charley Underwood Date: Jun 02, 2013 1:37 pm
From this morning's Star Tribune ("Minneapolis cops rarely disciplined in big-payout cases"), yet another article about just a few of the costs of not providing any discipline when rogue officers cross the line.
Among the points of the article:
$14 million in payouts from Minneapolis for police misconduct in the past 7 years.
Of 95 payouts from 2006 to 2012, only eight officers were disciplined in any way.
Of the 12 most expensive payouts, absolutely no officers were disciplined.
In 2010, the Civilian Review Authority issued a finding of no-confidence in then-chief Tim Dolan and concluded that lack of MPD discipline resulted in a "culture of impunity" in the department and would result in continuing big police misconduct payouts from the city. The result of that ruling was that Dolan was reappointed by mayor R.T. Rybak, with the approval of Council Members Reich, Hofstede, Johnson, Samuels, Goodman, Quincy and Colvin Roy. The Civilian Review Authority, meanwhile, was abolished.
The full article can be found at http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/209811991.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue
My question: Why do we as citizens continue to pay the salaries of law-enforcement officers who don't obey the law?
(Thanks to Chuck Turchick for the earlier corrections. The date I gave very much was a committee meeting, and not an official City Council meeting. My more serious was my mistake of including Betsy Hodges among those voting to abolish the Civilian Review Authority. She did NOT vote to abolish it. Those voting AGAINST abolishing the CRA were CMs Gordon, Goodman, Glidden Schiff and Hodges. Those voting to abolish the CRA were CMs Reich, Hofstede, Johnson, Samuels, Goodman, Tuthill, Quincy, and Colvin Roy. I try to be accurate, but please remember that the city recently got a D- for public transparency. It is very difficult to cull out council members votes, and I made a serious mistake in this case of CM Hodges. I can only offer my sincere apologies to her.)
From: Kristina Gronquist Date: Jun 02, 2013 1:54 pm
It's time to support candidates that have the courage to address issues of police misconduct, and support those few on the council that had the courage to vote against dismantling the CRA, like Cam Gordon of the Green Party, and, to run yourself for office to make a difference! We need to break the political monopoly at city hall. Many Blacks who live in our city feel under siege, and have no trust in their police or elected officials. Is this Minneapolis, 2013 or Mississippi in the 1950's? (That's what I put on my protest sign at the May 31 rally, Justice for Terrance Franklin, that we held downtown).
I spoke out on the issue of Terrance's senseless killing from day one, not just because I knew him personally but because I have long spoken out (like Dave Bicking and Ed Felien) on these issues over the years. Sending a SWAT team after a 22 year old unarmed youth hiding in a basement and shooting him five times in the back of the head reflects an outrageous loss of self control. Terrance was not suicidal, and would never have tried to grab the cop's guns. Don't insult the intelligence of any of Terrance's family members or close friends by trying to convince them of that ridiculous unproven story.
Neither Terrance Franklin nor Ivan Romero should have died on May 10th, their deaths are terrible tragedies for their families and friends and for the entire community. Their anger should be our anger and all of Minneapolis should be asking questions and demanding an independent investigation.
From: Jim Mork Date: Jun 02, 2013 4:21 pm
The Goldberg comments are puzzling. Who cares what happened in the years before Fraser? What gay bathhouse raids happened under Tony Bouza? Jerry Haaf's murder wasn't a case of excessive force killing an innocent civilian, nor did it lead to a huge bite out of taxpayer's pocket for settlement of a suit without discipline for the officers involved, one of the big issues (that the Star Tribune made a long article today). About Bouza's "denial", please elaborate. And then talk about the gang strike force that got disbanded for misconduct in the last decade. In short, I think the "history" of Fraser's tenure is deliberately slanted in an attempt to try to rehabilitate the incompetence of recent administrations. Frankly, I'm long weary of these constant lawsuits that get settled without any evidence that the police get improved to offset the cost to taxpayers.
From: Charley Underwood Date: Jun 02, 2013 7:02 pm
Oh, for goodness sake! I went out gardening and came back to some friendly comments indicating that I had listed Lisa Goodman as voting both to abolish the CRA and NOT to abolish the CRA. Thanks for the fact-checking, e-democracy friends. No, Lisa Goodman has not been cloned. The other vote AGAINST abolishing the CRA was Robert Lilligren. Lisa Goodman voted to abolish it.
I sincerely hope I finally have an accurate account. If not, I have pledged to go on a long mountaintop retreat and spare the world any embarrassing contact with me, or even any unintentional koans.
From: David Fehlan Date: Jun 02, 2013 8:27 pm
Interesting. There's a near perfect overlap between the Sinister Seven who love to pick the pockets of taxpayers to fund corporate and union welfare and those who voted to abolish the CRA.
I know the CRA was imperfect - nature of the beast, I suppose - but maybe Charley can dig up one more significant anti-democratic vote and see if the overlap's about the same.
From: Doug Mann Date: Jun 02, 2013 11:29 pm
Racist attitudes and conduct by police are condoned by the same city government and power elite that condones and actively supports systemic racial discrimination throughout the criminal justice system, the public education system, and in the housing and job markets.
I support strong civilian oversight of the police department.
I support Communities United Against Police Brutality in it current drive to put a charter amendment on the ballot that will require police officers to carry professional liability insurance.
The war on drugs has been accompanied by huge racial disparities in arrest rates, prosecution, and imprisonment. It is time to end the war on drugs: Decriminalize drug use, and legalize the recreational use of marijuana. To the extent possible, the city should relax enforcement of drug laws and avoid criminal prosecution for drug use.
It is time for the city to take steps to combat illegal, covert discrimination in the job and housing markets.
I will continue to advocate an end to systemic racial discrimination in the Minneapolis Public Schools. It is not acceptable for students of color to be heavily exposed to inexperienced and provisionally licensed teachers, high teacher turnover rates, and watered-down curriculum. I oppose the re-invention of a racially-separate and unequal school system via corporate-style reforms and charter-ization of the public school system. I believe that education is a right, not a privilege, and that a quality public education should be available to all on an equal basis.
The city should be less concerned about helping the rich get richer, e.g., the recent Vikings stadium deal, and do more to eliminate poverty, hunger, and homeless.
From: MALCOLM BISSON Date: Jun 03, 2013 10:55 am
IT ISN'T A QUESTION OF WHO "CONTROLS", IT'S THE MESSAGE NEW AND EXISTING LAWS COME WITH. UNLESS THEY ARE INCLUSIVE, THEY ARE EXCLUSIVE.
AN ISSUE THAT WAS BROUGHT UP THIS PAST SUNDAY WAS THE NEED TO FORM COALITIONS BETWEEN THE VARIOUS POPULATIONS OF COLOR. DIVIDED WE HAVE NO STANDING IN POLICY MAKING, BUT, COMING TOGETHER WILL ALTER WHAT'S ALWAYS BEEN.
THERE ARE MANY POPULATIONS WHO "RULE" BY CONSENSUS. WHILE THE WESTERN MODEL IS BY DOMINANCE AND EXCLUSIVE POLICY. MUCH LIKE WHAT IS PROBABLY THE PROBLEM WITH OUR NEW POLICE CHIEF. WHERE SHE COMES FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT SET OF CULTURAL NORMS, BUT HAS TO ABIDE BY MAJORITY POLICIES THAT HAVE BEEN SET IN STONE, SINCE FOREVER. SO, I ASK YOU, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD OF ANY PERSON OF COLOR THAT WAS AT THE TABLE, DISCUSSING POLICY?
INCLUSION SHOULD START A TABLE OF "EVERYONE" BEING ABLE TO HAVE INPUT. WHERE EXISTING POLICIES NEED TO BE MEDIATED, SO THEY WORK FOR "EVERYONE". RIGHT NOW IT'S MORE OR LESS AN ISSUE OF "THEM" AND "US".
AS A FOR INSTANCE, NO MATTER WHERE I AM, I AM USUALLY STOPPED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR DWI (DRIVING WHILE INDIAN). BUT, THIS HAS ONLY HAPPENED WHILE DRIVING ALONE. SO, MY FIRST QUESTION HAS ALWAYS BEEN "WHAT IS THE PROBABLE CAUSE FOR BEING STOPPED?". BUT, THIS POINTS OUT THAT THIS IS NOT A "LOCAL" ISSUE.
CONSIDERATION NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED FOR "OTHERS", BUT ONLY YESTERDAY...
FROM SCHOONERVILLE, IN LONGFELLOW
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 03, 2013 12:34 pm
I want to stay focused as much as possible on the killing of Terrance Franklin and accidental death (through reckless driving) of Ivan Romero. There are people across the political spectrum who are questioning the police chief's story. Why was an officer armed with a machine gun to pursue a lone unarmed burglary suspect? Why wasn't the safety on? Why would the suspect lunge for a gun when surrounded by armed police officers? We try to give the police the benefit of the doubt, but little of this makes sense.
It is possible to take on City Hall successfully when we stay focused on issues like this where there is broad public understanding. In my opinion, it is not helpful to divert attention to broad questions of inclusion or exclusion which, in themselves, are potentially divisive. There already is inclusion with respect to the question that police shootings need to be thoroughly investigated. I think the conversation needs to move on to what should the public do if the police chief does not acknowledge police wrong doing and present a sensible remedy for mistakes of this type. She does, after all, work
From: Kristina Gronquist Date: Jun 03, 2013 3:56 pm
I'm with Bill on staying focused on the deaths of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero. I really appreciate Bill's June 2 post numbering 1- 4 concrete action steps, and want to move forward with this course of action. Already in progress is the petition drive by Communities United Against Police Brutality requiring officers carry their own insurance. When and if more marches or events are planned, attending those keeps the issue in the media. Yes - Concrete, focused action is needed. Step One: Demanding an independent investigation, this should be something reasonable people of all political spectrum's can support.
From: Gina Palandri Date: Jun 03, 2013 7:05 pm
Personally this whole thread sounds sexist to me. Prior to Chief Dolan when we had the outsourced/headhunted (from out of Minneapolis police chief) who lasted all what maybe a year or less- we had just as many if not more crimes, murders, and general issue--
Our new chief obviously has had a shining police career and guess what...it's a much better idea to promote from within, and not outsource and expensively waste a headhunter to look for our police chiefs...so give her a chance... gees!!!
While I agree--- accountability and tazer happy happens..and definitely we have had some bad crimes, gang violence-- with the last two police chiefs..perhaps even more. So I say give her a chance before you so critically judge.
From: Doug Mann Date: Jun 04, 2013 1:53 am
A large part of the community has no confidence that justice will by served by an internal police investigation into the deaths of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero. And for good reason.
The Star-Tribune ran an article which suggests that the police have done a very poor job of policing themselves. That's fine. But it doesn't fix the problem. If greater civilian oversight of the police department is called for, why not start now?
The first step should be an independent investigation of the killings of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero. That should happen whenever police kill or seriously injure civilians and other police.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 04, 2013 9:15 am
What gets me going is that I sense the Minneapolis police department is responding to the double killings by a public-relations offense rather than honest investigation and disclosure of what happened. WCCO-TV has had two puff pieces on the Minneapolis police in the past several days - one about how north Minneapolis residents are responding positively to officers walking the streets and one about how the police are training to minimize casualties in Columbine-type threats in schools.
Chances are that this strategy will work. The police will keep investigating Franklin's shooting for weeks or months, other events will happen, and the public will forget about the whole situation. Meanwhile, the police PR machine with its strong media connections will stay on message.
It is hard to motivate people to do anything in a crisis like this. What it would take would be a group of 5 to 15 people to be down at City Hall protesting police policy. I think we would need to direct our action at the mayor and city council and get them to put pressure on the police department to come clean, even if it costs the city something in a wrongful-death settlement.
Bottom line is that, if the police did something wrong, they need to admit it. Then they would need to change policies in response to this mistake. (But we do not yet know the extent of what happened.)
Regarding the sexism charge, I think Ms. Harteau had the bad luck to be police chief when the double killings occurred. She is not directly responsible for them, of course, but she is responsible for the police's public response. My initial reaction to that has not been positive but I do hold out hope that Ms. Harteau will bite the bullet and come clean.
That will be an extremely difficult thing for her to do. Mayor Rybak, who is not running for reelection, could do the city a big favor by being the point man in a full confession of police wrongdoing, to the extent it happened. But the public should make clear it will not settle for city BS. If the city continues to offer this, the challenge will be to keep up the pressure until the political cost becomes too great.
The fact is that a handful of protesters can change city policy. I've been through this before with Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee and seen it work. We played a big part in booting the City Council president out of office in 2001 and a smaller part in electing Rybak. (See http://www.landlordpolitics.com.) So even if it seems that individual citizens are powerless to question city officials, that is not true. I've seen it happen and it can happen again.
From: Bob Carney Jr. Date: Jun 05, 2013 2:40 pm
Today I spoke with Cindi Barrington, a Minneapolis Police Public Information Officer. I asked her about the timeline for the investigation to be complete. I also said according to news reports Terrence Franklin’'s father said at a news conference last Thursday that he had viewed the body, and that his son had been shot in the back of the head five times. I asked what, if anything, the Minneapolis Police could say about that.
To first summarize: it is unclear exactly what information will become public, or when, including Franklin’' father’'s statement that his son was shot in the back of the head five times. However, there is a procedure in state law for holding a hearing to determine if it is in the public interest to make data from the Medical Examiner public.
From: Jim Mork Date: Jun 05, 2013 10:00 pm,
Wow, that medical examiner report is bare bones. Are they all like this? Or only when the bullets come out of law enforcement guns?
Part 4 Waiting for the Grand Jury's Decision and the Police Report (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
6/20-26/13 column by Ron Edwards in Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder: “"Franklin case goes to county attorney, then Grand Jury."”
7/31/13 Star Tribune article: “"Community activists draw parallels between Terrance Franklin and Trayvon Martin cases."”
Out of sight, out of mind?
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 17, 2013 6:22 pm
It’'s now been a month and a week since Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero were killed through police action. I presume that the Minneapolis police or a state agency are still investigating what happened. Maybe some day they’'ll make a public statement on their findings.
In the meanwhile, aren’'t we, residents of Minneapolis, entitled to know - at least in general terms - whether the city thinks its police officers did anything wrong? Shouldn’'t the mayor or someone in authority let us know if we, the citizens, can have confidence in the city police to do what is right or, in the alternative, candidly admit wrongdoing? Or is this just a public-relations game to drag out the “investigation” as long as possible and keep people in the dark until they have forgotten the whole thing?
I notice that a leading DFL candidate for mayor wants to make Minneapolis the greenest city in America and train the city’'s children for jobs of the future. Fine, I’'m for that, too. But how about making Minneapolis a city where the police do not kill people without explanation? Isn’'t that more in the mayor’'s line of responsibility?
Avoid the bad news, tout the potential good - This is what passes for political leadership in our city today.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 19, 2013 8:34 pm
Well, I can see that no one else in this forum cares to comment on the killings of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero six weeks ago. It’'s “out of sight, out of mind”; or else, we’'re obediently sitting around waiting for the police or maybe the county attorney to release information to tell us whether or not the killings were justified.
Now we learn from Southside Pride that the Minneapolis police department has sent a report to the Hennepin County Attorney, presumably to decide whether anyone on the force should be indicted. We also learn that that the county attorney’'s office is saying that it might be “several months” before the official police report and the medical examiner’'s report will be made public.
So now we have it. Minneapolis residents are just supposed to wait several more months to learn anything more about the killings. Mike Freeman is going to decide how long we have to wait. After all, there are laws and procedures.
Deciding whether to prosecute someone and letting the citizens of Minneapolis know whether they have an honest, law-abiding police department are two different things. The citizens of Minneapolis are entitled to more information about this case. If not from the police chief, they deserve to hear from the mayor whether or not the city thinks the killings were justified. And, if the killings were not justified, people in Minneapolis and elsewhere deserve to know, in general terms, what happened and, assuming the worst, what the city of Minneapolis intends to do to try to make sure its police do not murder people in the future.
Let me be frank. I think the statements made by Police Chief Harteau were largely a diversion - but, of course, I could not know, not having been there when Franklin was killed. My understanding of the cover story is that an unarmed burglary suspect with an arrest record (Franklin) broke into someone’'s basement where he was cornered by an unspecified number of police and a police dog. One of the police officers had a machine gun. Like Bruce Lee, Franklin presumably did some fancy moves, grabbed the unlocked machine gun from the officer, and fired shots at two other officers, wounding them. Then, in the heat of battle, another officer killed Franklin, with five shots to the back of his head. (And the police department had not even interviewed the officers involved after five days.)
Does this story seem far-fetched to you? It does to me. I am willing to give the police the benefit of the doubt if they come up with a convincing explanation for this on-the-face-of-it implausible turn of events. But instead chief Harteau says we’'ll have to wait until the police or someone completes their investigation.
As citizens of Minneapolis, we are being short-changed. We are not entitled to rush or otherwise influence the prosecution of possible wrong doers; but we are entitled to know if the city is prepared to admit wrongdoing on behalf of the police department, if any, and take this case seriously enough to do something to correct the problem. Freeman’'s investigation has no bearing on this. We deserve to hear from our representatives in city government. Six weeks after the incidents, we deserve to hear from them now.
Do we want to live in a police state or do we not? That is the question. If we do not, we need to be vocal and assertive with elected city officials (and with potential elected officials) to let them know that we need essential information about this case. Does or does not the city think the killings were justified? We also need to change the way the Minneapolis police go about their business if Terrance Franklin was, indeed, murdered. To defer to some tough-talking police chief and look the other way is, in effect, a vote for the police state.
From: andrea schaerf Date: Jun 19, 2013 8:50 pm
I believe I read there would be a grand jury which would include looking at the police for any wrong doing. I think they are not saying anything so they dont create bias. Is been a while bit I guess, months or years with out any news doesnt create bias? I think it does.
Should we let Mik Freeman decide if the Minneapolis police had the right to shoot Terrance Franklin?
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 20, 2013 6:06 pm
It now appears that the city will not be releasing further information about the shooting death of Terrance Franklin because the police have turned over its report to the Hennepin County Attorney who will decide if prosecution is warranted.
What will happen? An article in Southside Pride states: “Based on past history, it is highly unlikely that the county attorney would ask the grand jury to indict the officers. The county attorney’'s office told Southside Pride it would be “several months” before the official police report and the medical examiner’'s report of the homicide would be made public.”
Ron Edwards writes in Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder: “The last time a Grand Jury came even close to indicting a law enforcement officer in the death of an African American was 35 years ago, when a Federal Grand Jury failed by one vote to indict an Eagan police officer for the traffic-stop execution-style shooting death of the unarmed son of then-executive director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, Robert Benford.”
I don’'t wish to anticipate what Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney, will do in the case of Terrance Franklin. I also don’'t wish to emphasize the racial aspect. Let Freeman do whatever he thinks is necessary to determine whether an officer or two should be indicted on criminal charges. That’'s the state’'s business. However, it is our business as residents and citizens of Minneapolis to know if we have an honest, law-abiding police department. We decide that, not Mike Freeman.
This whole process of withholding essential information pending an investigation of the case by the County Attorney is making it impossible to judge whether or not the police acted properly. In deciding that the results of the investigation will not be released for several months, the authorities are betting on the fact that the public will forget about what happened to Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero and simply accept whatever it is told.
The city’'s cover story is preposterous: An unarmed burglary suspect with an arrest record (Franklin) broke into someone’'s basement where he was cornered by an unspecified number of police and a police dog. One of the police officers had a machine gun. Like Bruce Lee, Franklin presumably did some fancy moves, grabbed the unlocked machine gun from the officer, and fired shots at two other officers, wounding them. Then, in the heat of battle, another officer killed Franklin, with five shots to the back of his head.
Not having been at the scene of the shooting, I cannot say for sure whether this story is right or wrong. However, I can say with confidence that the story is so far-fetched that the city owes the public a better explanation. To say “wait until we finish our investigation” is not good enough. In fact, five days after the shooting, the city still had not interviewed the officers involved in Franklin’'s killing, according to some reports.
City officials owe us an explanation now. They’'ve had at least six weeks to ask questions of the police whom they supervise on our behalf. The mayor, R.T. Rybak, and the chair of the Public Safety Committee, Don Samuels, are the ones mainly in charge. What do they have to say about this case; or are they simply standing behind the police chief, Harteau, who may feel that, to maintain her new authority, she needs to support the officers, right or wrong?
Former police chief Tony Bouza’'s take on this case is revealing although he may not have any more particular information about the case than we do. He wrote in Southside Pride:
“The May 10 shooting of Terrance Franklin and the subsequent related death of a motorcyclist raises the profoundest questions about the police chief’'s confidence in the people to handle hard truths. I’'m going to guess the chief’'s delay is rooted in embarrassing disclosures no one is anxious to make. The absence of the many reforms needed buttresses the point that there is little interest in making the hard, fundamental changes needed.”
In an otherwise depressing and messy situation, this points toward an upside: the possibility of reform. If there is something in the culture of the Minneapolis police department that leads to excessive violence, then this conceivably could be changed, given courageous political leadership. The mayor has the power to do something, even if the police leadership or its union is opposed. So does the City Council. They represent us. They should recognize that things got badly out of hand in the incidents that occurred on May 10th. The public trust has been betrayed.
Let me present a dream scenario: The mayor asks for and receives a full account of what happened to Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero on May 10th. He is appalled. He realizes that the police were in the wrong. Then - miracle of all miracles - he says so publicly. He says that the police must change the way they handle situations like this. He tells the police chief she must make recommendations to change policies and procedures in response to the killings. She does so.
Where would this leave us, a better or worse city? I think Minneapolis would be a better city if this happened. The point is not to castigate the Minneapolis police as being racist or evil but simply admit that the behavior exhibited on May 10th was unacceptable and needs to be changed. We would be rightly proud of our city if its political leadership could find the strength to do this. In the meanwhile, Mike Freeman could be doing his criminal investigation however long it takes.
What is not acceptable, however, is to punish one or two “rogue cops” and pretend that the police department itself deserves no blame. Freeman will not be recommending that the department be indicted. We need to hear from the mayor about whether he thinks the current police policies and procedures are OK and, if not, what he intends to do about the situation.
From: Gary Farland Date: Jun 20, 2013 6:29 pm
Regardless of what actually happened in that basement, the police should be sanctioned for not being able to perform an arrest in this case without incident. They had this young man cornered in a basement and he was not wanted for a violent crime. Why was a police dog biting the boy? And why would they have a fully automatic weapon that went off? It would seem that the police over-reacted to something, just as they did when they called in many, many police from all over, well after the incident was over, had them running red lights, and had them tape off six square blocks. They should be made to watch Foyle's War.
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Jun 21, 2013 4:48 pm
I'm no expert on police procedures, but it does seem that the shooting of Terrance Franklin had to be either an unjustified police killing or gross police incompetence in effectuating an arrest. Is there a third alternative?
Whether criminal charges are brought or not, it seems inconceivable that the officers involved will continue as police officers in good standing -- whether on the streets or on some desk jobs -- for the several months Mr. Freeman is apparently going to take. Or are they on administrative leave until Freeman completes his investigation?
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Jun 23, 2013 3:27 am
I am offended that McGaughey is stoking the flames to attract attention to his hapless campaign for mayor. The police chief has called for withholding judgment until the facts are in. Why the rush to judgment, if this is not being done for political purposes? The officers involved are not going anywhere.
I advise people to read this MPR exclusive interview with a witness: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/05/16/news/investigation-minneapolis-police
There are conflicting reports on what happened. According to Franklin's father, Franklin was shot in the back of the head. There has been no confirmation of this. If it is true, it is bad for the officer who fired the shots. According to police, Franklin rammed their car, fled, broke into a private area of a store, broke into a private residence, attacked a police dog, grabbed a police firearm, and shot policemen. These are all felonies. Some of these have not been officially confirmed either.
To answer the question posed in the title (which I assume is a rhetorical question), we let M.F. decide when we elected him county attorney, for the 4th time. And M.F. will not decide personally; it will be up to the grand jury, a panel of citizens chosen at random.
In America, we are innocent until proven guilty. McGaughey's reversal of this presumption is appalling. Let the chips fall where they may, and whosoever is indicted will have to take their lumps.
But if no one is indicted, don't expect the agitators and useful idiots to quietly accept the decision. For the likes of them, that will just be fuel for another round of have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife questions for the police. M.F. and the grand jury are damned if they do, or if they don't.
From: Doug Mann Date: Jun 23, 2013 9:31 am
Ron Edwards noted,
"The last time a Grand Jury even came close to indicting a law enforcement officer in the death of an African American was 35 years ago, when a Federal Grand Jury failed by ONE vote to indict an Eagan police officer for the traffic stop execution-style shooting death of the unarmed son of then Executive Director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, Robert Benford. His 20 year old son was home on leave from the United States Army."
"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
June 19, 2013
The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) announced two weeks ago that they completed the investigation into the shooting of T.T. Franklin, and forwarded its findings to the Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman. The Star Tribune reported that “The case will get an initial review from the county attorney’'s office before it is sent to the grand jury” (Star Tribune, June 7, 2013, “County attorney's office to review Terrence Franklin shooting”). As Sportin’' Life would say: "It Ain't Necessarily So,” as all evidence is NOT in.
How can the city or the Black community craft response strategies without a finished evidence report (DNA, finger prints, wound analysis, blood, urine, etc., etc.)?
On May 18, 2013, the MPD said it would take at least four months to complete the forensic investigation, 4 – 5 weeks for the final determination from the medical examiner. Why? Is the County Attorney setting up a continuation of the “tradition” leading to another Grand Jury “no bill” indictment in the case of police killing a Black person? Let’'s look at our state and federal civil rights “tradition”.
The last time a Grand Jury even came close to indicting a law enforcement officer in the death of an African American was 35 years ago, when a Federal Grand Jury failed by ONE vote to indict an Eagan police officer for the traffic stop execution-style shooting death of the unarmed son of then Executive Director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, Robert Benford. His 20 year old son was home on leave from the United States Army.
The rest of the article can be found at http://theminneapolisstory.com/
Mann for Minneapolis Mayor
From: Connie Sullivan Date: Jun 23, 2013 11:07 am
Shot five times in the back of the head. Horrible image. If true, that's nothing less than police "overkill." The father keeps repeating that, as do we. Is it true? Did the cops deliberately murder this kid? Where's the autopsy report?
We're not talking weeks-long DNA testing, folks. We're talking an autopsy report that gives the cause of death. After all, it took even the Italians [!] less than a day to say that James Gandolfini died of a heart attack. And we're waiting months to know if that young man had five gunshot wounds to the back of his head--or not?
I don't remember when physical analysis of a cause of death took so long. Most of the public is not going to be on the Grand Jury, after all, and we can stand the news. Maybe Minneapolis PD cannot?
From: Dave Garland Date: Jun 23, 2013 11:40 am
On 6/23/2013 3:27 AM, Susan Goldberg wrote: "I am offended that McGaughey is stoking the flames to attract attention to his hapless campaign for mayor. The police chief has called for withholding judgment until the facts are in. Why the rush to judgment, if this is not being done for political purposes? The officers involved are not going anywhere."
I advise people to read this MPR exclusive interview with a witness:
There are conflicting reports on what happened. According to Franklin's father, Franklin was shot in the back of the head. There has been no confirmation of this. If it is true, it is bad for the officer who fired the shots. According to police, Franklin rammed their car.
I don't think the police have said anything of the kind. I think you're confusing two incidents, one where Franklin died, and another where a motorcyclist was killed in an accident with a squad car that was rushing to the scene a half hour after it was all over.
As an aside, I'm sure everyone feels safer to know that our police are carrying machine guns now.
To answer the question posed in the title (which I assume is a rhetorical question), we let M.F. decide when we elected him county attorney, for the 4th time.
Would this be the same Mike Freeman who failed to prosecute anyone for the Gang Strike Task Force crimes?
From: andrea schaerf Date: Jun 23, 2013 12:41 pm
I believe if I acted in any of the ways described by the media, breaking glass in the door to get in a strangers home, hiding in the basement, running away from police, I would be shot, if I wasnt an old lady who couldnt walk. If the racial issue means he was a black man in a white neighborhood, then that would change the entire discussion to only racial profiling. Most adults know if you flee the police, hit a car etc. you may well be shot. Automatic weapons like machine guns easily shoot many more times that needed. Before all the action, what was the evidence for stopping this man?
I advise people to read this MPR exclusive interview with a witness:
From: MALCOLM BISSON Date: Jun 23, 2013 2:24 pm
I THINK ONE THING MISSING HERE IS "POLICE PROTOCOL". I REMEMBER BACK WHEN THE POLICE HAD GUNS DRAWN WITHIN A BLOCK OF A SCHOOL, ON 34TH AND CHICAGO. TOTALLY NOT ACCEPTABLE PROTOCOL, BUT WE WERE ONLY ASSURED IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. WELL, IT SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE.
NOW WE'RE DEALING WITH MACHINE GUNS, WHERE I THINK THERE ARE FIRM PROTOCOLS FOR WHEN ONE CAN BE USED. SUCH AS IN A NON-VIOLENT SITUATION LIKE FRANKLIN'S CASE. I EVEN HAVE AN ACQUAINTANCE WHO WAS SHOT TO DEATH BECAUSE THE COP PULLED OUT A REAL SHOTGUN, INSTEAD OF THE BEAN BAG SHOTGUN. PROBABLY A CASE OF THE POLICE NOT MARKING THE BEAN BAG GUN AS TO NOT BEING MISTAKEN FOR THE REAL DEAL.
AS FOR BEING SHOT IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD, WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION TO SHOOT SOMEONE THERE, AS THE VICTIM WASN'T REALLY A THREAT FACING THE OTHER WAY. BUT, I'LL HOLD OFF ON THAT UNTIL THE AUTOPSY COMES OUT.
BUT, I WILL ADD THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE DIFFERENT RULES OF ACTION TOWARDS PEOPLE OF COLOR. REMEMBER, I'VE BEEN STOPPED MORE OFTEN THAN I AM YEARS OLD, FOR DWI (DRIVING WHILE INDIAN). BUT, ONLY WHEN I AM ALONE IN MY CAR.
EVEN THOUGH IT IS LOOKING MORE SUSPICIOUS AS TIME GOES BY, NOT HEARING ANY FACTS ON THIS INCIDENT ONLY PROMOTES SPECULATION. SO, ONCE THE FACTS ARE PRESENTED, IN A TRANSPARENT MANNER, LETS NOT ALL JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS. WHILE LOOKING TO SEE IF WHAT'S REPORTED ISN'T A WHITE WASH.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jun 23, 2013 4:37 pm
Susan Goldberg wrote: "I am offended that McGaughey is stoking the flames to attract attention to his hapless campaign for mayor. The police chief has called for withholding judgment until the facts are in. Why the rush to judgment, if this is not being done for political purposes? The officers involved are not going anywhere."
I am not running for mayor. It is therefore not a "hapless" campaign; it is a nonexistent campaign.
The question that I raised in the latest thread is whether the public has a right to question policies and practices of the Minneapolis police department - not only those which lead to excessive violence and unnecessary deaths but the official explanations which, to me, seem designed not to explain but to deflect blame from the department even where blame may be warranted.
Susan, the Hennepin County Attorney will not be evaluating the Minneapolis police department. It will be conducting an investigation to see whether particular officers should be charged with crimes. Let that investigation continue. However, it is not proper to withhold basic information about the case from the public for long periods of time - "several months" - so that the public is unable to see and judge what the department is doing.
Yes, this is a political issue. It is the most important local political issue imaginable. The issue is whether the city's elected officials have control over the police or whether those officials will let the police do and say whatever they want. I'm not willing to accept BS explanations from the police. I am not willing to accept unrestrained behavior from the people who, representing us, have machine guns.
My position is that the mayor ought to be making a determination of what happened - not whether individuals officers committed crimes but whether the police department has flaws that can be corrected - and then make a public statement on his findings. The mayor needs to demonstrate that he is concerned about possible police abuse, not kick the can down to Mike Freeman.
That would be real leadership.
From: Jim Mork Date: Jun 23, 2013 6:01 pm
The issue isn't "do cops have the right to shoot someone?" That's not an exclusive right of cops. The law gives us all the "right" when mortally threatened to fight back. What happens with cops that isn't typical is they get shot AT. Which means they are more likely to be asked if they really needed to. Mike Sauro is one of my least favorite Minnesotans. It wasn't just his itchy trigger finger, he was brutal in more ways than that. But Jerry Haaf wasn't the same.
It isn't up to Mike Freeman at all. He can hold grand jury hearings and the citizens can vote indictment or no bill. That's a standard part of justice everywhere for the whole history of the country. It is debatable how much better or worse it is than CRA or this new thing they invented. With my distrust of the sitting city government, I'm inclined to reject any "solution" they like, sight unseen. What I don't know is how effective CRA is. You can't insist on something that worked poorly or never worked. The point is to get the CHIEF to do her work in the discipline department. Minneapolis has had a
lot of trouble in that area. More chiefs botched the job than didn't. And the federation seems totally comfortable with members who are highly unprofessional. They seem to have no standards at all.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Jun 24, 2013 2:12 am
Dave Garland erroneously said:
I don't think the police have said anything of the kind. I think you're confusing two incidents, one where Franklin died, and another where a motorcyclist was killed in an accident with a squad car that
was rushing to the scene a half hour after it was all over.
From: Jack Ferman Date: Jun 24, 2013 10:14 am
Since when is anything written by a blogger to be taken as gospel. Even trained and experienced journalsts sometimes report stories flawed or flat out wrong. When stating facts, reporters try to get more than one source to verify. How many first hand sources did Rupar have to verify his "when-where-who-what-why" alleged facts in his blog. Note there are no words in quotation marks. Was Rupar at the scene conduction journalist-level interviews and has reporter notes (many reporters know and use shorthand so their notes are generally accepted as factual quotations).
On Jun 24, 2013, at 2:12 AM, "Susan Goldberg" wrote:
Dave Garland erroneously said:
"I don't think the police have said anything of the kind. I think you're confusing two incidents, one where Franklin died, and another where a motorcyclist was killed in an accident with a squad car that was rushing to the scene a half hour after it was all over."
I am not confused about anything. To familiarize yourself with the case, please see what the Pioneer Press wrote, quoted in Aron Rupar's blog on CityPages:
The manhunt began, police said, when a resident of the neighborhood saw a man driving by about 2 p.m. and called police, saying he looked like the burglar who broke into his home last week.
Police stopped the car in the 2700 block of Lyndale Avenue South, according to the girlfriend, Anquanette Hollman, who said she was in the vehicle at the time.
Police said Franklin rammed his car into a squad car and almost ran another officer down, before crashing his vehicle and fleeing on foot.
Hollman said Franklin drove several blocks west on 28th Street parked and ran.
The link to the City Pages article: http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2013/05/mpd_shootings_cops_shot_with_own_gun_biker_had_green_light_when_fatally_hit_by_squad_car.php
From: Dave Garland Date: Jun 24, 2013 11:02 am
On 6/24/2013 2:12 AM, Susan Goldberg wrote:
Dave Garland erroneously said:
I don't think the police have said anything of the kind. I think you're confusing two incidents, one where Franklin died, and another where a motorcyclist was killed in an accident with a squad car that
was rushing to the scene a half hour after it was all over.
I am not confused about anything. To familiarize yourself with the case, please see what the Pioneer Press wrote, quoted in Aron Rupar's blog on City Pages:
Hey, I read the very MPR story that YOU linked to. Didn't say anything about Franklin hitting a squad car. The TCDP story that I looked at didn't, either. Nor the Pi-Press story that I saw. Nor the
stories I recall hearing on KSJN. I don't have a clue who Aron Rupar is. Is he some sort of UoM-student version of Dan Rather?
The squad car accident a half hour after the shooting, where the motorcyclist was killed, has certainly been in the news, though.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: 4:18pm, Jun 24, 2013
I don't vouch for Aaron Rupar. Anyway, he didn't write what I quoted. He merely copied it from the Pioneer Press and pasted it into his blog. I think you know that. I think you are trying to make an issue where there is none because the story reveals information that is unfavorable to the dead criminal.
Here is the original Pioneer Press story that is under consideration.
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Jun 24, 2013 4:31 pm
Susan Goldberg relies on a City Pages blog that quotes from a Pioneer Press article and other media sources, when she writes as follows:
"According to police, Franklin rammed their car, fled, broke into a private area of a store, broke into a private residence, attacked a police dog, grabbed a police firearm, and shot policemen."
But curiously, Ms. Goldberg does not rely on the MPD's own statement, which is also found in its entirety in that same City Pages blog.
And the official MPD statement says not that "Franklin rammed their car," but that "the suspect...fled from the police in his vehicle, striking a marked MPD squad car and nearly striking another MPD officer on foot." "Rammed" sounds intentional; "striking" in the course of fleeing does not.
And in a later post, Ms. Goldberg writes: "Police said Franklin rammed his car into a squad car and almost ran another officer down, before crashing his vehicle and fleeing on foot."
Again -- and without justifying Franklin's fleeing from the police -- "almost ran another office down" is different from "nearly striking another MPD officer on foot," which is what the official MPD statement says.
Finally, according to that very same blog, the official MPD statement does not say that Franklin "shot policemen," as Ms. Goldberg's post does. Rather, it says: "An intense struggled [sic] ensued and during the struggle, 2 assisting MPD officers were shot and wounded." From the MPD's own statement, we have no idea who shot the officers.
Ms. Goldberg is playing fast and loose with the facts, relying on media versions, which go further than even the MPD's claims in its official statement. And to make matters worse, that official statement was available on the same blog that Ms. Goldberg relied on in her posts.
From: Ed Felien Date: Jun 24, 2013 4:36 pm
I think the point is, We don't know. The police are not being straight with us. Why don't they release their police report? Why don't they release the Medical Examiner's report? Do we want to begin counting the number of young black men killed by the Minneapolis Police Department in South Minneapolis? Don't we deserve an explanation, or are they waiting for it all to blow over?
Tony Bouza's piece says it all: http://www.southsidepride.com/2013/06/articles/a-tough-assignment.html
Until they are forthcoming, I'm afraid people will think the worst of the MPD.
From: Jim Mork Date: Jun 24, 2013 8:46 pm
The ghost of Mike Sauro? Harteau thinking she has to have bullet proof case or the officers and their lawyer will run straight to court saying their rights are trampled? By the way, where do these officers reside? Do we even know their names?
From Southside Pride:
Terrance Franklin: accidental homicide? or execution?
About 250 demonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis to the Hennepin County Government Center on Friday, May 31, to protest the police silence about the killing of Terrance Franklin, 22. Franklin was being pursued by police after an alleged failed burglary attempt. He was cornered in a basement at 2717 Bryant Ave. S. by two police officers.
The two officers were injured by gunfire. It is not clear if they shot at each other or if Franklin managed to get one of their guns and wound them. Spokesman-Recorder reporter Mel Reeves said someone who had seen the body said Franklin was shot five times in the back of his head and twice in his back.
The police have not released an official report on the incident. After almost a month they did present a police report to the county attorney. As is the case with all homicides caused by the police, the county attorney will present the facts to a grand jury. Based on past history, it is highly unlikely that the county attorney would ask the grand jury to indict the officers. The county attorney’'s office told Southside Pride it would be “several months” before the official police report and the medical examiner’'s report of the homicide would be made public.
Friends and family of Terrance Franklin are highly suspicious of the police actions, and many believe the actions are an attempt to cover up a basement execution.
See related story: “A Tough Assignment” by Tony Bouza .
A tough assignment
BY TONY BOUZA
A police chief must consciously or otherwise choose between constituencies. There are three choices I can see: The Brotherhood in Blue, chosen by most up-from-the-ranks chiefs who identify with their colleagues and want the union’'s support; the political establishment—usually meaning the mayor, but sometimes, as in Minneapolis, the City Council; or the most evanescent, amorphous of all—the people.
It would be easy to say I chose the latter out of the noblest of sentiments, but it wouldn’'t be true. I chose it because I could afford to, having the support of a secure, selfless, dedicated public servant who was never troubled that he could be upstaged by a noisy subordinate—Mayor Don Fraser.
So it was easy for me to live by the Ciceronian dictum, “The good of the people is the chief law.” An abstraction with fateful consequences.
I froze all but two promotions for nine years and still had a bloated officer corps at the end. I reduced the precincts from six to four. Used decoys to lure muggers and stings to tempt burglars. Practically all officers worked eight-hour days and 40-hour weeks, and lawsuits and settlements were minuscule. The department was run for the people’'s benefit—mirabile dictu.
In “Expert Witness” (2013), I describe 60 of the 90 cases in which I took on malicious, bad faith, racist, thumper actions by the few cops who set the tone in every police agency in the nation.
I was employed, well paid and cosseted, and more than fairly compensated for the antipathy of the rank and file by the generosity and kindness of the populace.
I claim no special credit for it. We all seek security, safety and ease. I simply chose a different constituency.
To earn the people’'s trust you have to tell them the simple truth as soon as possible. And you have to run the agency for their benefit. They will get it.
The May 10 shooting of Terrance Franklin and the subsequent related death of a motorcyclist raises the profoundest questions about the police chief’'s confidence in the people to handle hard truths. I’'m going to guess the chief’'s delay is rooted in embarrassing disclosures no one is anxious to make.
The absence of the many reforms needed buttresses the point that there is little interest in making the hard, fundamental changes needed. In a rather grotesque sense, the Tea Partiers are, at least partially, right. There is a bloat, self-protection and self-serving, in government ranks, and reforms are needed.
Indemnification for monster outlays of public funds to protect wrongdoers in the ranks melts the political bodies into being complicit in these inexcusable acts.
As I approach my 85th year, I really try to keep my ego out of it—hard for me to do even now. But the fact is that policing, like teaching, has been weakened by an institution that, having secured the necessary protections, salaries, benefits and other good things, has now been reduced to protecting thumpers, racists and abusers—the union.
The two most powerful, important and benign influences in my life are education and unionism. I cherish both. I am dismayed by the recent twists. Most chiefs choose to be one of the boys. This is a mistake. To do the job right—trust the people.
Our current chief, like most of her predecessors, appears to be in danger of becoming just like her colleagues the nation over—one of the boys.
Cicero had it right.
In spirit, the Declaration of Independence supports civilian control of the police.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jul 04, 2013 11:21 am
The Declaration of Independence, signed on this day in 1776, indirectly supports the principle that civilian authority ought to control the police. Among its complaints against King George are the following:
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance ...
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power ...
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States.”
Substitute the name of your local police - the Minneapolis police department - for the British troops sent by King George III to police the American colonies. I think you will find similarities to abuses occurring today.
Now, of course, our police are technically under the control of Minneapolis city officials who were duly elected by the people. But those officials refuse to control the police. They refuse to get involved in the controversies relating to the killings of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero on May 10th. Instead, they delegate this matter to the police chief who, in turn, kicks the can to the Hennepin County Attorney.
For democratic government to work, we need transparency - and that includes transparency in the work done by police, prosecutors, and courts. In case after case, the city of Minneapolis settles police-brutality cases by payments of money but the details of these cases are kept secret. This is subverting the democratic process. We need to know what city representatives have done in order to hold them accountable.
Now the Minneapolis police chief and Hennepin County Attorney are refusing to disclose essential information about the events leading to Terrance Franklin’'s death. Mike Freeman may or may not decide to seek an indictment against the officers involved. Maybe the Medical Examiner’'s report and the police report will be made available at that time. How much more time will it take? Even then the key information will be what the officers themselves have disclosed. It will be difficult to prosecute this case.
It should be possible for Freeman to do his work and also release the details of Terrance Franklin’'s killing. The public has a right to know what its police have done. In keeping essential information confidential for an unreasonable period of time, the police chief and county attorney are subverting the democratic process. The mayor and city council ought to step in on behalf of city residents but they all seem to be out to lunch.
We need to fight to preserve our democracy as our political forbearers once did to establish it.
(No subsequent messages)
Justice for Trayvon Martin and Terrence Franklin
From: Jim Bernstein Date: Jul 16, 2013 4:46 pm
I must agree with Charley! There is simply no reason that this investigation is taking this long and the silence from the Police Department looks deeply suspicious. The Minneapolis Police Department has a good deal of explaining to do and in the apparent heel-dragging makes it very easy to conclude that they are trying to concoct a plausible story about what happened so they don't have to face any consequences.
The people of Minneapolis deserve to know what happened but our Police Department refuses to disclose anything. It is up to Mayor Rybak and the City Council to force them to come clean - now!
From: Jack Ferman Date: Jul 16, 2013 4:58 pm
I think what is needed is a revised Civilian Review Board that has some teeth. Enough is understood about the prior board to make one that works. One all the upsides and downsides of the former board, the road will emerge.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jul 17, 2013 9:42 pm
It seems to me that this is not the product of a single "rotten apple" officer or several of them but of an entire police culture. That's why the solution, if any, will not be what the Hennepin County Attorney decides to do but what the mayor and city council decide to do.
Yesterday, one of my apartment units was raided by what appeared to be a SWAT team of the Hennepin County Sheriff department assisted by MPD who would tell me only that they were serving a warrant. (I never saw the warrant.) There must have been a dozen vehicles and perhaps thirty officers including an armored vehicle and an ambulance.
Several officers or deputies armed with AK-47s rushed into the building, kicked in the door (although it was unlocked) and then pointed their presumably loaded weapons at small children and adults in the unit, placing the adults in handcuffs while they searched the apartment and threw everything on the floor. Evidently, they found nothing.
My former wife, on the scene, asked an officer sitting in a vehicle about the ambulance and suggested that she might help persuade her son, the young man they were looking for, to turn himself in. The officer reacted rather angrily suggesting that this would be interfering with a police operation; they had their own way of doing things. He also suggested that her son might have to get killed. I could hardly believe this.
I am willing to believe that a malicious and perhaps anonymous tipster triggered this event and the police may have been given information to believe that my former wife's son was armed and dangerous. Even so, the law-enforcement officers grossly overreacted; and this is a product of the culture which I think sorely needs a civilian overhaul.
On the city level, the mayor and city council are the ones we elected to do this difficult but necessary job. Where are they these days?
From: Bill Kahn Date: Jul 17, 2013 10:05 pm
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell
He wasn't talking about the Minneapolis Police force, but he knew human natures.
Until we all know those natures and nurture the best in all of us to control the worst in us, we're gonna need some muscle.
I still think we should just dump MPD and start over with a contract with the Hennepin County Sheriff. They could hire a bunch of unemployed MPD folks with POST licenses and no record of shooting or pounding on folks to excess. We could probably just paint some vehicles, slap some decals here and there, and turn it all over to Hennepin County, just like our libraries.
Maybe we could think about starting a department with a different sort of culture in a decade or more from deep sixing the present one. We could make the academy some sort of buddhist monastery or something in the mean time.
From: Connie Sullivan Date: Jul 18, 2013 10:15 am
The Star Tribune this morning explained what the Sheriff's office did yesterday: they did a blitz, trying to serve 300 or more outstanding arrest warrants. Of the thousands that are outstanding. A routine event but sporadic, that they hope inspires people who know the legal system is looking for them to turn themselves in. That's probably the best thing for the young man you speak of, Bill.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jul 18, 2013 11:46 am
My former wife's son had no outstanding warrants. And, if you serve a warrant, are loaded AK-47s necessary? When it was suggested that the young man might turn himself in, the officer got angry.
If you let the police do this sort of thing, you have a police state. I don't want this. I want police who serve and protect the public.
From: Charlie Quimby Date: Jul 18, 2013 1:51 pm
I had a second hand experience with one of those blitzes in a property I once owned. An informant negotiating for himself apparently told police that my tenant had a bunch of weapons and drugs in the house.
They obtained a warrant and blasted into the house when the tenant was at his girlfriends. They tossed it from top to bottom. A shocking sight if you've never seen it. The doorframe was split, the frame of a substantial couch broken, etc. By the receipt left on the scene the worst they found was a scale and BB gun.
By the time I arrived to secure the property, the informant or friends had stolen a guitar and some other items. Two computers were set outside to be picked up.
Not saying the tenant was a total saint but no charges were ever filed. Not saying heavy force is never warranted in gun and drug cases, but this was an eye-opener.
Part 5 A Shift of Attention to Racist Speech and Rowdy Conduct by Off-Duty Officers (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
7/27/13 Star Tribune article: “"2 cops accused of using slurs."”
7/29/13 Star Tribune article: “"2 Minneapolis officers on leave named in suits for excessive force."”
7/30/13 Star Tribune article: “"Off-duty officers’' use of slurs, insults detailed in police report."”
7/31/13 Star Tribune article: “"Chief and mayor appalled by 2 cops."”
8/2/13 Star Tribune article: “"3 more Mpls. cops had racial altercation."”
8/3/13 Star Tribune article: “"Chief pledges dialogue on race."”
8/3/13 Star Tribune editorial: “"Get to the bottom of police misconduct."”
8/4/13 Star Tribune article: “"Mpls. cops accused of racial bias for years."”
8/5/13 Star Tribune article: “"No room for racist cops, Minneapolis union head says."”
8/6/13 Star Tribune article: “"Police Chief Harteau: ‘'This is not who we are.”'"
8/7/13 Star Tribune article: “"Minneapolis police reach out at National Night Out events."”
8/8/13 Star Tribune article: “"Racial incidents spur call for wider probe of police."”
8/11/13 Star Tribune editorial: “"Seeking real change in Minneapolis cops."”
Minneapolis police officers' behavior
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Jul 30, 2013 10:38 pm
An email I sent to the Council's Public Safety Committee, two of whose members are running for mayor:
Dear Public Safety, Health and Civil Rights Committee Members:
Puh-leeeeeeeeeze! Now I see some of you on the news calling for the two officers caught on video in Green Bay to resign as "bad apples," or how they aren't respresentative of other MPD officers.
We don't know if that's the case or not. We don't know if there is a culture within the MPD that tolerates, if not enables, this kind of behavior.
As I have written you on many, many occasions, you are the committee responsible for oversight of the MPD. And frankly, as a committee, on this issue you have been lax, if not incompetent.
And the mayor? He doesn't have a clue. I personally talked to him at two of his monthly Open Houses, and he was totally unaware of reasons Chief Dolan was giving for not disciplining officers in CRA-sustained cases. He told me that was from a long time before, and I pointed out my information had come from the most recent quarterly report of the CRA -- and the next month, the next quarterly report came out saying exactly the same thing. He either was intentionally ignorant, or just regrettably ignorant.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, and on this issue, neither the mayor nor your committee has been part of the solution.
From: Jim Graham Date: Jul 31, 2013 3:04 am
Chuck you are so right. PPUH-leeeeze!!! We have million dollar settlements for police misconduct while on duty IN Minneapolis, and we do not hear a peep out of them. And now a couple of off-duty officers are accused of using racial slurs after an altercation in a different State, and then, oh my my, they insult the Minneapolis Police Chief. Now we have calls for resignations and action. I guess it is a more heinous crime to be accused of using a racial slur while off duty in another State than to beat someone while on duty in Minneapolis.
Or is it just the politically correct thing to do right now that someone is running for office?
I do KNOW that we have total disdain of the police by the Thugs, Drug Dealers and Whores around Franklin Avenue. And that this Police Chief seems to be doing little about it. Now that is a scandal if you ask me, and an open insult to the entire population of a community. Of course I do understand that good officers are very frustrated, because the City and County Attorneys do not seem to be prosecuting those arrested, and the Hennepin County Judges again seem to be practicing "catch and release" with street Thugs, Drugs, and Hookers.
But then my perspective might be clouded because of my frustration that a call about eight or ten druggies buying and using drugs on my street corner may get a car by half an hour after they have dispersed. And I know it is not the officer's fault. ALL those increased tax dollars and exaggerated "Fees" have gone for something other than providing adequate police for my community.
A call with a Drug Dealers vehicle being used as a rolling crack house brings a car ten or fifteen later; such as this morning when a grey Chevy SUV, Lic. # XKN 827 was used for just that purpose. The druggies had paid, smoked their rocks and dispersed before a police car came by quite a while after the call was made to 911. And occasionally I have to admit I get a little tired of doing the police's work for them and getting no results. Get a little tired of chasing eight or ten active druggies from underneath a camera that is supposed to be monitored BY the police.
Ah well, perhaps with a new Mayor we will get a new Chief and finally begin to get some service for all our tax dollars. OR Dyna, any nice lots or other bank vaults left in western Minnesota? Of course perhaps Iowa along the Mississippi bluffs might be friendlier, or building on my lots overlooking Lake of the Ozarks may be warmer come winter time.:-)
But then a little extra police work, a new Mayor, new Police Chief, and perhaps a couple of new judges elected and my perspective might change. Or simply a full nights sleep without the druggies running around all night long???
Yes we got trouble folks, right here in River City. And that starts with "T" and that rhymes with "D", and that stands for "Drugs, Thugs and Hookers" right here in River City.
"During times of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
From: Doug Cain Date: Jul 31, 2013 4:38 am
This news story caught my attention as well -- going out over MPR -- the outrage of name calling on the chief and other protected classes. Well -- why has there been a silent doldrum of news on the quasi-arrest of Terrance Franklin who got the death sentence in the Uptown neighborhood for an alleged robbery -- and the facts involved ? Are we just waiting for the defense to pull together their case ? Will the citizens be asked once again to pay out damages for this kind of outrage - and offense ? This Green Bay story got big time coverage --- much more immediately --- for hizzoner and the new Chief. Makes me wonder -- what up now ?
From: Brian Stricherz Date: Jul 31, 2013 8:32 am
The two officers that were embarrassed in Green Bay have been suspended with pay. I'm curious as to what their final fate within the department is. A racist outlook would seem at odds with their job description. Blowing off steam getting drunk in another town is one thing, but these two went far beyond that.
Can't also help but note that these two officers were SWAT members. As were the officers involved with Terrence Franklin. As was David Clifford until he was recently fired. It does concern me that the most heavily-armed division which engages in the most high risk policing would include some strongly questionable characters.
From: Doug Mann Date: Aug 01, 2013 6:27 pm
Why the sudden outrage about Minneapolis police officers using racial slurs? Why no outrage about the use of excessive force against African Americans, including the execution-style killing by police of Terrance Franklin?
When the misconduct is racially motivated, the Hennepin County Attorney doesn't prosecute police officers, the Chief of Police doesn't discipline, and the mayor and city council do not demand disciplinary action.
We need an independent civilian oversight board with subpoena power and power to compel the chief of police to take disciplinary action for sustained complaints of excessive use of force and unprofessional conduct.
We should require police to carry professional liability insurance.
Police officers need to be trained as civilian police officers, including training in the appropriate use of force. The police act more like an army of occupation when dealing with people of color.
And there is a corporate culture in the police department that reflects a high level of tolerance for discrimination by the political elite, which does nothing about covert discrimination in employment and housing, which carries out a war on drugs that is highly effective as a tool to criminalize, disenfranchise and marginalize people of color; and it is taboo to even bring up the subject of systemic racism in the K-12 school system, e.g., students of color are more often than white students assigned to watered-down curriculum tracks and more heavily exposed to inexperienced and provisionally licensed teachers.
Three months after Terrance Franklin’'s killing, a shift of attention
From: Bill McGaughey Date: August 12, 2013 10:55 am
It has now been over three months since Minneapolis police officers pumped five bullets into the back of Terrance Franklin’'s head. Official information remains scarce. Evidently, the Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, is still deciding if anyone should be charged.
The best investigation would have been to ask the officers involved what happened in that basement while the incident was fresh in their minds. We were told that several days went by before the officers were interviewed. The authorities then needed another three months or more to do their methodical, thorough work. Also, they could not release the medical examiner’'s report.
Cynics, including myself, suspect that PR damage control is behind the delay. The public was interested in Terrance Franklin during May and maybe June. But then memories fade. Other news stories come along that grab attention.
That happened in late July with reports that two off-duty members of the Minneapolis SWAT team used racial slurs and made a disrespectful reference to Chief Janee Harteau’'s sexual orientation at the police station in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This was front-page news at the Star Tribune. Mayor Rybak said that he was “angered and appalled” by the officers’' behavior. The chair of the City Council’'s Public Safety committee, Don Samuels, called on the officers to resign.
This was precisely the reaction from elected city officials that I had hoped would be forthcoming after Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero were killed by police. But nothing was said by city officials then. It took use of the N-word and a reference to the police chief’'s sexual orientation to inspire outrage. We still have no admission of wrongdoing by the police or city officials regarding the placement of five bullets in the back of Terrance Franklin’'s head.
Following the disclosure of the incident in Green Bay, the Star Tribune ran a number of front-page stories about racist incidents involving Minneapolis police officers. It dredged up an altercation in Apple Valley from 2012 in which unspecified racial slurs were used. Now we had a pattern of racist behavior by Minneapolis police officers. The Star Tribune ran an editorial on August 10th about ending racism in the Minneapolis police department.
In an amazing display of political jiu jitsu, chief Harteau now put herself at the head of a movement to reform the Minneapolis police - not with respect to officers’' dangerous behavior with guns but their attitudes about race and indiscrete comments made by officers while off duty and drunk in another city. She launched her own closed-door “dialogue on race” and gave a press conference proclaiming “this is not who we are”. She called for police to monitor each other’'s speech and rebuke politically incorrect expressions. “If you continue to be silent, you’'re part of the problem,” she said.
Well, I will not be silent. I would remind the chief that racial slurs, while offensive, are constitutionally protected speech. We are not a people that polices other people’'s thoughts and speech but a people free to speak our own mind and occasionally even get drunk. It is the indiscriminate use of advanced weaponry by police to kill our citizens that is un-American and truly offensive. Why do you remain silent on that subject, chief Harteau?
The point is that on-duty behavior by law-enforcement officers, however aggressive and unwarranted, has become a sacred cow. The cause of anti-racist thought and behavior has also become a sacred cow. Both positions need to be reexamined.
It is often said that America is a (white) racist society. Some of the strongest evidence for that is the fact that our largely white community tolerates overly aggressive law enforcement against the black community because white people do see blacks as potential criminals and think that, regardless of political attitudes, the police should be allowed to do their job. They’'re unwilling to invest time and attention to examine individual cases that go against the stereotype.
On the other hand, there is no doubt in my mind that an unhealthy attitude exists in the minds of “cultural leaders” - religious leaders, media people, and academics - regarding white people and their innately or historically racist tendencies. Yes, there should be a discussion about race but it should not be the usual Phoney-Baloney, one-sided, controlled discussion aimed at predictable conclusions. It should be a real discussion bringing white advocates as well as minorities to the table.
Let me make another outrageous statement. I think our “opinion leaders” are less interested in murderous behavior by police than in the “racist” content of their minds because there is no political profit in keeping police under control with respect to on-duty violence. There is, however, much profit for certain persons in enforcing politically correct attitudes. Such attitudes are what drives DFL voters to the polls. We are living a time when demographic identity matters more than anything else politically and socially unhelpful thoughts can be criminalized.
I am white but, if I were an African-American, I would much rather have a police officer shout the N-word at me constantly than have him shoot me with a high-powered weapon or harass me with false legal claims.
Individually, police officers are no better or no worse than the rest of us. It is the trust that we give them officially, while on duty, that requires public scrutiny; and it is high time that the police chief, the mayor, and other elected officers make that a priority.
From: Bill Kahn Date: August 12, 2013 12:01 pm
I don't know, Bill, but before I decide if the new Harteau Transparency is really a smoke screen, I need to see the forensic reports on the case. After all, there are only three people and a dog who could possibly know what happened in that house. I trust the dog, but like Terrance Franklin, we're not going to hear much there aside from the forensics, which take time (Have you noticed they're playing up the Minneapolis crime lab in the news lately?).
This may take a while, but if what happened is not crystal clear to everyone when they are through, let the FBI and the National Guard descend on our fair city while we cut our losses on the MPD and give the Hennepin County Sheriffs Office the biggest contract they ever had because we'll have had enough.
I continue to believe that cultural differences rather than racism govern the problems and as long as problematic behaviors are accepted by any subculture of our city, those problems will persist. Look in the mirror everyone, because it is all on us.
Note: On Thursday, August 15th, the Star Tribune newspaper published a condensed version of William McGaughey’'s posting here as a Commentary feature.
Part 6 Again, waiting for Mike Freeman and the Grand Jury to reach a Decision (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
8/13/13 Star Tribune column: “"Tevlin: Harteau’'s not the first chief to deal with misconduct."”
8/15/13 Star Tribune opinion: “"Minneapolis police shooting of Terrance Franklin ignored."”
8/16/13 Star Tribune article: “"Terrence Franklin’'s DNA found on trigger.”"
8/17/13 Star Tribune article: “"Minneapolis cops face suits by the dozens."”
Terrence Franklin killing
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Aug 15, 2013 10:26 pm
I really wish coverage of this case would go away. The chances that anything will come of the grand jury proceedings now underway is small. As I wrote before, it is unlikely the grand jury will issue indictments, and even if they do, Mike Freeman doesn't have to file them. All that is being accomplished with harping on this case is that the spring is getting wound tighter, with expectations being set up that are unlikely to be fulfilled.
I don't know exactly what happened in that basement, and I'm not going to judge until the facts are out, but from what has been reported so far, nothing that happened to Terrence Franklin is surprising. If you break into an occupied house, you should expect to be killed. If you take up arms against the police, you should expect to be killed. If you injure a police dog, you should expect to be killed. If you shoot police officers, you should expect all officers present to empty their guns into you.
The only way charges are going to be filed against police is if a grand jury thinks there is probably cause and then Freeman thinks there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict. No matter what the facts, there is very little reason to believe that will happen. The Mpls Spokesman-Recorder story points out that in 1991 (shortly after Freeman became county attorney) a grand jury considered the case of Tycel Nelson, who had been shot in the back. There was no indictment against that officer.
What is to be gained by riling the city up to expect charges in this case? Probably headlines for a few wannabe candidates who want to garner some press about it. It would be more constructive to teach our young people to never, ever act like Terrence Franklin.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 16, 2013 12:32 pm
Once again, I must disagree with Susan Goldberg. She writes: “ If you break into an occupied house, you should expect to be killed. If you take up arms against the police, you should expect to be killed. If you injure a police dog, you should expect to be killed. If you shoot police officers, you should expect all officers present to empty their guns into you.”
No, it would not be good to import the values of Nazi Germany or of the Soviet-bloc nations of the 1950s into Minnesota. Is this what you want, Susan?
I would agree that a fleeing criminal suspect should expect to be killed if he or she engages in a gun battle with police, but not for breaking into an occupied home or injuring a police dog. The preferred strategy is to apprehend and arrest the person, not kill him.
The way the police have described the case in today’'s Star Tribune, I would guess that a grand jury is not going to indict the officers involved in the shooting. Keep in mind, however, that the medical examiner’'s report has not yet been released.
The issue for me is not to propose what the grand jury ought to decide but propose that the police department admit that specific mistakes were made in the case of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero and then propose changes in policies and procedure. Instead, the chief seems to prefer a diversionary approach focused on shifting attention to officers’' off-duty racist behavior. Rumor has it that a highly paid PR consultant came up with that strategy.
The goal is to reassert civilian control over police and security agencies. That way, we keep the USA truly free. Again, the mayor and City Council members - and persons running for those offices - should weigh into this discussion.
From: Laura Waterman Wittstock Date: Aug 16, 2013 1:47 pm
We had a man break into our house. He was drunk and disoriented. He had broken windows on about two other houses. We called police and they came with weapons out. My husband said the man was just drunk and disoriented. The took him into custody and we got the door fixed. End of story. Kill this man? Kill this man? That was out of the question.
From: Heather Fraser Date: Aug 16, 2013 2:15 pm
I assumed Ms. Goldberg was employing a particularly poignant form of satire with these comments:
"If you break into an occupied house, you should expect to be killed. If you take up arms against the police, you should expect to be killed. If you injure a police dog, you should expect to be killed. If you shoot police officers, you should expect all officers present to empty their guns into you."
If not satire, then oh my...it seems that the gentle rain of mercy droppeth not upon the Goldberg castle?
From: Bill Kahn Date: Aug 16, 2013 2:32 pm
Update on Terrance Franklin death and grand jury
Friday, August 16, 2013
Many members of the community have asked about the status of the investigation of the death of Terrance Franklin and when this case will be presented to the Hennepin County Grand Jury. The investigation and all the numerous scientific tests are just about completed. It will be presented to the grand jury in mid-September.
On many occasions I have been asked, what is the role both of the Hennepin County Attorneys Office and the grand jury on this matter? I have consistently made three points. First, it is the longstanding practice of the Hennepin County Attorneys Office to take all cases of officer-involved shooting deaths of civilians to a grand jury made up of citizens of Hennepin County. That will happen in this case. Second, under Minnesota law, until the grand jury hears the case all evidence, including witness statements, autopsy reports and laboratory results are considered investigatory evidence and are not public. We cannot release any additional information, including the autopsy report, to anyone. Third, once the grand jury makes its decision, either by indicting someone or by issuing a no-bill, more information will become public from the appropriate agencies. That is all, under the law, I can say publicly at this time.
And so we wait.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 16, 2013 5:46 pm
Mike Freeman's statement is not the final story. Yes, he cannot release the autopsy report before the grand jury makes its decision but a court can. Minnesota statute 13.83 subd. 7 reads: “Any person may petition the district court located in the county where medical examiner data is being maintained to authorize disclosure of nonpublic, protected nonpublic, or confidential medical examiner data. The petitioner shall notify the medical examiner or coroner. The court may notify other interested persons and require their presence at a hearing. A hearing may be held immediately if the parties agree, and in any event shall be held as soon as practicable. After examining the data in camera, the court may order disclosure of the data if it determines that disclosure would be in the public interest.”
P.S Watch Channel 4 news at 6:00 p.m. for an interesting development - 15 minutes from now.
From: Terrell Brown Date: Aug 16, 2013 7:05 pm
No one should expect to be killed. We did away with the death penalty in this state a century ago with good reason.
We had 2 police killings that day for which we haven't heard a decent explanation, the killing of Mr. Franklin and the killing of the cyclist by police officers that ignored a traffic signal. Why did either die, Mr. Franklin did not receive a trial for the acts of which he is accused. The cyclist was minding his own business with a signal lightin his favor.
From: Gary Dombouy Date: Aug 17, 2013 11:41 am
The quietude recommended by the initiator of this post is alarming. 'Don't worry. Be happy.'
And the DNA evidence found on the policeman's gun trigger does not signifying anything so much as Terrence Franklins body came into contact with it before or after it was depressed to shot.
TC Daily Planet Minneapolis | Hennepin County Attorney Freeman on Terrance Franklin case: 'It'll be up to a grand jury' and more
From: Kristoffer Tigue Date: Aug 15, 2013 9:41 pm
Below are today's Daily Planet headlines relating specifically to Minneapolis. For all today's news, see www.tcdailyplanet.net.
Hennepin County Attorney Freeman on Terrance Franklin case: 'It'll be up to a grand jury' MSR inquires into historical failures to prosecute police for misconduct
by Charles Hallman
<http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/profiles/charles-hallman>, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder <http://www.spokesman-recorder.com> Historically, many local Blacks believe that no matter what evidence is presented, nothing happens to Minneapolis police officers for misconduct against people of color. The May 10 death of Terrance Franklin, reportedly at the hands of City police, has thus far done nothing to erase such beliefs.
The second assassination of Terrance Franklin
From: Doug Mann Date: August 18, 2013 11:30 am
County Attorney Mike Freeman is using the Grand Jury as a tactic to delay the legal process, perhaps for months, and to prevent the release of information to the public in the Terrance Franklin case. At the same time, information from "sources close to the investigation" is being leaked to the Star-Tribune and disclosed in articles which are clearly intended to influence public opinion in favor of the police and to taint the pool of potential Grand Jury members. At the Justice for Terrance Franklin rally yesterday, Michelle Gross? noted that the County Attorney is not required to convene a Grand Jury unless he is charging the cops with first degree murder. Mike Freeman could prosecute the police NOW.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Aug 19, 2013 1:22 am
This post by Doug Mann is simply abominable. No one has even alleged that Terrence Franklin was assassinated. The question that the main tubthumper on this issue in our forum has raised is why police didn't surround the house and use other tactics before going inside and confronting Franklin. (And that question belongs in a forum setting police policy, not a grand jury or court.)
A real problem as our city deals with violent crime is the useful idiots who spring up at every juncture to reflexively defend every thug who gets into a confrontation with decent, law-abiding people.
No doubt these people wish they could be in San Francisco right now, stirring up outrage over the incarceration of Barry White. White was pulled over by an Antioch CA policeman in 2009, but instead of stopping, he rammed the officer's squad and tried to run the officer over. (Does this sound familiar?) Police shot White in that incident, and he was taken into custody and held because he couldn't pay $120,000 bail. In 2011, a judge reduced White's bail to $5000, and White bailed out. The charges in the 2009 case are still pending.
Last month, White got into a dispute with a San Francisco jeweler and killed two store employees, Khin Min and Lina Lim. He slashed the throat of one of them after his bullets failed to kill her. The store owner survived within an inch of his life. White then barricaded himself in a restaurant and shot at police until he ran out of ammo.
I am outraged that the Antioch police did not kill White when they had the chance. I am even more outraged that a judge let a dangerous wannabe cop-killer out on bail. If White had been killed in 2009, Khin Min and Lina Lim would still be alive.
How many future victims were spared by Minneapolis police dispatching Terrence Franklin, when he gave them no other option but to do so?
I raise the S.F. case because White's lawyer is using the same playbook as Franklin's apologists. Read this story to learn how, according to his lawyer, White is the real victim:
Finally, here is some information to remedy the seeming gaps in OP's knowledge, to which I think answers are already known: 1) Grand jury is the method with which these cases are dealt; 2) Grand jury proceedings take time, sometimes months; 3) Grand jury members are not put through voir dire the way petit jurors are, and therefore exposure to press coverage is a minor issue in grand jury proceedings; 4) The hat is on the grand jury and not on Mike Freeman. If the grand jury indicts and Freeman wants to prosecute, he can say he's acting on the indictment of the grand jury. If the grand jury indicts and Freeman doesn't want to prosecute, he can simply say, "The grand jury has finished its work," and let the indictments sit, in secret, forever. If the grand jury votes no indictment, Freeman can say the grand jury declined to bring a case. So Freeman has no incentive to do anything other than what he's doing.
From: Pamela Taylor Date: Aug 19, 2103 7:04 pm
This post, in some ways Ms. Goldberg, is abominable! When police shoot anyone in the BACK twice, and the BACK of the head five times, that would be called an assassination in my book. And for the police department to NOT release autopsy reports to the family reeks of a cover-up. The officer who committed the shooting has cost Minneapolis taxpayers astronomical amounts of money, and I for one am sick and tired of it! I strongly object to your use of the word "thug" in this post, as it is seemingly used to pronounce a guilty verdict on Terrence Franklin, and I am pretty sure you don't have any more of the particular details than I do. No one, no matter their race, religion, etc. deserves to be gunned down like that, especially without proof they committed the crime they're being accused of, and the family of the victim - and yes, in this case Terrence was a victim - should not have critical information withheld from them. Mike Freeman is a soldier deeply entrenched in the MPD army, and he is being called out on it, deservedly so. And also, just because policemen are who they are, doesn't mean they are all law-abiding citizens (if that's who you were referring to here). Are you familiar with the term "a wolf in sheep's clothing?"
And, you really need to be mindful of hurling out the term "useful idiots" as well. That's like yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Aug 19, 2013 9:54 pm
1) We do not know how police shot Terrence Franklin. That is information that is yet to come out after the grand jury proceedings. If the report is correct that Franklin was using an officer's gun to shoot other officers, then it does not matter in which part of the body Franklin was shot.
2) The police do not release autopsy results. Autopsy results come from the medical examiner. The medical examiner does not release them while there is a proceeding in progress.
3) According to the Random House dictionary, a thug is "a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer." Before his fatal encounter with police, Franklin had convictions for ADW, terroristic threats, fleeing police, domestic assault, theft, unlawful possession of a firearm, and giving false information to police. Therefore, notwithstanding what happened on May 10, Franklin was a thug and felon for all time.
Furthermore, there is no possible interpretation of the events of May 10 that would hold that Franklin had not broken into the house where he was killed. The only possible way police are guilty of anything is if they killed Franklin while he was trying to surrender. Does anyone really think that is what the grand jury is going to find? If you don't believe that, then all that is being accomplished by demanding more attention be paid to this case is that the spring is being wound tighter and tighter. Minneapolis loses.
Franklin was no more a victim than Hitler, Saddam, and Osama B, who all also died violently. His family should be ashamed to show their faces in public. Why doesn't somebody ask Franklin's mother why she raised her son to be a violent criminal?
P.S. Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater = clear and present danger. Is there seriously a clear and present danger by pointing out to useful idiots what they are?
P.P.S. On another thread, it's being reported that a rift has formed between the useful idiots and the leaders of the "Justice for Franklin" movement.
From: Bradley T Conley Date: Aug 20, 2103 12:56 am
Very interesting how the side defending Mr. Franklin are demeaned as over-sensitive "tubthumpers" who can''t possibly respond because they don't know anything about the events that took place (as the police have not offered reports, medical examiner the autopsy, etc). Yet, those who chose to attack Mr. Franklin are free to do so despite having access to the very same amount and type of information (which is apparently zero).
And what's with the comparison to Hitler, et al.? Wowzers!
From: Alan Muller Date: Aug 20, 2013 8:31 am
Your posts on this matter are pretty mean-spirited, even bloodthirsty. Sounds like Franklin was indeed a bad guy, but do you really have a basis for suggesting his mother intentionally "raised her son to be a violent criminal?" I personally think this is going way too far unless you have some factual basis for it, and you owe her an apology.
Much of the rest of your posts reads to me something like "Whatever really happened, there will be a cover up and I'm OK with that." Well, I'm not, because the use of criminal violence by police and other authorities generally leads to an increase, not a decrease, in the overall levels of lawlessness and violence.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 20, 2013 10:02 am
Susan, it is unfortunate that the two jewelry store employees were murdered by someone given a lenient sentence for a lesser offense. Sometimes convicted felons go on to commit more serious crimes; sometimes not. Judges are in the best position to decide likely outcomes. Perhaps the judge in California made a mistake in evaluating the evidence. I just don't know. Neither do you.
What I do know is that it would be a mistake to punish everyone severely - even kill them - if they have committed a lesser crime. This sledgehammer approach is both unjust in individual cases and counterproductive. I say counterproductive because if the police act unfairly it breeds cynicism and despair; and that leads to more crime, not less, unless you take all persons with less than perfect backgrounds off the streets and put them in prison.
I don't know that we can say for sure that anyone is a "thug" or a "bad guy" because all persons are a mixture of bad and good. Some wrongdoers do reform; and we ought to encourage those tendencies.
Sometimes "moral clarity" - the utter conviction that something is good or bad is another word for mental laziness mixed with self-righteousness.
From: Pat Byrne Date: Aug 20, 2013 10:06 am
It would be good to keep in mind that Ms Goldberg's points 1 (first half; second half is still conjecture at this point and being questioned by authorities. But if true, as one of the conditions of the statement appears to be, then the second part would be correct also), 2, and 3 (If all it includes is the first paragraph) appear to be fairly accurate reports.
Interpretations are just that. Not findings or determinations. Final reports would be handy.
There has been no determination, yet, as to whether Franklyn was a victim in the latest incident, or not. My personal opinion is that the assumption should be yes he was until shown otherwise.
Blaming his mother was somewhat grotesque.
From: Pamela Taylor Date: Aug 20, 2013 12:54 pm
On Mon, 8/19/13, Susan Goldberg wrote:
“1) We do not know how police shot Terrence Franklin. That is information that is yet to come out after the grand jury proceedings. If the report is correct that Franklin was using an officer's gun to shoot other officers, then it does not matter in which part of the body Franklin was shot.”
* And if the report is not correct, you already seem to have him convicted of the crime.
“ 2) The police do not release autopsy results. Autopsy results come from the medical examiner. The medical examiner does not release them while there is a proceeding in progress.”
* As a parent, I should be able to have the results of my child's cause of death, whether or not they are released to the general public. That is simply a humane thing. You can't tell me that you would not demand that bit of decency.
“ 3) According to the Random House dictionary, a thug is "a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer." Before his fatal encounter with police, Franklin had convictions for ADW, terroristic threats, fleeing police, domestic assault, theft, unlawful possession of a firearm, and giving false information to police. Therefore, notwithstanding what happened on May 10, Franklin was a thug and felon for all time.”
* No one has said that Terrence Franklin was a Boy Scout. That said, understand that all of the terms you've quoted regarding thugs could be applied to SOME members of our Minneapolis Police Department, however, I don't hear you calling any of them out as thugs. They have simply managed (with help of course) to keep their records and exploits under wraps and out of the public's view.
“Furthermore, there is no possible interpretation of the events of May 10 that would hold that Franklin had not broken into the house where he was killed. The only possible way police are guilty of anything is if they killed Franklin while he was trying to surrender. Does anyone really think that is what the grand jury is going to find? If you don't believe that, then all that is being accomplished by demanding more attention be paid to this case is that the spring is being wound tighter and tighter. Minneapolis loses.”
* First you tell us there is no possible way, then you state a possible way. Either way Minneapolis loses, but finding out the truth is always the best, bittersweet or not.
“Franklin was no more a victim than Hitler, Saddam, and Osama B, who all also died violently. His family should be ashamed to show their faces in public. Why doesn't somebody ask Franklin's mother why she raised her son to be a violent criminal?”
* I suppose you are going to tell us that your parents raised you to be a perfect person, correct? It is absurd, and frankly, quite arrogant of you, to decide how his family should feel upon the death of their son, and cast aspersion on their character! Do you know any of the Franklin family personally to make such a hateful comment? Perhaps one needs to have a conversation with your parents about how they raised you. That is, if they are not ashamed to show their faces in public.
“ P.S. Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater = clear and present danger. Is there seriously a clear and present danger by pointing out to useful idiots what they are?”
* There is if the person yelling has not a clue, which would seemingly make them the bigger idiot.
“P.P.S. On another thread, it's being reported that a rift has formed between the useful idiots and the leaders of the "Justice for Franklin" movement.”
* I am sure you will keep us informed in your own little hateful manner. I sincerely hope you don't get chosen for jury duty any time soon, for any kinds of cases, because you seem to be one of the most close-minded persons I have encountered in a long time.
1. Be civil! Please read the rules at http://e-democracy.org/rules. If you think a member is in violation, contact the forum manager at <email obscured> before continuing it on the list.
2. Don't feed the troll! Ignore obvious flame-bait.
From: Bradley T Conley Date: Aug 21, 2013 4:12 pm
Has anybody else received unsolicited and belligerent emails concerning this thread?
From: Pamela Taylor Date: Aug 21, 2013 8:03 pm
Not as of yet. But, I did have my second post on this topic stopped by the Forum Manager under the false pretense that I had posted more than the daily allotment. I have done no such thing. I believe that they simply don't want to allow me to speak.
From: Sheldon Mains Date: Aug 21, 2013 9:01 pm
The two post rule is enforced automatically by the software. No human intervention. It is two posts per 24 hour period--not two posts per calendar day.
From: Pamela Taylor Date: Aug 21, 2013 9:42 pm
Sorry folks. My posts, when sent to the group, show up in my email as well. This time, however, they never showed up, so I sent the same post out several times, and never once did it show up in my email. I even checked my spam folder, but nothing there either. So I thought I was being shut down for some reason. My apologies to the Forum Manager and the list members.
What to do about the Minneapolis police?
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 18, 2013 11:44am
There is no doubt in my mind that the Minneapolis police department has serious problems. On one hand, it is charged with handling a widespread, dangerous crime situation in this city. On the other hand, it has internal problems of dishonesty and excessive force. Minneapolis citizens and voters ought to begin thinking seriously about what can be done.
I attended the “justice for Terrance” rally in the Hennepin Government Center plaza yesterday afternoon. I believe that the organizers of such rallies are doing a real service to the people of Minneapolis in keeping the issue of police misconduct in Minneapolis alive. Without the rallies, little attention would be paid to the issue.
On the other hand, I do not believe that the theme of the rallies - racist police against the black community - can lead to a positive outcome. If the police are racist, what do we do - get rid of them all? "Educate" them to get rid of their opinions? No, this is a formula for perpetuating antagonism between the Minneapolis police and the black community.
While the rally was taking place, Chief Harteau was at an event in north Minneapolis schmoozing with the public. She thinks if people can be made to like her they will forget about abusive practices of her department. All is about public relations - good politics and good press. No, the best thing Harteau could do to make us like her would be to face up to abusive practices of her department and change those practices and policies.
I have been thinking about what might be changed. Number One would be the militarization of the police force - all that heavy equipment made available by the federal government along with gung ho attitudes about getting the “bad guys”. Such attitudes got us in trouble in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan; and they certainly should not be given free rein at home. “Protect and serve” is more what the MPD should be about. We do not want our police to be a hostile occupying force.
There needs to be a real dialogue between police and the community about police practices and policies. If I were sitting at this table, I would begin with the issue of appropriate force for given crime situations. Advanced automatic weapons should be used sparingly. SWAT teams should be used sparingly. There should be an appropriate number of officers involved in each situation - not the overwhelming display of force that plays well on TV.
This may be naive but I believe that police and the community can come to an agreement regarding policies and practices. It will not come together if “the community” is focused primarily on prosecuting police or ascribes immutably racist attitudes to the officers. Yes, some officers may hate or despise blacks; but we should hold them accountable for what they do rather than what they think. Focus on practices, not persons.
On the other hand, the city and its police force have taken an essentially dishonest approach to the Terrance Franklin problem in hiring an outside PR consultant who recommended changing the subject from Franklin to what happened in Green Bay. If the police, mayor, or other public officials lie to us, they do not deserve our confidence. Chief Harteau does not deserve to “ride out” this controversy if she tries to deceive the public.
Therefore, the “positive outcome” to be had from the Terrance Franklin killing would be in the area of changing policies and practices rather than protesting the grand jury’'s expected failure to indict the officers involved in this killing.
I would invite members of this forum to make suggestions on how those police policies and practices might be changed. Dare to imagine a Minneapolis police department that deservedly has the community’'s full backing and support.
From: Gayle Bonneville Date: Aug 18, 2013 12:00 pm
Does anyone know: Has the list of members on the new city committee meeting in secret about police issues been made public? Who is on the committee? Since their faces seem to have appeared on TV news coverage recently, I presume it's public. I am not referring to the "replacement" group for the CRA; I am referring to the new one just appointed (by the police chief?) a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks for your help.
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Aug 18, 2013 3:30 pm
Gayle, a few of the names were revealed in this StarTribune story: http://www.startribune.com/local/west/218778481.html
From: Gayle Bonneville Date: Aug 18, 2013 5:04 pm
I don't understand how these meetings can be closed to the public and how these members can be a party to that. I figured such a move was illegal. Even Minneapolis neighborhood organizations are held to higher standards than City of Minneapolis functions, it appears. Some media outlet should be looking into this. Right now it appears there are so many police committees "reviewing" police issues and accomplishing squat that it has become almost laughable, if the subject matter weren't so serious.
People like me -- traditionally willing to give the cops the benefit of the doubt -- are beginning to change their minds on this issue. Too bad the only uniformed or identifiable police person I saw at National Night Out failed to work the crowd and then left before I could even figure out who she was or get to her -- I presume she was someone from the NE/SE Second Precinct, maybe the inspector, but who knows. And there was a mic for guests like her who wanted to actually speak to the crowd.
But congrats to the Police Chief on her marriage Saturday to one of the department's sergeants. I don't quite understand how that works either -- to be the department head married to one of your subordinates, but maybe that's just me.
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Aug 18, 2013 6:59 pm
Gayle, I did hear or read somewhere -- it may have been in KSTP-TV's coverage
From: Pamela Taylor Date: Aug 19, 2013 2:47 am
We continually talk about communication being key to dealing with the police.
IMHO I believe that there has been years of communicating the same message, and to no avail. The great City of Minneapolis needs to start making these police officers accountable for their behavior toward the people that they have chosen to WORK on behalf of. Yes, I say work. Because they chose this as their profession, just like everybody else. They are paid to provide a service, just like the rest of us are. I don't put any public servant on a pedestal, because they are on the same footing as the rest of us. If we treated people in the manner that some of these officers have, and on a repeated basis such as some have, we would be fired, and deservedly so.My time, patience and money have grown exceedingly thin. Something must be done, and it cannot happen until people such as ourselves quit letting our governing bodies offer up a load of_____@#%!, which we then fall all over ourselves to purchase.
e-democracy.org/support Hosting: http://OnlineGroups.Net
An End to “Justice for Terrance Franklin”
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Sep 07, 2013 12:26 pm
I hate to say it but I think public outcry over Terrance Franklin’'s shooting death at the hands of the police has pretty much run its course. To the best of my knowledge, no more protest marches or demonstrations are planned to keep this issue alive. Predictably, the Hennepin County Attorney will exonerate the officers involved; and that will be the end of it.
I still think there is a problem with police violence. If not now, the problem needs to be addressed at some point. Apart from Terrance Franklin, a young man was shot to death by police about two weeks ago in Brooklyn Center. As in Minneapolis, the Brooklyn Center police have said little about this incident pending the results of an investigation.
Thanks to a gusher of federal money, local police everywhere are extremely well armed and well equipped. They have abundant resources. We invest enormous trust in the police. It is imperative that their power be used in a disciplined and transparent fashion. Apart from a gun battle with criminal suspects in which the officers’' lives are in danger, there is little excuse for police shooting someone to death.
In this case, we had three officers and a police dog cornering an unarmed burglary suspect in a basement. It defies logic that the police could not have subdued the suspect in some other way. Contrary to the official story, there are stories of Franklin being unconscious when he was shot and killed.
The “remedy”, in my opinion, is not to demand that the grand jury find the shooting officer (Lucas Peterson) guilty of murder but to demand that the Minneapolis police review their policies and practices to try to avoid future incidents of this sort. The mayor should take the lead on this matter. I think the following steps need to be taken:
1. The police chief should admit specific wrongdoing by the department and perhaps even apologize to the victims’' families (Ivan Romero’'s, too).
2. The Minneapolis mayor should appoint a citizen’'s panel to review police policies and practices which would include both critics of the department and department representatives. Former police chief Tony Bouza might be a person to chair such a panel.
3. The panel should try to make recommendations as to the appropriate level of equipment used in criminal raids and investigations. I think the advanced automatic weapons, prone to accidental use, should be held in reserve.
In general, the civilian authority in Minneapolis needs to reassert control over the police. We cannot have an “us vs. them” or “getting the bad guys” mentality among police but an attitude that does not prejudge guilt. A little fairness will go a long way.
I give Mel Reeves and the other organizers of the “Justice for Terrance” protests much credit for organizing the protest marches and other events. Internal dissension may have played a part in the group’'s apparent demise. However, the cause was just and good so far as it went.
From my perspective as a white man, I also think it would have been better to downplay the racial aspect and instead insist on proper police conduct no matter what the suspect’'s race. There was an understandable desire to compare Terrance Franklin with Trayvon Martin in hopes of attracting national media attention. In our political culture, charges of racial discrimination sometimes prevail while charges of police misconduct do not.
Therefore, police chief Renee Harteau was able to turn this incident into a mandate to eliminate racist thought and speech in the department rather than to avoid excessive force by police officers. This fits in nicely with the DFL strategy of keeping racial and gender minorities in its camp on election day by enforcing politically correct thought while also appealing to disaffected "majority" whites by siding with police in conflicts with the racial underclass.
In the end, this strategy plus public apathy will guarantee that nothing will be done about police violence. Our elected officials in city government will always take the easy way out by posing as solvers of problems in the fields of education or ecology while avoiding the core of their responsibility with respect to police supervision.
From: Ed Felien Date: Sep 07, 2013 1:20 pm
I think we have to wait for the report from the Grand Jury. They are deliberately stretching this out so that "passions will cool" (they hope). We have to wait for the medical examiner's report.
Of course, you're right that they are deliberately withholding information. Yes, we need to reassert civilian control over the police.
I think Tony Bouza had it right:
A tough assignment
BY TONY BOUZA
A police chief must consciously or otherwise choose between constituencies. There are three choices I can see: The Brotherhood in Blue, chosen by most up-from-the-ranks chiefs who identify with their colleagues and want the unions support; the political establishment usually meaning the mayor, but sometimes, as in Minneapolis, the City Council; or the most evanescent, amorphous of all the people.
It would be easy to say I chose the latter out of the noblest of sentiments, but it wouldn’'t be true. I chose it because I could afford to, having the support of a secure, selfless, dedicated public servant who was never troubled that he could be upstaged by a noisy subordinate Mayor Don Fraser.
So it was easy for me to live by the Ciceronian dictum, The good of the people is the chief law. An abstraction with fateful consequences.
I froze all but two promotions for nine years and still had a bloated officer corps at the end. I reduced the precincts from six to four. Used decoys to lure muggers and stings to tempt burglars. Practically all officers worked eight-hour days and 40-hour weeks, and lawsuits and settlements were minuscule. The department was run for the peoples benefit mirabile dictu.
In Expert Witness (2013), I describe 60 of the 90 cases in which I took on malicious, bad faith, racist, thumper actions by the few cops who set the tone in every police agency in the nation.
I was employed, well paid and cosseted, and more than fairly compensated for the antipathy of the rank and file by the generosity and kindness of the populace.
I claim no special credit for it. We all seek security, safety and ease. I simply chose a different constituency.
To earn the peoples trust you have to tell them the simple truth as soon as possible. And you have to run the agency for their benefit. They will get it.
The May 10 shooting of Terrance Franklin and the subsequent related death of a motorcyclist raises the profoundest questions about the police chiefs confidence in the people to handle hard truths. Im going to guess the chiefs delay is rooted in embarrassing disclosures no one is anxious to make.
The absence of the many reforms needed buttresses the point that there is little interest in making the hard, fundamental changes needed. In a rather grotesque sense, the Tea Partiers are, at least partially, right. There is a bloat, self-protection and self-serving, in government ranks, and reforms are needed.
Indemnification for monster outlays of public funds to protect wrongdoers in the ranks melts the political bodies into being complicit in these inexcusable acts.
As I approach my 85th year, I really try to keep my ego out of it hard for me to do even now. But the fact is that policing, like teaching, has been weakened by an institution that, having secured the necessary protections, salaries, benefits and other good things, has now been reduced to protecting thumpers, racists and abusers the union.
The two most powerful, important and benign influences in my life are education and unionism. I cherish both. I am dismayed by the recent twists. Most chiefs choose to be one of the boys. This is a mistake. To do the job right trust the people.
Our current chief, like most of her predecessors, appears to be in danger of becoming just like her colleagues the nation over one of the boys.
Cicero had it right.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Sep 07, 2013 8:46 pm
Predictably, the report from the Grand Jury will reflect the story line that the police gave the Star Tribune three weeks ago - that Terrance Franklin had somehow grabbed a police officer's gun and directed fire toward two officers, that another officer killed Franklin to protect them, and Franklin's DNA was found on the gun. How is anyone going to be convicted in that context short of flagrant contradictions with the medical examiner's report?
No, the important question is whether there is a problem in the way the Minneapolis police go about their business. One would think that former chief Bouza would be fairly knowledgeable about the situation and would not be a cop hater. He thinks there is a problem. Quoting from the article in Southside Pride:
"The May 10th shooting of Terrance Franklin and the subsequent related death of a motorcyclist raises the profoundest questions about the police chiefs confidence in the people to handle hard truths. Im going to guess the chiefs delay is rooted in embarrassing disclosures no one is anxious to make. The absence of the many reforms needed buttresses the point that there is little interest in making the hard, fundamental changes needed."
Even more important is whether the people of Minneapolis want police reform or, as Bouza puts it, "the hard, fundamental changes needed." At this point, I would have to say that apathy rules the roost. We are bombarded by so many injustices and disappointments involving large institutions that the shooting death of a young man with a lengthy criminal record (but no serious crimes) is not high on the totem pole of public attention and concern.
I would submit, however, that our democratic society is currently under attack and there is no greater threat to it than the misapplied organization of violence. If it happened to Terrance Franklin (and many others), it could later happen to you.
It would not be too much to ask to study the problems posed by the Franklin shooting and take corrective action. Minneapolis and Minnesota could actually become the model of good government that other people think we are. What's wrong with that?
From: Jim Graham Date: Sep 8, 2013 10:03am
Other than his discounting the rise of criminal gangs in Minneapolis and its future impact on Minneapolis Tony Bouza was certainly the best Chief of Police in my 45 year memory of Minneapolis. The second best might have been Robert Olson. Both were pretty much hated by the police union. Both were very open with the public, both had offices that were open to citizens, both listened to the public.
Chief Bousa really did listen. I remember when we were having a problem with police response and attitude in my area. I met with Chief Bouza and talked to him about the problem and that we had a Precinct Commander. A Commander who was purposefully doing a bad job so he could be transferred to the Fourth Precinct that was considered a cushy job before retirement; and he had actually said that to officers. Bouza called that Commander while I was in his office and explained that there was an effort by the citizen group in the area and that he wished to have the Commander put a priority on answering calls to that area to support their efforts. The Commander apparently gave Chief Bousa some grief and I was amazed when a very heated Bouza read the riot act to the Commander in a very heated way . Even telling the Commander he (Bousa) was not putting up with his bull, the Commander was to treat a call for service from our group as a call from his office, and he darn sure better have it answered. Police response and service increased dramatically. Police also were ORDERED to stop telling residents that they should move from such a bad area, or face suspension.
We have a new Chief, it is up to her to run the Minneapolis Police Department. Of course there is a difference. Chief Bousa, as he said, had Don Fraser as Mayor. Someone who actually cared about and was responsible to the citizens of Minneapolis. (Someone who also had an open office to citizens) Any Mayor who shuts down communication between the Police Department and the public they serve, and who attempts anything possible to remove the public from any input into the City, is a Mayor who thinks he is not answerable and responsible to that public. Hopefully, the next Mayor will be very different and both responsible and responsive to the Minneapolis citizens.
All that being said, I have nothing but good things to say about the police officers I come in contact with in my neighborhood. Such as Officer Woods and Officer Rowe who stopped by this morning. There just are not enough of them in my area to really put a crimp in the drug trade. I introduced myself to Officer Woods and laughingly said I wanted to make sure I knew the officers and had written the suggestion to the Minneapolis Issues that Patrol Officers hated only talking to thugs, and loved talking to the public. Both officers heartedly agreed. So it really is not that difficult to have that "Police - Public Communication".
Are there problems when a Chief of Police does not work from the basis that he or she serves the public not the Mayor or the Police Union? Absolutely!!! Chief Bousa understood this and took it to heart. Few Chiefs have followed that same example.
The individual Minneapolis Police Officer is NOT a thug and does want to serve the people. Are there a few who are a problem? Absolutely, and it is the job of the Chief to set the example and create a culture among the Department's officers of what that culture is and should be. So that the values of those officers and their attitudes, values actions and limitations are governed by that positive culture.
Yes Tony, Cicero indeed did have it right. You folks have a great weekend, it was great on my porch this morning.
From: Kristina Gronquist Date: Sep 08, 2013 11:19 pm
It's important that the public outcry does not run its course, but perhaps changes course. As I have been campaigning, I continue to talk about what happened to Terrance and the lack of transparency in our city's institutions, not only with regard to police misconduct but in may other areas of governance. However, continuing to seek Justice for Terrance and other victims - of all colors - is not something to give up on now, because it could be you or your son or daughter next.
Because Terrance had a record, the powers-that-be never thought anyone would take up his killing as a concern. But he was loved and had many friends. His life had the same value as anyone's. In spite of Terrance's record, we'll never know how or if Terrance would have gone forward in his life. Those officers who killed this unarmed young man were his judge, jury, and executioner, and if you are not alarmed by that you are numb or asleep.
Bill is correct, that the state's indiscriminate and misapplied use of violence/brutality and the over militarization of a police force is a very serious societal issue.
I was at a candidate's forum yesterday sponsored by the Independence Party. No DFLers showed up, just myself (Green Party) Independents, Libertarians, and Pirates. We all discussed the urgent need for reform and transparency in our city. One of the Libertarians told me not to use the phrase "Civilian Review Authority" because, she said, these have mostly failed. She recommended we use the international term, IPCMC -Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission, when referring to a (new) body that could address complaints. However, I googled this term and could only find its use referred to in Malaysia. But I plan on doing more research and continuing to be vocal. I yelled and chanted at most of those marches, I'd do it again, protest has an important function. But Bill has outlined some very important steps we should be implementing, and our sage former Police Chief Tony Bouza also sees the problem in a clear light, as do many others. It's no time to withdraw, its time
to change course.
Part 7 The Grand Jury Reaches a Decision (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
9/20/13 Star Tribune article: “"Police cleared in Franklin death.”"
9/20/13 Star Tribune article: “"Autopsy report: Franklin shot 10 times."”
9/24/13 Star Tribune article: “"Terrance Franklin pleaded for his life, family says.”"
9/20/13 Star Tribune article: “"Minneapolis police release report on Terrance Franklin case.”"
9/25/13 Star Tribune article: “"Franklin pleaded for his life, family says."”
11/14/13 Star Tribune article: “"Mpls. to release results of inquiry today into fatal police vehicle crash."
11/15/13 Star Tribune article: “"Mpls. officer won’'t face charges in fatal collision with motorcycle."”
Terrance Franklin, Mike Feeman and the grand jury scam
From: Jordan Kushner Date: Sep 20, 2013 9:58 am
No comment so far on the grand jury. Obviously no surprise. For those concerned, it is important to realize that the grand jury process is completely a political tool to avoid political responsibility and transparency.
Mike Freeman has not legal obligation to have a grand jury make the decision. A grand jury is only required in Minnesota to charge cases of first degree murder and certain career sex offender cases that carry mandatory life imprisonment. This case does fit first degree murder (premeditated or other inapplicable circumstances). It is as most a second degree murder case if an officer intentionally shot Terrance Franklin without justification. The county attorney almost never uses a grand jury if he does not have to do so. It is a needless expenditure of time and money. The office just makes its own decision. The only exception is when a police officer is accused of criminal conduct, or other rare politically sensitive cases where the county attorney wants to avoid accountability for the decision whether to bring criminal charges.
The next thing to realize is that if a only grand jury "decides" not to return an indictment (criminal charge) because the county attorney does not want it to. In the secret grand jury proceedings, the county attorney exclusively decides what testimony and evidence to present to the grand jury. The oft-repeated saying/cliche in the field is "you can indict a ham sandwich." The only time you hear about a grand jury not returning an indictment is when the case involves a police officer. It is just a convenient way for the county attorney to ownership of the decision.
It is also a convenient way for the county attorney to avoid having to explain his decision and keep the public in the dark. The other politically convenient aspect of the grand jury is that the law requires proceedings to be secret. The identity of the grand jurors is secret so we don't get to hear from the people who decided not to indict why they made the decision. Since the witnesses and evidence presented to the grand jury is also secret (at least the county attorney is not allowed to reveal it), Freeman can avoid disclosing what evidence he (or his prosecutors) presented. He therefore gets to hide behind a legal wall that he has chosen to erect.
The straightfoward, honest and open way to handle the matter would be for Freeman to just decide himself whether or not to charge any police officers (like he would do in any other case), share the evidence developed and explain his interpretation. Members of the public could then make their evaluations. Given the smoke-and-mirror approach of the grand jury process, it is understandable and arguably justifiable to conclude that the Feeman and the system are engaged in a cover-up. I personally have not way of knowing what happened, and it is an open question how much we can ever find out since the only witness other than the cops is dead. However, thanks to Freeman, we don't get to find out what there is to know.
From: Ed Felien Date: Sep 20, 2013 11:17 am
Jordan is, of course, correct when he says a Grand Jury is just political cover for a County Attorney when he doesn't want to take the heat for not prosecuting the police.
This is not over!
The police report is on the StarTribune website:
http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/224517981.html and is more detailed than the report that appeared in the print edition of this morning's paper, but many serious questions remain:
First, why did the officers go down into a dark basement believing a suspect was down there? What was the rush? Was the suspect going to escape? How? Why didn't they turn on the lights? Is this normal police procedure? It seems like a disaster waiting to happen, and it seems as if maybe the police were hyper-adrenalated.
Second, we need to see the medical examiner's report, which cannot be made public without the consent of the next of kin. We can assume that if there is a wrongful death suit, which now seems probable, the medical examiner's report will be made public at the trial. Serious questions remain about the actual wounds on Terrance Franklin. Spokesman-Recorder reporter Mel Reeves has said that someone who had seen the body said Franklin was shot five times in the back of the head and twice in his back. It is hard to visualize how that might have happened. The police report doesn't tell us the position of Franklin's body at the time he was shot.
The delays and obfuscations do not do the Police Department or the Office of the County Attorney any credit. It would help if the Police Department did an actual reenactment to dispel the disbelief that is settling over this incident.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Sep 23, 2013 5:22 pm
I have just returned from a trip out of town to find several developments regarding the Terrance Franklin killing.
Yes, if the killing happened as the police described it and the officers’' lives were truly threatened, then the officers, of course, had a right to defend themselves even if it meant shooting Franklin. However, I do not believe the police story. I have greater trust in what the autopsy showed.
In today’'s Star Tribune, several discrepancies were noted. The police said Franklin was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 196 pounds. The autopsy said Franklin was 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed 173 pounds. The 1 inch difference may not be significant, but a difference of 23 pounds in weight is. Where did the person who prepared the police report get his or her information? Also, the police reported that 8 shots hit Franklin; the autopsy said 10. For such a high-profile case, this was either a sloppy police investigation or a dishonest one.
The police said Franklin’'s DNA was on the gun’'s trigger, suggesting that he had used this gun to wound the two officers. However, the same result could be accomplished by rolling the finger of Franklin’'s corpse over the trigger. To imagine that scenario, one would have to think or suspect that the Minneapolis police would be capable of serious lying, most likely because of other experiences one might have had with the police. Sad to say, I do believe the police were capable of this.
The grand jury decision was quite predictable given the story line provided by the police. I myself predicted it in a previous posting in this forum. I thought it a mistake for proponents of police reform to “demand” a particular decision from Mike Freeman or the grand jury since this would seem to be interfering with the legal process. However, it is entirely appropriate for citizens of Minneapolis to demand reform of the city police. We should look to our elected city officials to produce that reform. It will not come from the police chief who seems more interested in recruiting officers with politically
acceptable thoughts than keeping their use of guns under control.
The mayor is the public’'s point person with the police. Managing the police is the mayor’'s single most important responsibility other than producing a city budget. Yet, to hear the discussion today, one would think that the mayor’'s priority should be to upgrade the school system. That’'s what the current crop of “major” mayoral candidates want to talk about. In my opinion, this shows the mediocrity of these candidates.
True political leadership would mean tackling the big problems which the city faces, not using the mayor’'s bully pulpit to persuade other elected officials to improve their job performance. Today’'s major mayoral candidates do not want to admit that there might be a problem in the police department because that would require them, if elected, to do something about it. They would much rather pose as a provider of solutions in someone else’'s domain than have the spotlight of opinion identify them as a problem because they could or would not fix what was in their own domain.
It is clear to me that chief Harteau does not recognize any problem that the killing of Terrance Franklin might illustrate. She will continue stonewalling the public so long as we and her superiors in city government permit this. We, a free people, do not deserve a police state but, given acquiescence to one, that is what we surely will get.
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Sep 23, 2013 7:27 pm
Now the facts are in. I have been restrained in my comments so far, but now we can be justified in making conclusions. The call for justice for the criminal has been misplaced. That criminal got justice when the police ended him.
This was not even a close call. There is not even one single fact in this case that justifies the agitprop that has swirled around. This is an open-and-shut case of legitimate use of force, with multiple reinforcing witnesses.
But I have to ask, when will there be justice for that homeowner? For the beleaguered MPR producer who committed no foul against anyone. The only thing he did to encourage the felonious assault by the perpetrator was to own property where the criminal wanted to rampage. Just look at the security camera photo of the criminal on the loose:
How can that homeowner ever feel safe again knowing that a vicious, deadly criminal was roaming his house, upstairs and down? Stole his bathrobe? WORE his bathrobe! You don't want THAT in your house. How can he ever again feel that the house is his? Can the intrusion ever be overcome? Let's hope so.
Now we know that the criminal was vicious enough to keep fighting even when cornered by five officers and a dog. To grab the nearest gun and shoot wildly, harming two officers. If he would do that when cornered by armed peace officers, imagine what he would do to an unarmed citizen.
It was a righteous kill. Officers Peterson and Meath deserve medals for their valor. All in our city should cheer that the good guys won. Ding, dong, the witch is dead. The grand jury system worked as it should and served us well. Kudos to County Attorney Freeman for giving the grand jury a chance to examine the evidence.
I am more disturbed that there are those in our city who cheer against law and order and in favor of thuggery than I am that the police killed someone. Honorable citizens keep our city orderly, then police. When the few among our populace who are dishonorable appear on the scene, we need police more than ever. We don't need thugs, and we don't need those who cheer for them. The perp nearly got himself killed when he decided to ram the cruiser of Sgt. Kathy Smulski. I know that most people in our city are appalled that someone being stopped by the police would ram a squad car backward. I know that most people in our city support the police. I know this because every time I post about this case on this forum, I get offlist messages saying, "Right on!" and "You go, girl!" So I and many fit citizens question not only the tactics but also the morality and mental health of those who have reflexively jumped to the defense of the perpetrator.
So let's not have any more phony agitprop about this case. Let's use the case to teach our young people to never act like THAT.
And to the starter of this thread: Learn to check your spelling. There is no a in the perp's first name. Freeman has an r.
From: Bill Kahn Date: Sep 23, 2013 7:43 pm
Look, lady, the fact that this many cops could not get an unarmed suspect out of a basement who was not going anywhere means that they screwed up, big time.
You have a distinct perceptual problem that is obvious every time you post.
I repeat. I trust the dog, but he's not talking.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: 8:00pm, Sep 23 Share:
No, Susan, you haven't been "restrained" in your previous comments, and you aren't now. And all those people cheering you offlist should show a little courage, come out of the shadows, identify themselves, and openly state their opinion as we have.
I agree that, had he lived, Terrance Franklin - that's how he spelled his name, "Terrance" - should have been punished for invading someone else's house and ramming into a squad car. But we are talking about someone who was killed by police. Being killed is a special case.
Susan, don't try to BS me with terminology like "phony agitprop". Do you think I'm a Stalinist for arguing that the police should show some restraint in shooting people? I want to avoid a police state; you seem to be encouraging one to appear. No, you won't silence me with disparaging terminology. We do need police reform, and I will try my best to make this happen.
Perhaps referring to me among others, you question "the morality and mental health of those who reflexively jumped to the defense of the perpetrator" - more cant from someone who, frankly, doesn't seem that bright.
From: Casey O'Brian Date: Sep 23, 2013 11:41 pm
"It was a righteous kill" Righteous kill? Seriously? Righteous?
Someone died. Whether the police were justified or not, there is nothing
"righteous" about it.
And the officers will get a medal.
From: MALCOLM BISSON Date: Sep 24, 2013 12:31 am
PERCEPTIONS CAN, AND USUALLY ARE SKEWED. BUT, IF IT SMELLS LIKE, LOOKS LIKE, AND TASTES LIKE MANURE, IT USUALLY IS.
THEN, IF YOU FACTOR IN CULTURAL ISSUES, ONE SIDE IS ALWAYS "INNOCENT", BY DEFAULT.
AND DEATH IS SO PERMANENT...
From: Mark V Anderson Date: Sep 24, 2013 6:35 pm
On 9/23/2013 5:22 PM, Bill McGaughey wrote:
“ I have just returned from a trip out of town to find several developments regarding the Terrance Franklin killing.
Yes, if the killing happened as the police described it and the officers’' lives were truly threatened, then the officers, of course, had a right to defend themselves even if it meant shooting Franklin. However, I do not believe the police story. I have greater trust in what the autopsy showed.”
I have to agree that the Grand Jury hearing doesn't dissipate my concerns about the police from this incident. I have two reasons for still having great concern:
1) What happened to the discussion about Ivan Romero Olivares? He was the motorcycle rider who was killed by a police squad car 30 minutes after the basement incident. There seems to have more publicity about Terrence Franklin, so it appears the police can ignore this other issue. I'd like to hear the police justification for the motorcyclist's death.
2) I agree with Bill's comments above that if the Franklin killing happened as was summarized by police, then the officers were not negligent. But that doesn't mean that police management wasn't
negligent. Imagine, if you will, if the basement incident had occurred with all non-police actors. In that case, everyone involved in the incident would have been immediately separated and statements taken from each person present within a few hours of the incident. Then the police would have put together a suspected version of the event, based on the initial interviews, as well as tough follow-up questions to resolve any contradictions from those first interviews. Why wasn't the actual investigation done in this manner? My understanding is that one of the key actors in the incident was given a full week to recover from the trauma before he had to explain anything. What do you think is the likelihood that during this week of grace the officer called several other officers to determine their version of the event? Close to 100%, in my opinion. Also, did the Grand Jury get to hear/read the initial interviews of each officer, so they could determine if there were contradictions with the final police version? Even if the Grand Jury did read these interviews, I think they should also be available to the public. Police management treating killings and other serious police incidents with the same care and skepticism they bring to non-police incidents is a necessary condition to reducing thumping in the Department.
From: Jack Ferman Date: Sep 24, 2013 9:03 pm
The cyclist struck the squad car at the rear wheel corner. I seem to recall a brief mention in a news report that the cyclist was wearing earphones that would interfere with hearing the squad sirens. That would not explain his not seeing the flashing squad car lights. Finally, the call the squad was answering might not have been cancelled. And finally, finally, any emergency vehicle with lights flashing and sirens sounding have right of way at intersections.
From: Bill Kahn Date: Sep 25, 2013 12:38 am
Of course those Minneapolis Police Department officers were negligent, perhaps not in the Olivares death (the lack of signal strobe switches and the motorcyclist's resultant errors may implicate some other folks, though), but certainly in the Franklin killing.
The grand jury just found that those officers in the basement with Franklin were not guilty of a crime, i.e., they were neither criminally negligent nor murderers (again, this assumes that the reports are accurate and jive well with the forensic evidence; there's no doubt Franklin was a criminal or was recalcitrant, but that is irrelevant).
Was there ever a doubt that officers would come away from this without being charged with any crimes?
There is also no possible doubt that this day in May did not go any sort of way in which law enforcement professionals could be proud; that's what makes the account of needless heroism particularly ironic and, well, sort of disgusting in the light of the two deaths that day.
You can either believe the police acted criminally that day or you believe that they were incompetent; there is no middle ground. Everybody makes mistakes, but if you don't own up to them and learn from them, why should anyone give you a break?
There never was a time when I was more convinced than now that it was necessary to implement my scheme to end the MPD and perhaps reconstitute it at a later date.
Contracting with the Hennepin County Sheriff for law enforcement in the meantime now seems a little dicey since Sheriff Rich Stanek aired his erroneous views on marijuana recently, and then of course there is his time at MPD; but something tells me Stanek may not survive the next election (I'd be surprised if he carried Maple Grove against a good opponent considering his acumen about the drug war, drugs, and druggies in general along with his personal history).
I don't particularly enjoy running down the MPD or think that they are a hopeless case, but the incompetent and stupid actions of a relative few officers are demoralizing the whole department, if not the whole darn city.
This has to stop and the present administration at city hall is simply not dealing with the problems, just making excuses and sweeping things under the rug. The Harteau Transparency is a joke unless we hear everything the grand jury heard and more about this case.
MPD either has to turn over a new leaf or we need to have a new MPD rise from the ashes of the old.
The City of Minneapolis must turn over a new leaf. We can't have city government dependent on ridiculously transparent propaganda.
The "Justice for Terrance Franklin" rallies continue on Friday in Peavey Plaza
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Sep 26, 2013 9:12 am
Now that the Hennepin County grand jury has exonerated the officers involved in the shooting death of Terrance Franklin on May 10th, the time has come to decide whether to accept that decision as the final word on the incident or continue to press for justice and police reform.
The rallies against excessive police force will continue. Tomorrow, Friday, September 27th, a rally will be held at Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis (11th and Nicollet) starting at 6:30 p.m. Event organizers will ask federal prosecutors to consider charges against the officers. Others want our elected city officials to review police policies and procedures.
The Minneapolis police chief has continued to deny any wrong doing by officers saying that Franklin himself "dictated" the outcome of events on May 10th. I think that officers ten times pulling the trigger of a gun pointed at Franklin were a part of that dictation.
Yesterday's Star Tribune had an article saying that Franklin's parents could hear their son pleading for mercy with officers before he was killed, based on a tape produced by a bystander. Evidently an officer in the basement was transmitting audible messages by radio to other officers outside. A wrongful death lawsuit may be in the works.
One should also consider that another man, Ivan Romero, was also killed by police on May 10th in a traffic accident caused by a squad car racing through a busy intersection en route to the Franklin incident a half hour after Franklin was killed.
Absent public protest, it seems clear that the Minneapolis police, led by an insensitive chief, have no intention of mending their ways.
From: Bill Kahn Date: Sep 26, 2013 10:58 am
Bill has said this and been corrected already, so one must assume he will continue to do so.
The state patrol reconstructed the accident and issued a report some weeks ago. The MPD SUV was moving through the intersection with lights and siren well below the speed limit and the motorcyclist hit the rear of the vehicle.
We really should have all signaled intersections in this city controlled with the strobe switches so that emergency vehicles can change the lights as that was the real problem in this case.
The families of both these young men have a case against us, the City of Minneapolis, and I think we should settle and fix the problems that lead to such unnecessary deaths.
Why so quiet on motorcycle-squad collision?
From: Susan Goldberg Date: Nov 14, 2013 11:38 pm
Why has there not been a word on this forum in the 12 hours since the police chief announced the conclusion of the investigation into the death of the motorcyclist who collided with a squad car on May 10?
I think it is because the video speaks for itself.
Anyone can see that the motorcyclist was about to wipe out even before it hit the squad car. And then we learn that the squad was traveling at half the speed limit while the motorcyclist was over the limit. And that he weaved past drivers who were stopped for emergency vehicles. And that the cyclist had no driver license or motorcycle endorsement. And no common sense.
So another opportunity for agitprop hits the wall.
I am greatly amused that the county attorney concluded this investigation on or before October 18 but the chief decided to wait until after the election to make this announcement.
From: Brian Stricherz Date: Nov 15, 2013 7:26 am
The video does not speak for itself in regards to *why* there are two squads with emergency lights and high speed attending to a scene that was resolved thirty minutes prior nor *why* it was days before the officer involved told his story nor *why* (as per the state patrol Investigators) the officer failed to verify there were no vehicles in the intersection before driving through it. The squad may have been traveling at half the speed limit at impact, but it sure was going beyond the speed limit prior to that.
What this and prior incidents like those in Green Bay and Apple Valley tell me is that the current chief is about maintaining the status quo. Different wrapper, same result.
From: Patrick Fleetham Date: Nov 15, 2013 7:35 am
You are being presumptuous and are in error with your statement: "Anyone can see that the motorcyclist was about to wipe out even before it hit the squad car." The video documents Romero had a green light and does not show that he '...was about to wipe out...'
In addition, you state "... that he weaved past drivers who were stopped for emergency vehicles." I would conclude you mean the Mpls Police squad car was weaving past stopped drivers/vehicles, and not motorcyclist Romero.
You state you can find part of this amusing, however I find it tragic that a young life was lost. Perhaps, it is just a poor choice of words?
Perhaps the additional video to be released will show more details, but from this video you are drawing a conclusion that is not sustainable.
From: Pat Byrne Date: Nov 15, 2013 8:33 am
Susan, it's pretty clear you saw what you wanted to see.
It's also clear that the motorcyclist hit an emergency vehicle with its lights on. Some may question why the officers were in emergency mode. I'm not one of them.
I think it very clear that this was, as noted, a tragic accident. I'd like to say unavoidable, but that's not true. It was avoidable on a couple of different fronts.
The one I'd like people to focus on is the fact that cities like St. Paul have avoided accidents like this for years by having a system called opticon on all their signalized intersections. An emergency vehicle headed towards such an intersection automatically turns the lights green for the emergency vehicle and red elsewhere. Minneapolis has done it partially than stop due to costs.
Even if a motorcyclist isn't paying attention to the possibility of emergency vehicles claiming right of way, or can't hear them, or can't distinguish what direction they are coming from, the system takes care of it. It costs money and it takes will, perhaps political will, perhaps common sense will, to determine that the money is worth it.
I put it into the no brainer column. But I live and drive primarily in St. Paul.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Nov 15, 2013 9:27 am
Susan Goldberg accuses critics of the Minneapolis police department of engaging in "agitprop". Let me just say, for starters, that I have several problems with the way that the Minneapolis police department and the police chief in particular handled the situation involving the accidental death of Ivan Romero:
1. Why was a squad car dispatched at a high rate of speed to the scene of the Franklin killing thirty minutes after Franklin was dead? The article in today's Star Tribune says that another officer called for help in "securing the scene"? Why was this help necessary? Why the high rate of speed?
2.The report states that the driver of the squad car, crossing against the red light, did not look to see if other cars were approaching the intersection. Why not? Shouldn't this be standard procedure?
3. I am offended with the way that police officials who kill people routinely point out that their victims had a record or, in this case, did not have a valid driver's license. The implication is that we should not care so much about their death because these individuals are somehow blemished. I think all people, including police, should display a certain reverence for people who are victims of an untimely death. Both Franklin and Romero were human beings.
4. This leads me to chief Harteau's self-aggrandising gesture of wearing street clothes to her press conference to make the point that "behind our uniforms we (police officers) are human beings." I was never under any illusion that they are anything more. Yet, chief Harteau seems to want us to believe that the uniformed officers are like gods and she was magnanimously shedding her divinity for a short time to communicate with us mortals.
This particular chief is so full of herself. I have seen nothing in her to admire. To the contrary, I see plenty of untreated problems in the department which she leads.
For example, a week ago a masked man confronted my wife and step-daughter in front of my home and stuck a gun in the step-daughter's stomach. She gave him her cell phone. Fortunately, the cell phone had a tracking device which indicated that it was taken to a location on Penn Avenue where it may have been sold. The police promised to investigate & get back to her. There has been no subsequent communication. My wife had the impression that the responding officer (Rebecca Lane) simply did not care.
I later called my Council member, Don Samuels, to try to get the police to do something. Evidently the assailant is known in this neighborhood; he could easily be identified. Despite recordings to the effect that someone would get back to me, this has not happened. Does the lame-duck City Council member care any more about constituent service? As head of the Council's "Public Safety" committee, he should take more than a casual interest in what the Minneapolis police are doing or, in this case, failing to do.
From: Dyna Sluyter Date: Nov 15, 2013 11:15 am
Sorry, cop haters, but it's hard to argue with the video. Even thought the light is green for the motorcyclist, there are obvious visual clues to the motorcyclist that something is amiss, for example the cars stopped in the intersection. The officer approaches and enters the intersection at greatly reduced speed. The motorcyclist has already lost it by then, and is skidding on his and the bikes side as he hits the squad. Clearly, the officer took every reasonable precaution.
However, the motorcyclist took no precautions whatsoever until he finally panicked and locked up the brakes. He hadn't bothered to obtain a motorcycle endorsement, and in that process he would have been taught how to quickly stop a motorcycle without laying it on it's side. He hadn't even bothered to get a drivers license, and if he had he would have learned that emergency vehicles have the right of way, and the clues that tell you an emergency vehicle is coming even if you can't see the lights or siren. He also took no precautions to protect himself from injury in a crash, and if he'd spent less than $100 for a helmet he'd probably be alive today.
And if you're looking for root causes instead of scapegoats, how is it possible for someone to drive around what seems like forever in Minneapolis without a license? It's possible because Minneapolis' police force has been understaffed for most of the three terms of the current mayor, who is thankfully retiring. If Minneapolis police had the staffing to pull our late motorcyclist over for a license check, he'd have been traveling in the safety of public transit and alive today. As the saying goes, "If you want to get rid of the alligators, drain the swamp"... If we had the jail and mental health capacity to deal we these offenders and the mentally ill, our overstrained police wouldn't have to repeatedly deal with them on the street everyday.
from the Buffalo Ridge where driving without a license will earn you a long walk home,
From: phædrus (Jason Goray) Date: Nov 15, 2013 11:51 am
I am certainly willing to criticize the police when, in my perception, they are in the wrong, and I think there is much about the MPD to be concerned about.
As a (motor and pedal) cyclist, I am highly concerned about other road users, especially those traveling at high speeds and those breaking the normal rules of the road.
Based on what I've read and seen, the police do not appear to be in the wrong on this one. The motorcyclist was at fault.
It is a tragedy and I wish it hadn't happened, but in my opinion, by focusing on this incident in the light of the evidence that has been shown, those accusing the police of wrongdoing in this are weakening their credibility.
Minneapolis Police do plenty of things that should be called into question. This is not one of them.
From: Gary Farland Date: Nov 15, 2013 12:17 pm
What was happening after the Uptown shootings was that the police were doing a show of force. They closed off six square blocks and had many officers from the City, St. Paul and even the suburbs. This was because two officers were wounded (by their own gun by a boy fighting off a police dog). That is why police were still rushing to the scene long after the event. I think this was unnecessary and led to the accident.
From: Gayle Bonneville Date: Nov 15, 2013 1:02 pm
Did Harteau (or any other Mpls official at this meeting) make any mention of starting immediately, as in NOW, to complete the system of "opticon" devices mentioned by "Paddy" in a previous post? This is essential, obvious and easy, especially after this awful incident. I am sure there are many near misses we don't hear about -- in fact, what driver hasn't been surprised by an emergency vehicle doing unexpected moves in Minneapolis? I sure have, multiple times, luckily realizing it in the nick of time -- and I'm a normal driver, if not better than average. The way vehicles are manufactured nowadays, combined with the poor condition of roads in Minneapolis, means that the sound of the emergency vehicles/outside factors are muffled to an extent not seen in the past. And obviously, the police are not following their own protocol about looking into the intersections.
The amazing part about the Romero tragedy is that MORE people weren't killed or injured. The new city council (or the lame duck city council) ought to make these stoplight devices their top priority, Job No. 1. Right now. And I never want to hear any of the city electeds whine that we don't have money for this; the fact is, we do. The city council has proven that over and over in their votes, and they merely use the excuse of "no money" when they don't want to do something. People need to demand that these devices be installed on every stoplight in Minneapolis. "We're" spending $700 million on a football stadium, for God's sake. We can afford the stoplight devices.
From: Brian Stricherz Date: Nov 15, 2013 1:25 pm
Dyna Sluyter wrote: "Sorry, cop haters..."
Me: Since you replied to me, I guess that's directed at me. I don't hate cops. I want cops. I want good responsible law-abiding cops. It ain't complicated unless there's a long-embedded culture of over-looking the abusive cops. If that makes me a cop-hater in your eyes, so be it. I'll deal.
Dyna Sluyter wrote: "Clearly, the officer took every reasonable precaution."
Me: The State Patrol Investigators also said "Young failed to verify there were no vehicles in the intersection before driving through it." Hardly seems like "every reasonable precaution" unless one considers looking for oncoming traffic unreasonable.
Dyna Sluyter wrote: "Even thought the light is green for the motorcyclist, there are obvious visual clues to the motorcyclist that something is amiss, for example the cars stopped in the intersection."
Me: I'm not going to play video forensics expert here, but there are no cars stopped in the intersection where the accident occurred. They had a red light and are stopped at the light. When traveling down either 26th or Blaisdell, one cannot see oncoming crossing traffic because of the large building on the corner. Yes, the motorcyclist should have had a license. Yes, the motorcyclist should have been wearing a helmet (he had given his to his passenger, but regardless). Yes, the motorcyclist showed poor driving skills.
Dyna Sluyter wrote: "If Minneapolis police had the staffing to pull our late motorcyclist over for a license check..."
Me: Good Lord, is this necessary? Random license checks? Yeah, that couldn't possibly be abused or anything. Better idea, how about pulling over drivers who are driving poorly for driving violations? People routinely run red lights, so much so, I look both ways before going on green. People routinely aren't even looking at the road when "driving". People routinely exceed speed limits (does that ever happen on Buffalo Ridge?) and get agro at those who abide by the speed limit.
From: Matt McKinney Date: Nov 15, 2013 1:47 pm
Some documents from this case:
The State Patrol crash reconstruction report is at http://www.scribd.com/doc/184314616/State-Patrol-Crash-Reconstruction-report
The Hennepin County Attorney's letter to the MPD on why they wouldn't bring charges against officer Joshua Young: http://www.scribd.com/doc/184267213/Hennepin-County-Attorney-letter-on-death-of-Ivan-Romero-Olivares
The MPD press release on the report: http://www.scribd.com/doc/184298083/Minneapolis-Police-Department-Press-Release
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Nov 16, 2013 2:59 pm
I regard the fatal collision at 26th & Blaisdell as an accident and so was not eager to have the officer convicted of anything. However, I do attach blame to the police brass and city officials. So far these people have managed entirely to shirk their responsibilities.
Police policies and practices need to be reviewed so as to increase public safety. In particular, there was no excuse for asking squad cars to speed to the scene of a police killing thirty minutes after the suspect was dead. A poster suggests that this was "a show of force" by the police. I think it probably was.
But enough of this! Collective swagger by the police does not serve the public interest. Chief Harteau needs to take a stand against such practices. And she needs to do it soon.
The other thing that contributed toward the fatality was the squad car driver's failure to look to see if any vehicles were approaching before crossing a busy intersection against the red light. Again, this is a question of police policies. There needs to be a policy to ensure proper precaution so that more people will not have to die. Chief Harteau needs to get cracking on this.
I am offended by posters and others who argue that Ivan Romero was at fault because he was proceeding through the intersection without a helmut or drivers license and lost control of his vehicle. Yes, I have viewed the video and it seems to me that Romero's view of the squad car was blocked by other vehicles that had pulled over on 26th. He was crossing with the green light and perhaps did not react fast enough. But the point is that the man is dead. There should be some minimum level of respect for innocent victims.
There seems to be limitless tolerance of questionable activities by the Minneapolis police and by chief Harteau in particular. The main ray of hope is that during the mayoral campaign candidate Betsy Hodges proposed that officers wear cameras in delicate situations such as the apprehension of Terrance Franklin. Chief Harteau said it would take time to implement such steps. If I were in Hodges' shoes, I would give the chief a decent period of time to present such plans and give her a pink slip if she failed to meet the deadline.
As a community, we deserve a police state if we fail to act, or at least speak out, when obvious abuses occur.
From: Kristina Gronquist Date: Nov 17, 2013 7:05 pm
I really appreciate and agree with Bill's insights on this tragedy. Well said. It's sad and shocking to see people disregard the unnecessary death of this young man, and it is unconscionable that the MPD and their PR spin machine had to point to Romero as somewhat at fault, because he was not wearing a helmet, etc. But, that is a typical, deplorable "blame the victim" technique, not unexpected because they did this with Terrance Franklin, another tragic and unnecessary death of a young unarmed man of color that took place May 10.
Unprofessional policing led to Terrance's killing because they let the situation escalate to outrageous proportions and choose not to surround the perimeter and wait the suspect out, or tear gas him out. The MPD, in their usual pattern of swagger and unnecessary force, choose to confront Terrance in such a manner as to lead to his execution. And the vehicle that was racing to the scene, had no reason to be racing there, except to "fix" the scene, perhaps?
This, Ms. Harteau would not address, and the Star Tribune is too afraid to ask: WHY was a police vehicle racing to a scene where there was no emergency? The newspaper report said they were racing there to "secure" the scene. No one was in imminent danger and they were putting citizens lives at risk, simply to "secure" the crime scene? How can this - and the tragic outcome - be acceptable to thinking, feeling people?
Finally, as Ms. Bonneville points out, why did the chief not mention any solutions such as the opticon devices? At the very least, could she suggest some kind of remedy for for the future? Yes, we have the funds, but we are wasting $700 million on that ridiculous football stadium. Yes, for God's sake, we can afford the stoplight devices. What we can't afford are more lawsuits from families whose loved ones have died as a result of unprofessional policing, citizen inaction and apathy. The city has paid out $20 million on such lawsuits over the last seven years alone. Isn't it way past time that Minneapolis citizens said "Enough"?
How did they kill Terrance Franklin?
From: Ed Felien Date: Oct 28, 2013 7:51 pm
We have published a Special Edition of Southside Pride on our web site:
Do you want to scared of something for Halloween? Be very, very afraid of the Minneapolis Police!
The 228 page Police Report of the killing of Terrance Franklin has contradictions and inconsistencies that should have set off alarms for Police Chief Janee Harteau, Mayor Rybak, County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minneapolis City Council Chair of the Public Safety Committee Don Samuels. There are clear and arrogant admissions of the use of excessive force. There are serious questions as to whether Terrance Franklin was in control of a weapon or was simply executed.
All candidates who wish to represent this city and all citizens who want to assume responsibility for our public safety should read the full report. Here is a link to important highlights:
From: Ed Felien Date: Nov 18, 2013 1:53 pm
Former MInneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza and I disagree on some of the events surrounding the killing of Terrance Franklin in the basement of the home at 2717 Bryant on May 10, 2013:
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Nov 19, 2013 12:33 pm
Thank you, Ed, for attempting to set the record straight. There is a glaring need for our elected officials (and officials-elect) to get involved in police reform. Stonewalling and silence are not an acceptable response.
Part 8 Chief Harteau acts to deal with Racism and other Problems in the Police Department ( http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
10/24/13 Star Tribune article: “"New police policy aims to curb leaks.”"
12/4/13 Star Tribune article: “"Mpls chief reportedly fires 2 cops involved in Green Bay police fight."”
12/5/13 CJ gossip column in Star Tribune: “"Police Chief Harteau may hit the dance floor again."”
12/5/13 Star Tribune article: “"Cameras on cops make cut in Mpls."”
12/10/13 Star Tribune editorial: “"Signaling a new era for Minneapolis cops (Chief deserves praise for firing cops in Green Bay incident.)”"
12/18/13 Star Tribune article: “"BCA investigations of Minneapolis police officers not OK’'d."”
12/30/13 Star Tribune editorial: “"Farm out high-profile police investigations."”
1/12/14 Star Tribune article: “"Ex-cop says firing not justified.”"
I disagree with Ron Edwards
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Nov 21, 2013 1:50 pm
Ron Edwards has a column in the Spokesman-Recorder titled “Chief Janee Harteau is doing a good job - no need to replace her.” He writes: “I do not understand the thinking of the mayor-elect and her advisors to create friction between the Native American and other communities, even in light of the fact that the rumored desired replacement in Seattle is an African American. Why would mayor-elect Hodges want to drive a wedge between native Americans and others, especially African Americans, when such a change has no discernible merit?”
The mayor, being an elected official, has the right to appoint whichever police chief she wants. It is unfortunate that this decision is being cast in terms of competing demographic interest groups or group identities. It is here assumed that native Americans have to support the chief because she is native American (or the GLBT community must support her because she is a lesbian), and the mayor-elect will be insulting or offending these groups if she picks another chief. That argument degrades the political process and its presumption of rational decision making.
I believe that there is “discernible merit” in removing chief Harteau from her high office. This has to do with the way she handled the cases of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero. Obviously, she had nothing to do with the incidents themselves. She had everything to do with the official police reaction.
Part of it is stylistic. Chief Harteau gave the impression of giving as little information to the public as possible. She talked tough. She admitted no wrong doing on the part of the police. She shifted attention away from the double killing to what particular off-duty officers had said in Apple Valley and Green Bay. No, it is not OK for armed police to kill unarmed civilians; and the public needs some assurance that the chief knows this and will take action. It is also not OK, in my opinion, for a police chief to bad-mouth people who have been killed, rightly or wrongly, by the police.
Another part is substantive. Mistakes were made on May 10, 2013, because of bad policies and practices or because existing policies were not followed. The police hierarchy ought to have analyzed the mistakes and recommended correction. If this was done, it has not been communicated adequately to the public.
There are problems with the Minneapolis police department and the chief seems unwilling to do anything about it. Maybe she will change her approach; maybe not. In the meanwhile, it is the right of our elected officials to exert civilian control.
Chief Harteau fires cops who called her a lesbian
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 03, 2013 7:10 pm
It is no secret that I do not think Janee Harteau is up to being police chief. Her handling of the police killings on May 10th was atrocious. The fact that CJ writes about her in connection with a dance competition does not add luster to her role as police chief. Harteau seems more interested in herself than in protecting the safety of city residents.
Today it was announced that chief Harteau has decided to fire the two drunken Minneapolis police officers who complained about their "lesbian" chief in Green Bay. The implication was that these officers felt she hated men. To my way of thinking, it was within the Constitutionally protected rights of the officers to express such opinions, especially when they were off duty. The chief seems more interested in controlling speech than in controlling the sometimes lethal behavior of armed police. This is a mistaken priority.
I have no confidence in this police chief. I hope she is not reappointed. We must have a city where demographic distinctions do not matter so much but where people are treated equally under the law. We need especially to do something about unnecessary police violence.
From: Andy Birkey Date: Dec 03, 2013 7:58 pm
The only information I see is that they were fired for making racist comments in a bar fight in Green Bay:
Perhaps you have more information than I do, and I'd be glad to see it.
"The implication was that these officers felt she hated men." The implication that somehow lesbians hate men is pretty offensive and a common refrain from those in power to marginalize women in same-sex relationships. I haven't seen that raised anywhere in the reports I've seen, except what has just been posted here.
I've recently been going back through the history of the Minneapolis Police Department and the LGBT community and what's there is appalling. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, LGBT establishments raided and patrons arrested and beaten, businesses shut down, and countless murders unsolved. If I even thought for a second that a Minneapolis police officer would not do their job to protect all citizens, I'd call for their firing. And I would hope the chief would too. The history of our police department and oppressed communities does not paint a favorable picture for the MPD.
And that goes for the obvious evidence the chief appears to have used in this case: racist comments and violence. That in itself should be enough for a firing as it's clear by these officers words and behavior that they cannot serve all residents of Minneapolis equally. I'm surprised you left that element out of your analysis. If we are going to have a fair airing of whether this chief is good for the city, it doesn't do anyone any good to leave out details to suit preconceived notions.
The supposition that the chief fired them because she feared they thought she was a man-hater? I don't think so.
Does this police department have blood on its hands (and the chief for whom the buck stops)? I think that's a valid argument given recent events.
From: Michael Thompson Date: Dec 03, 2013 8:13 pm
Though I don’'t necessarily disagree with his sentiments, I suspect Mr. McGaughey's post will elicit a fair amount of blowback. I wonder if firing these officers was less about their comments on the Chief's lesbianness and more about their comments about those people with whom they conflicted in Green Bay "doing their monkey thing." While both comments made by the officers are their right to make, I'm torn on the issue of constitutionally-protected speech rights versus public image, public relations and the ability to do the job. As I think more about it, I support the Chief's actions if the reason for firing the officers is about their racially insensitive remarks. That's a bigger deal to me than their comments about her sexual orientation.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: 8:27pm, Dec 03 Share:
I was thinking of a remark quoted in the Star Tribune on July 30: "While speaking to police, one of the two Minneapolis officers complained it would be a problem if they were named in a police report because "we have a lesbian f---ing chief that's looking to fire people for any reason."
Admittedly, the officer did not explicitly mention men but that is how I interpreted his remark.
The big problem, however, is that chief Harteau seems to take politically incorrect (but lawful) speech more seriously than police violence. Racial slurs are also constitutionally protected speech; they are, however, socially offensive.
From: Jordan Kushner Date: Dec 03, 2013 8:53 pm
I do believe that police officers should not be permitted to make bigoted remarks (against any marginalized group) and otherwise acting improperly in public while holding themselves out as police officers as apparently happened in Green Bay. At the same time, Bill makes an important point about the contrast between Harteau's strict and decisive response to this offensive and disturbing behavior, versus stalling and ultimately backing up the police when carrying out lethal abuse of their authority.
Although I understand that Harteau has replaced all the top leadership which could say something, most indications seem to be that she is a police chief chosen in RT Rybak's image - image not substance.
From: Emilie Quast, SE Como Date: 9:07pm, Dec 03 Share:
Someone is going to have to lay out for me why calling a lesbian (who is in a committed relationship which supports a child) crosses a line into racist slurs.
What on earth does race have to do with being a lesbian? Or, for that matter, NOT a lesbian.
There seems to be blurred thread here.
From: Jim Mork Date: Dec 03, 2013 9:36 pm
Of all the potential firings, this one makes the most sense to me. I'm a skeptic about her abilities in her present job, but it is a fact of history that past chiefs have coddled people who had no business wearing the blue uniform of our city. One challenge was to identify them. The second one was to penetrate the stonewall of the Police Federation. In this case the people were so arrogant as to identify themselves. I still don't know if she can bring the Federation to heel. I hope so. They have a record of wanting bad cops out on the street, not even at desk duty. I'm afraid part of it simply comes from the fact that so many, maybe a majority, are driving in from their suburban homes and probably are contemptuous of the city. I don't think any local media organ has bothered to peer into the realities of our policing. Anyway, if the Chief had backed down on this one, the Federation would have decided she had no spine a tall and then there'd be years of trouble until Hodges and the council declared it a failed experiment.
I do think the off-duty incident involved in this does kinda shine a tiny light into the worst of our uniformed city employees. Beyond all the Protect and Serve PR, there is an attitude problem that people refuse to acknowledge. I always wonder if its this back in St.Paul. Or Bloomington. Or any other city in the region.
From: Wizard Marks Date: Dec 04, 2013 3:50 pm
"f____ lesbian" is a contradiction in terms.
From: David Raveling Date: Dec 04, 2013 5:26 pm
While I think calling her a "F'ing lesbian" is extremely disrespectful, and "f'ed" up. I think that it's important to note, that free speech is "supposed" to be a right. Now unfortunately, I've witnessed on several occasions where those practicing free speech are arrested, or beaten. There are no rights in this country, merely privileges that can easily be taken away when the person with power decides to take those rights away.
I would also like to note that police while supposedly trying to uphold peace, generally cause the most chaos and inflict the most violence in any "free speech" situation. The police also have been widely known to abuse their powers in highly violent manors. An example being, while off duty going to someones house and shooting their dog as a threat, then when reported, nothing happens to the officer. Another example being beating homeless people for sleeping in a park. Another example is clubbing people upside the head for holding signs and chanting.
If we're to have a society with true equality, I should be able to beat an officer upside the head when I see him abusing his power in a violent manor without fear of retaliation, punishment, or any harm coming to my person. Unfortunately, in this society, police are above the law, and in fact protected by it in such a manor that they can literally get away with murdering black people in a highly racist manor, and even further, they get rewarded for it.
I believe Harteau may have over reacted in this instance, but I don't blame her, I'm sure she's dealt with this ridicule for a large portion of her career. It would have probably been a better thing if she had suspended them or punished them in another way, but that didn't happen so I guess it doesn't matter. Regardless, for all we know, these cops were extremely corrupt and she was just using it as an excuse to get rid of them. Then again, they are cops, and my experience with cops has taught me most are corrupt, and abuse their power.
From: Debra Ramage Date: Dec 04, 2013 6:52 pm
Emilie: you may have missed in all the other verbiage above, that in the same incident in which these cops made the f***king lesbian remark, they also made racist statements about people or groups other than their chief. Then they were fired. I don't think Harteau specified which of their offensive remarks was the reason for their firing, so it could have been any or all together.
From: Barb Lickness Date: 7:06pm, Dec 04 Share:
I think a lot of other behaviors were in play here. They made disparaging remarks about black people alluding to the fact that the blacks would be treated differently by Mpls. Police. They got involved in an altercation of some sort while publicly drunk. They ignored polite advice from local officers to go back to their hotel and stay there. They clearly IMHO exhibited behavior unbecoming of an officer. These people were visible public employees and yes fair or not, are held to a higher standards. I think the lesbian comment was only one of many bad judgement calls these now former police officers made.
From: Joe Thomas Date: Dec 04, 2013 9:22 pm
I think Chief Harteau has union support on this firing. On August 4th the Strib had a piece about off-duty officers using racist slurs in altercations with black men with this quote from Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation "There’'s no place in the department for “racist or bigoted” officers"
The article also had this from Delmonico “The federation is committed to working with the chief in improving cultural and racial sensitivity training and reviewing (the department’'s) hiring practices to ensure that we hire officers who understand that racism and discrimination of any kind … will not be tolerated,”
From: Wizard Marks Date: Dec 05, 2013 12:05 am
No matter how you slice the human race, whether cops or nurses or blue eyed, or limping, ten percent will be bad'uns. Racial slurs and sexual slurs are red flags that you've got a bad'un on your hands.
In the early 1980s I was driving the 9 line across 7th street after dark and looked up to see a police car coming toward me against the traffic with light, no sirens, but horn blaring and cops waving out the window. On top of the car they had a giant penis, which, I learned later (from the morning Trib) they had taken from a bath house when they raided it. That had been a police passtime from way back.
Around about the same time, an allegedly gay man was murdered in Loring Park. He was beaten to death with a baseball bat, head smashed so badly that his eyes literally popped out. In subsequent years two other men were murdered in Loring Park. They, too, were alleged to be gay. As far as I can remember, none of those murders were solved, though Steve Brandt maybe could correct me on that.
Lesbian women seemingly were not murdered as often, but the stats weren't kept in such a way as to reveal that, so who knows? Lesbians were certainly beaten up, had their children taken away, and were put into mental hospitals often enough.
So two cops who might have been able to keep their antipathy under control when sober, let it all hang out while drunk. That should come as no surprise as people in the terrible ten percent use alcohol as an excuse to behave like vicious idiots.
Milder forms of the same continuum of behavior are exhibited when lesbians who achieve some status on the job or in politics or whereever are opined not to be up to the job. Ergo, many and many a lesbian stays in her closet rather than jeopardize her career. It's a crying shame, but there it is.
I feel bad for the chief. The buck stops at her desk and the terrible ten percent have to be dealt with. I feel bad for the ninety percent who are looked at askanse, even though they are handling their jobs with profesionalism. Believe me, I've witnessed situations where I would not have been able to keep from clocking someone(s) who were just scurvy bastards to adifferent cops, but the cops let it all wash over them and continued to treat the sumbitch professionally. I gotta hand it to them for that.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 05, 2013 9:49 am
The officers in Green Bay were off duty and in another city. They are guilty of what they said, not did. Their dismissal should have something to do with job performance. Had they used racial slurs in the course of their police duties, I agree it would have impaired their effectiveness and would be an adverse factor in job performance. In this case, however, the public would not have known of the officers' conduct in Green Bay had not chief Harteau chosen to make the interpolice communication public - mainly to take attention off the heat she was getting in the Terrance Franklin situation.
Chief Harteau seems totally unwilling to do anything about police violence, especially as exhibited in the Terrance Franklin case. Instead, she seems intent on producing a force with the right social and political attitudes. She is not an elected official but an appointee charged with making the police an effective crime-fighting instrument. If enforcement of political correctness is to be the main focus of effort in reshaping the police, that direction should come from the mayor or city council.
From: Charlie Quimby Date: Dec 05, 2013 12:23 pm
This thread could also be titled, "Chief fires cops who went to Green Bay just to have a good time" and would be equally "true" but off-point.
These cops were unprofessional in all kinds of ways.
From: Jim Mork Date: Dec 05, 2013 12:24 pm
You can have any opinion you want, but I want a zero tolerance policy for breaking laws, and to me it matters nothing what jurisdiction they are in when they break them. Cops need to be on notice if they do not respect laws ANYWHERE, they are cooked. So they better be extra careful in their off hours. Otherwise the years they put in could be wasted. And it is no concern to me whether the jurisdiction in question decides to press charges or not.
From: Emilie Quast, SE Como Date: Dec 05, 2013 12:38 pm
Charlie and Jim --
My issue was and is with the title of this thread: "...cops who called her a lesbian" which is misleading, I think.
While that was certainly an attention getter on this list, and (no doubt) it jumped off the paper/screen at Chief Harteau as well, I never did think that was the basis of the firing. She's a mom. You try to learn to sort that kind of stuff out and look for the core issue.
The cops were acting like big bad bully playground children running off at the mouth, all brakes disabled by whatever. At their ages, probably hormones are the culprits -- that an too many viewings of TV cop shows.
From: Phil Duran Date: Dec 05, 2013 12:49pm,
For all the talk here about free speech, the fact is these cops are *employees,* not just *private citizens.* An employer, including a government employer, has the right to expect employees to adhere to reasonable standards of conduct. When they are public employees, *particularly* cops, the reality is those standards will be 24/7 (same goes, for example, with judges). Where a cop starts making these sorts of bigoted comments, it is reasonable to imagine that their ability to police a community including the types of people they just were publicly reported to have disparaged will be reduced, and will have a negative impact on the entire department besides. And, yes, the federal courts have upheld instances where government bodies disciplined public employees for their speech. The headline for this topic is misleading at best.
From: Terrell Brown Date: Dec 05, 2013 1:05 pm
It would be enlightening to be able to read the 40 page report that the Green Bay Police took the time to write and then forward to the Minneapolis Police Department. I suspect it wasn't because the Minneapolis cops were being super nice guys.
From: Brandt Williams Date: Dec 05, 2013 1:12 pm
The report from Green Bay PD is embedded in this story. Enjoy.
From: Heather Fraser Date: Dec 05, 2013 1:13 pm
I agree. These guys proved themselves unemployable as professional police officers for a variety of reasons long before they got around to saying mean things about their boss. They were drunk and disorderly, harassed people when they should have gone home, and tried to weasel out of being taken in for their behavior. (Which is when they tried the "angry lesbian chief" gambit.) Occam's razor says that police officers who behave like their clients shouldn't be on the force.
And I agree that this isn't a free speech question but an employability one.
(I've found myself, surprisingly, in agreement with Mr. McGaughey on a number of critiques of MPD, but this one is a pretty clear case of officers who not only aren't worth what we're paying them but are a drag on a professional force.)
From: Heather Fraser Date: Dec 05, 2013 1:16 pm
Again, agreed. Like it or not, there's a "band of brothers" loyalty among cops. For the Green Bay cops to actually write up two of their own, I suspect their behavior had to be pretty bad, and that they refused all hints, subtle or otherwise, that maybe they should just stop talking and go back to their hotel.
From: Bill Kahn Date: Dec 05, 2013 2:16 pm
I dont know that I dont agree with Mr. MaGaughey, although our the thread topic title is ridiculous and very probably untrue.
This was offensive and unprofessional behavior off of and a long way from the job, although it was certainly indicative of the way these officers really feel about lesbians and black folks. Alcohol and camaraderie can reveal things about folks who do not otherwise discuss them openly and that suggests how they should really be handled (as opposed to the PR opportunity to deflect from other problems that Bill suggests). These officers have some growing up to do and Im baffled how they could have gotten through tours of duty in todays armed forces feeling the way they do; perhaps they had problems in the military as well.
Normally, you would think that some sort of reprimand of and statement of contrition from the offending folks along with the appropriate retraining would do as they are not the first or the last homophobic or racist cops in MPD. Delmonicos statement not withstanding, these cops will likely be back on the job after the Federation and Terrance Franklin will be just as dead along with all of the others killed unnecessarily by MPD officers. Unless their license is pulled, theyll be back on the job somewhere, or perhaps on to some other criminal enterprise.
Delmonico did have it right that we need to change the culture of MPD (Where have I heard that before?), but that change, pardon the cliche, comes from within. Have a few parties with weed and booze and find out all of the racists and homophobes (Im easy; I admit that Im uncomfortable with some cultural groups and folks who are way too open about their sexuality, whether hetero- or homosexual).
Once you know who they are, then you can approach the matter with informal and formal training where necessary.
I think I agree with others in the thread that this indicates a sort of cultural apartheid where white flight has both exacerbated the problems and contributes to Wizards 10% bad officers on the force (I suspect much less).
We can have a 100% professional police force, but I dont think it will happen with the kind of culture of PR created by the mayor and his chosen police chief. We have to deal with things truthfully and we have to correct problems, not sweep them under the rug or out of the city limits.
We need professionals in all parts of government (vote for the next last mayor or join me in amending our charter for Council-manager government).
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 05, 2013 8:39 pm
I have read through a number of the Green Bay police reports concerning the two Minneapolis officers fired by chief Harteau and have a somewhat different impression the events than what was reported here.
Evidently the two officers got into an argument with nine black men. When the police arrived, the Minneapolis officers felt that they were taking sides with the black men and became angry. One had previously been with the Green Bay police. The Minneapolis officers felt that the police should have sided with them because they were fellow officers. Their animosity was primarily directed at the Green Bay police. They made disparaging remarks about Green Bay, saying that they would never come back to that city again.
A reasonable interpretation is that the Green Bay police were getting back at the Minneapolis officers in making a thorough report which was sent to Minneapolis police headquarters. Had they heard the n-word being used? Yes, an officer had heard it. The reference to a lesbian police chief came when the Minneapolis officer pleaded with the Green Bay police not to make this incident public. It would hurt their careers, they said, because the Minneapolis chief was a lesbian wanting to fire someone.
In short, this was not a case of drunken Minneapolis officers running off their mouths about black people and lesbians as it would seem from Minneapolis news reports but more a quarrel between Minneapolis and Green Bay police. The Green Bay police knew how to hurt their Minneapolis fellow officers. The Minneapolis officers, of course, made a serious mistake in identifying themselves as police officers thinking that their being cops would make a difference in how the Green Bay police would handle their disorderly conduct. They should not have insulted Green Bay.
The reports do establish at least three facts: (1) These Minneapolis officers thought that being a police officer entitled them to special treatment from other police where personal wrong doing was concerned. It might here, but not in Green Bay. (2) These officers did have a disparaging view of blacks as illustrated by use of the n-word. (3) These officers felt that chief Harteau, being a lesbian, would have special animosity toward them. Why? Perhaps because they were straight white males. However, the reason was not specified.
I choose to focus on the first reason. Some cops do believe themselves above the law and have an us-vs.-them attitude toward the public whom they allegedly serve. If they are armed, that attitude could be dangerous.
Chief Harteau prefers to focus on the second and third reasons - that certain “bad” officers have negative attitudes toward black people and lesbians. She wants to purge the department of this type of person. To have certain attitudes and thoughts, if expressed in public, is cause for dismissal.
Some have criticized the title of this thread. Yes, it is somewhat misleading. The title implies that the two officers identified Harteau as a lesbian perhaps in an attempt to “out” her or disparage her as a kind of name calling. But Harteau’'s lesbian identity was already known. It would have been more accurate to say that the officers felt that Harteau had a certain attitude because she was a lesbian. She was out to fire people - and, in fact, that is what she did.
Some have also suggested that being a police officer or any government employee obligates a person to a higher standard of personal conduct at all times than a normal citizen. This is a matter of community values, which is the sum of individual values in the society. My own opinion is that police officers are no better and no worse than any other person. I do not put them on a pedestal. Standards of conduct while in off-duty for police should be the same as for other citizens.
When police are on duty, however, it is a different matter, for two reasons: 1. They are armed and can much more easily inflict serious bodily harm on a person. 2. They can easily have a person arrested, jailed, and put through the criminal-justice system at their expense. Therefore, I would not be too concerned about what police officers say in off duty because I would be on the same footing as they to respond. On the other hand, I would be at their mercy when they are on duty.
Does Harteau’'s being a lesbian have any bearing on this situation? Yes, I think it does. It is difficult to discuss this subject but let me give it a try.
First consider that Harteau is a political appointee in a city whose elected officials are entirely DFL. The DFL or Democratic party is governed by ideals begun in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Inherent in those ideals is the notion of a victimized people which also implies a group of people who are victimizers. In the 1960s, black people, especially but not entirely in the South, were the victims and their demographic opposite, white people, were the victimizers. In the 1970s and 1980s, the victims were women and men were the victimizers. In the last ten years or so, the focus had shifted to gays and lesbians, who were victims, and straight people were the victimizers.
This is where demographic politics is at the present time. Common to all situations is that one group of people is aways a victim and another group is always an oppressor. For example, by definition black people cannot be guilty of racism.
Since this idea of demographic victims and victimizers defines the soul of the DFL party and since the DFL is overwhelmingly in power in Minneapolis, it cannot be argued that, in the context of city politics, there is an old straight white boy’'s network oppressing their demographic opposites; for the power does not lie with them. Maybe it did in the past, but it no longer does.
So we must resort to the idea of “historic” injustices to justify remedies based on the old realities. In some cases, the newly empowered people may seek “payback” and deliberately oppress the people who formerly oppressed them. I think that is unlikely in a place like Minneapolis. Much more likely is that the new office holder will be effectively insulated from criticism by being able to say to would-be critics “you’'re just like” your oppressive forbearers. You’'re a racist or a homophobe. As a result, that person will be effectively given free rein to do as he or she pleases.
How does this relate to chief Harteau? If a substantial part of the large GLBT community of Minneapolis supports her right or wrong, it will be politically impossible for the incoming mayor, Hodges, or city council to discipline her or impose any direction on a police department which has many problems.
From the beginning, chief Harteau talked tough and exhibited swagger. She admitted little or no wrongdoing in the two deaths that occurred on May 10th, asking sympathy instead for the two hospitalized officers. She gave the public as little information as possible about the case.
Then, facing criticism, Harteau abruptly redirected attention away from excessive police force to racist and homophobic attitudes among Minneapolis officers. This was an area of discussion where she had a stronger hand of cards. She held her own closed-door discussions with selected community leaders. She announced plans to cleanse the department of politically incorrect attitudes and has reportedly replaced many of the people in senior positions. And now she has fired the two Minneapolis officers involved in the Green Bay incident.
I think city residents deserve better than this. The ball is really in the court of the incoming city administration to assert stronger control over the police department and keep demographic attitudes and identities from becoming too large a part of its direction.
From: Wizard Marks Date: Dec 05, 2013 9:08 pm
This is NOT a free speech issue--it's a fitness-for-the-job issue.
1: 35% of Minneapolis population is people of color.
2: Minneapolis is, in the vernacular, a "donut hole city." That means that it attracts GLBT people from small MN towns, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, and Iowa--and perhaps other farther West states. Why? Because GLBT people need education, jobs, and to meet other GLBT people. Ergo, if the percent of GLBT people in the general population is 10% (It's not, it's higher), Minneapolis has twice that many to more than twice that many.Therefore, if a cop has an antipathy to the 35% of people of color and the 25% of the 65% caucasians in Mpls., he is not fit to hold the job of officer.
I don't know Chief Harteau's thinking, but I'd be willing to bet it runs along those lines.
From: Rosemary Knutson Date: Dec 06, 2013 12:03 pm
I'm one of the lurkers. I read, as time permits, the topics that I find interesting. I'd like to add my 2 cents to this thread and hope that I can add a bit of perspective about our Chief.
I used to be chair of the Cedar Riverside neighborhood association, the West Bank Community Coalition. The Hiawatha LRT line was just being completed and our station was in a dark and foreboding corner of the 'hood. We were having problems with thugs preying on folks there and throughout our community. I was also co-chair of our NRP committee and our NRP staffer, Robert Thompson, did a great job of helping me figure out issues, priorities, etc. He was the one who suggested that we organize a Safety Committee, saying that neighborhood safety was an issue that everyone could agree on and that it might help to bring us together.
That was when I called downtown, the First Precinct, and asked for help. I didn't know the first thing about how to proceed. Chief Harteau had just transferred in to the First and was newly assigned to be our Sector Lieutenant. When I told her who I was (a lowly volunteer) and what I was trying to do, she was right there! She helped me get our Safety Committee up and running. Plus, she was there, on the streets, in our 'hood, looking for ways to help all of us have a better quality of life.
As I got to know Chief Harteau, I knew she'd be a chief somewhere, sometime in the near future. We're lucky to have her. She's the best of the best. And, she's a tough cookie. Don't mess with her. Smart, kind, hardworking, educated, gives 110% - I could go on and on.
I am amused by the negative comments from the folks here who don't know anything about our Chief. I do think that any MPD thumpers and bigots would be happy to see her gone and may be on borrowed time. Imagine how it must be for them? A woman, a Native American and a lesbian as their boss? As an aging feminist I can only say: I love it! Seems like poetic justice.
Do try to have an open mind. I am grateful for these folks who choose to serve and protect. There will always be a few bad apples, in every walk of life, and I believe that our Chief will do a good job of being fair and firm. The best of the best!!
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 06, 2013 12:53 pm
No doubt chief Harteau has many admirable personal qualities. I just wish she would pay more attention to the officers' conduct while on duty, especially in regard to use of violence, and less attention to their social and political attitudes. Have police policies and procedures been changed to make it less likely for a tragedy to occur similar to that on May 10, 2013?
From: Mary Gnatz Date: 1:26pm, Dec 06 Share:
Thank you adding balance to this conversation. (Rosemary Knutson’'s posting quoted.)
From: Connie Sullivan Date: Dec 07, 2013 2:33 pm
We all realize that when someone has an agenda to follow, as Bill seems to have with Chief Harteau no matter what, it's pointless to try to reason with them.
In this case, good police work when she was a lieutenant means nothing to Bill (he dismisses it as someone remembering that she was . . . nice?).
Further, given that personnel matters are always handled very closely in-house, it's just a cheap shot to claim that the Chief isn't following up on what cops do while on-duty. Just because she's not communicating her every thought and action with Bill, doesn't mean that she's not doing anything.
Analogy: A couple of years ago there was a Big Flap at the U of MN over a blatant and outrageous case of prior censorship of faculty research (the MPR/Bell Museum/St. Paul ag faculty video on Minnesota and Mississippi rivers pollution from agricultural practices, particularly Big Ag) by a Vice President for Communications or something. One of the biggest censorship issues in the preceding fifty years at the U. And nothing seemed to happen to her, even when the U administration publicly countermanded her and removed the lock on the video so it could be shown. (The video: "Troubled Waters")
But: That Vice President was gone within several months after the brouhaha faded. No noise. Just out the door and back to the world of big business.
Chief Harteau may just be holding her ammunition.
From: Dann Dobson Date: Dec 07, 2013 3:31 pm
Thanks for providing this!
Another typical great job by MPR!
From: Mark V Anderson Date: Dec 07, 2013 Share: 7:02 pm
On 12/7/2013 2:32 PM, Constance Sullivan wrote: "We all realize that when someone has an agenda to follow, as Bill seems to have with Chief Harteau no matter what, it's pointless to try to reason with them. In this case, good police work when she was a lieutenant means nothing to Bill (he dismisses it as someone remembering that she was . . . nice?).
Mark Anderson: I think Bill is mostly right on this. Sure it was a nice anecdote that she did some good police work as a lieutenant. Good work as a lieutenant may have gotten her a promotion to captain, but it doesn't give her a pass once she controls the whole department. Her work as a captain should be judged by her work since she was promoted.
“ Further, given that personnel matters are always handled very closely in-house, it's just a cheap shot to claim that the Chief isn't following up on what cops do while on-duty. Just because she's not communicating her every thought and action with Bill, doesn't mean that she's not doing anything.”
Mark Anderson: I think it's our job as citizens to judge government employees. We certainly don't have all the information that exists to make that judgment, especially when it comes to our opaque police department. So we make judgments based on the information available.
The one incident for which we know something of the police department behavior is that of May 10th, when the police killed two people. The captain handled that incident very poorly, both from the vantage point of transparency and that of investigation. And it appears that the captain has not learned anything from it, at least that she's indicated publicly. It does seem that Bill has gone overboard in his denunciation of the captain based on this one incident, which he seems to assume to cover everything she's done, but in an opaque operation like our police department we need to make determinations based on what we know.
“ Chief Harteau may just be holding her ammunition.”
Mark Anderson: Until she fires, our evaluation must be based on her previous shots.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 07, 2013 9:43 pm
My agenda is that I would like the Minneapolis police to take precautions to prevent a recurrence of lethal violence similar to what happened on May 10th. I am also fearful of efforts to choose officers on the basis of politically correct attitudes. And I will continue to voice those opinions. Don't confuse tenacity with unreasonableness, Connie. Not everyone has to agree with you.
From: Wizard Marks Date: Dec 08, 2013 12:35 pm
B. McGaughey: " I just wish she would pay more attention to the officers' conduct while on duty, especially in regard to use of violence, and less attention to their social and political attitudes."
I don't get what McGaughey's problem is. Chief Harteau did just what he wanted her to--got two bad officers off the streets, We're basing our 'judgment' on what was in the papers and on MPR. The Chief is not allowed to disclose the records of those officers, but you can bet that those records played into her decision. It's not about free speech, it's about fitness for duty. So you got what you wanted, quit griping.
From: Fred Markus Date: Dec 10, 2013 2:58 am
The individual police personnel I've had contact with over the 40-odd years I've been living in Minneapolis have been professional, often likeable, with very few exceptions. It does not help matters when so many officers prefer life in the suburbs, although I can understand the risks that would be implicit were they and their loved ones within easy reach of the gun-totin' feral creatures that still abound in our city.
I like the notion that Chief Harteau has cojones. This sends the message that wanton police behavior is a bad thing 24/7 and wouldn't it be swell if the Police Federation agreed on that narrow point. Especially given the group think that heavily armed enforcement personnel can do no wrong. Might doesn't make right and as our city becomes ever more diverse, the challenges of representational fit become increasingly apparent.
Substance abuse and churlish behavior go hand in hand in more than just the group with badges and guns but the opportunities for deadly abuse of authority are all too commonplace. Kudos to Chief Harteau for laying down the law - if not the Chief, who shall bell these cats?
Police shootings investigations
From: Emilie Quast, SE Como Date: Dec 18, 2013 12:44 pm
I think this is progress:
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 20, 2013 9:56 am
The decision to outsource certain police-misconduct investigations did seem to be progress; however, chief Harteau again bungled the situation in failing to notify state officials of the move. Even so, it would have been better to have persons outside the law-enforcement community (along with insiders) reviewing the decisions given the brotherhood/sisterhood attitude - us vs. them - that seems to exist among law-enforcement officials on all levels with respect to the general public.
I have always been more interested in changing attitudes, policies, and procedures in the police department than in punishing wrongdoers. We should want to prevent future wrong doing more than to seek "justice" for past offenses. I have been looking in vain to indications that chief Harteau intends to do anything about this. Maybe she will, but so far she hasn't.
We have a great resource in former chief Tony Bouza who is clearly concerned about police misconduct. It would be great if the city council would appoint him to investigate the current department and make recommendations to the council about what ought to be done with respect to policies and procedures.
In the meanwhile, I have my own uninformed thoughts.
First, we need to scale back police response to threatening situations to an appropriate level. The idea of more than a dozen squad cars and teams of heavily armed officers chasing after a sole unarmed suspect is ludicrous. The level of weaponry needs to be reduced unless there is a credible threat to the officers' safety. This is something that the MPD needs to review. High-speed car chases also need to be reviewed.
Second, the police should not profit in any way from arrests or seizures of property including those drug-related. This undermines public confidence in the integrity of law enforcement. I would actually prefer legalization of the majority of drugs to eliminate the criminality associated with this enterprise. Drug abuse should be a medical rather than a law-enforcement problem.
Third, hostile racial and gender attitudes interfere with effective law enforcement. This issue cuts both ways. Not only should white-male officers be restrained from targeting blacks but blacks need to respect the white-male officers. This obligation of fairness includes the police leadership and Minneapolis city government. White-male officers need assurance, too, that they will be fairly treated. We need a balanced and open discussion of race and of gender that reassures all types of people that their legitimate concerns will be addressed. So far, we haven't had that discussion; and chief Harteau's hand-picked discussion group offers little hope in that regard. Demographic politics ought not to play a role in the operation of the police department.
Fourth, the us-vs.-them attitude must be addressed. If racial attitudes are squarely discussed, that would help. Beyond that, I think the attitude of victimization promoted by repetitious tributes to fallen or injured officers needs to be restrained. Yes, police work is difficult and sometimes dangerous but that perception ought not be allowed to drift into a view that the community that the officers allegedly serve is filled with criminals or enemies or that the police are in an ongoing war against certain communities. It is best addressed by a closer and more honest relationship between the police and the community. Yes, special events involving police with children can be helpful, but I would prefer that these activities be low-key. The media should not be notified of them.
Fifth, there needs to be much greater transparency in police activities. Bring back the old Civilian Review Board, staffed both with friends and critics of the police department, which would investigate public complaints. Post detailed decisions on a web site, allowing dissenting opinions.
Sixth, investigate the relationship between the police and public prosecutors, especially the Hennepin County Attorney. Decisions to prosecute or not to prosecute are fair game for public comment. The prosecutor should be completely independent of the police. Neither the prosecutors nor the courts should be exempt from public scrutiny.
Seventh, there should be no coordination of activities between police and housing inspectors. Those are separate spheres of regulation.
Maybe some of these things are already being done. If so, I apologize for my ignorance.
From: chris mm Date: Dec 20, 2013 10:02 am
On the same day (Wednesday 12/18/13) Governor Dayton decided that nurses and cops can police their own despite all the evidence to the contrary.
In both cases it appears that the unions had more influence than the public.
From: Emilie Quast, SE Como Date: Dec 20, 2013 10:17 am
Chris said, "In both cases it appears that the unions had more influence than the public."
Except for the mayorial race, where the unions and out of state money did not get their choice (which makes me very proud of the voters of Minneapolis"
From: Jim Mork Date: Dec 20, 2013 12:00 pm
Reflecting on things Bill said. In recent weeks, we had a crime prevention specialist come to the neighborhood to answer questions about property crime breakouts. It was very educational. To the point being discussed here, we heard about the 911 call priority system. The CPS explained that response could be affected by a crime in progress, where we were told as many as 8 cars might be involved in response to a crime somewhere in the precinct. To me that raises a question: Does it make sense to strip a precinct of its ability to respond to 911 calls to send an army to ONE crime? I didn't question the statement made at the meeting because at the time, I was more interested in learning what existing policies were. But now that Bill brings it up, we need to realize this policy of sending massive force, excessive force, is actually putting all other residents of a precinct in harm's way. I think the Chief needs to address this. Among other things, I think this could be a case of "too many cooks". Possibly two or three cars (max) could better coordinate action. The more cars you get driving at high speed, the greater the probability of an innocent civilian getting in the way and getting hurt. If you had a gun fight involving two gangs and LOTS of guns, maybe I can see it. But a single suspect or even maybe two doesn't really warrant the coverage-stripping effect in an area of the city. The rest of us out there are deprioritized in these cases.
From: Connie Sullivan Date: Dec 20, 2013 2:11 pm
Boy, oh boy! Our female police chief can't win one, no matter what she does.
She gets blamed for somehow not contacting the appropriate state officials on the outside review of Minneapolis cop violence? She had worked hand in glove with the BCA on this necessary review (McManus was the chief who stopped having outsiders review cases where Minneapolis cops injured or killed someone, and Harteau was trying to reinstate outside reviews, this time with the state BCA rather than the Hennepin County Sheriff). She was acting professionally, within professional parameters with an agency regarded as unbiased. This is necessary and good.
What caught her up was Delmonico. He went over her head (after he told her he opposed her trying to rein in our thugs on the force this way), not just to her boss, the mayor, but to the governor. Dayton's response was incredible, in the literal sense of not-to-be-believed. Since when does the governor get consulted when there's an agency-to-agency collaboration that's totally within the law? Harteau consulted all the people necessary to consult: those who would be doing the reviews.
Even a black community activist saw fit to blame Chief Harteau for the governor's weak and unconvincing undermining of her authority--somehow she didn't understand the politics of it all? Give me a break.
Tony Bouza was unable to control or limit the anti-chief behavior of the Minneapolis police union. And no chief since his time has been able to, either. Can we at least give Harteau credit for a professional attempt to deal with THIS ONE BIG FEATURE of our police ills?
I look at Bill's post and shake my head at his absolute refusal to acknowledge that THIS police chief is at least trying. He's been attacking her relentlessly for many weeks and months, and his post barely refers to a good action on her part as he goes on and on and on to explain to us what ELSE this woman has to do before he's satisfied.
As if any of the men who've been chief had even done this much.
From: Bill Kahn Date: Dec 20, 2013 2:49 pm
Jim brings up some good resource considerations (The Minneapolis Police Department needs some established protocols to avoid poor outcomes), but I can’'t help think that Bill M is more than a little biased due to his role as a landlord rights advocate (not that there aren’'t real concerns in this direction, but most MPD 'critical incidents' may not be among them; I can agree with Bill’'s other points in this thread although not on race as he’'s as culturally biased as any of us, but I won’'t call him a cultural bigot as that is against our rules). There is more going on here, though.
Connie gets it.
Just from the Cheshire Cat grin on John Delmonico’'s face in the Capitol news report I saw on TV, I think there is nothing for it but that voters end the MPD and reconstitute the acceptable elements it as a unit of the Hennepin County Sheriffs office or perhaps a combine a Twin Cities Metropolitan force with other municipalities and townships at some point, hopefully organized under a different union; let us get together and write that charter amendment (along with a provision to abolish the office of mayor and, perhaps, reform the Council;-). That is my extreme answer to our problems barring any testosterone driven violent solutions.
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis seems to have done a number on Chief Harteau and the media is lapping it up instead of getting to the bottom of what was leading up to the present state of affairs. I strongly suspect a bait and switch on the part of the Federation, but 'no news is good news' for those who count on omissions, distortions and lies to stay in power. Maybe the Chief is politically naive enough to let this happen or maybe she is just not capable of working an agreement with the State of MN to completion, but there is more to this story than we are likely to know unless people start talking or the fourth estate starts working.
There has to be a way for any city to call on the BCA to investigate critical incidents if there is not already with or without the help of Hennepin County, and now is the time for the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota to define that process and identify the funding mechanisms. If this is something that needs to go on the Minneapolis Legislative Agenda, then let’'s put it there for this coming session, but let’'s get back to the present intrigue.
First you have a high profile decision to fire officers over a ‘racially’' charged incident out of state with Delmonico in a more serious and supportive role for the Federation (I think these culturally bigoted officers will likely be fine; they’'re veterans after all and everyone loves veterans these days as we owe them everything, right?) and then you’'ve got him chatting up the governor on the long "critical incidents” discussion with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, basically a union interfering with and injecting themselves into discussions and agreements between two government offices. Naturally, the governor goes on record saying the Chief put the cart before the horse, but did she?
There are minutes for these meetings and memorandums between the parties and we need reporters and news outlets who will get that information, or else citizen journalists will have to do the job of our ‘free press’', missing in action. We can know what is really happening in the world.
Okay. It is state election campaign time for 2014, but this is ridiculous. I know and have concerns that a governor can be manipulated in this way against all better judgement, but this is the guy building “The People’'s Stadium” for the Minnesota Vikings for billionaire Zygi Wilf (I’'m sending a small check, Doug; good luck), the guy saddling Minneapolis with the only taxes in the deal so far, and the guy who is fast building a worse environmental legacy than Tim Pawlenty or any other MN governor.
Delmonico probably pointed to some kind of political writing on the wall and convinced a sitting governor that his administration should not be helping out a department of the largest city of the state as they do others. It is just good Minnesotan political sense to continue to screw Minneapolis, right? (Wrong.).
There are better law enforcement officer unions than the Federation; I think it is time for good Minneapolis cops to demand a better one.
Time will tell whether there are better governors for Minnesota (I’'m beginning to think that there might be a better DFLer than we’'ve got, but I’'ll reserve judgement; I know that there are no GOP folks up to the job), but that is a discussion for another forum.
PPERR Nbrhd, 2nd Emirate, Picayuniaryana (future name of state within MN, encompassing Minneapolis), USA, Earth, Sol Syst., Milky Way, our universe, the multiverse
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 21, 2013 11:53 am
I don't know of Delmonico's role in this. I do take Gov. Dayton's statement at face value that the BCA was not adequately consulted before Harteau announced that it would be reviewing possible cases of wrongful deaths at the hands of the police.
Connie Sullivan is bringing gender politics into the question of whether Harteau is doing a good job. Whether it's racial or gender politics, those considerations are unhelpful. I tried to get the police to change after the shooting death of Terrance Franklin not because Franklin was a black man killed by white officers but because he was a human being who was killed by police. We need uniform standards of police conduct, especially when extreme violence takes place.
In my latest posting, I tried to list some positive steps that might be taken with the police The first was fairly obvious. My point about gender and race may be harder for people to swallow but I do think these factors are poisoning the relationship between the police and the communities they serve.
My tentative conclusion is that people in Minneapolis do not want an open and honest discussion of gender and race to take place. Either they are personally fearful or they benefit from the current situation in some way.
From: Jim Mork Date: Dec 21, 2013 1:18 pm
I think BCA skills might be valuable in some phase of shootings postmortems. But it is a delicate matter, not something for Harteau to exploit for her PR needs. BCA has to work with all law enforcement in crimes across the board. Officer-involved shootings are highly political matters. They might look like shark-infested waters for the management of BCA. I'd expect our chief or ANY chief to hold serious talks in order to hear out BCA on its concerns before breathing ANYTHING about BCA involvement. It could be that Harteau is responding to pressure in an impulsive way. Face it, Minneapolis Chief of Police is not a job for just anyone. Look at the long string of chiefs who messed up. That itself could be a sign of political exploitation by mayors who wanted to "look like they are doing something". Always wonder how other cities avoid the court involvements we've seen here in recent decades. Someone always seems to be suing. Lawyers are everywhere in need of work, so it can't just be that.
From: Connie Sullivan Date: Dec 22, 2013 3:49 pm
It's always helpful to read the local press on an issue like the governor intervening to stop our Minneapolis police chief and the BCA from collaborating on outside reviews of Minneapolis cop violence.
The Star Tribune had a fairly complete and informative article on this issue, guys.
That's where you can find out that the BCA and Chief Harteau had been working together happily on this for some time, and were ready to announce the new system of outside, unbiased, FACTUAL reviews when our cops injure or kill. (Jim's post indicates he is unaware of that. The BCA did not have any complaint.)
The governor's intervention was due to John Delmonico's hopping it over to St. Paul to put his "pressure"--in an election year, on a governor who barely won the last election--on the governor to stop Chief Harteau from reinstating outside reviews of our cops. (Bill seems not to have read anything about this issue.)
From: Patrick Fleetham Date: Dec 23, 2013 11:38 pm
The student used his laptop’'s tracking features and discovered the computer “pinging” from a house in north Minneapolis. Minneapolis Police didn’'t have time to work on the case so University of Minnesota Police offered to take it up, according to University Police Chief Greg Hestness.
Shame on the Mpls Police for not doing their job.
Marcy Holmes park is not the campus. At least in this case the culprit was caught and incarcerated and held on $100,000.00 bond. Hats off to the U of M Police Dept.
Laptop leads police to suspect in U robbery
I should probably joke that Governor Dayton did not authorize this transfer of jurisdiction from the Mpls. Police to U of M Police.
From: Dick Shanahan Date: Dec 24, 2013 1:28 am
Patrick Fleetham wrote: "I should probably joke that Governor Dayton did not authorize this transfer of jurisdiction from the Mpls. Police to U of M Police.”
The Guv would probably have referred the matter to the NFL – Ziggy Wilf – MSFA – Ryan Companies – Star Tribune Benevolence Society. This would ensure that the victim would be on the hook for any connected an protracted costs for a minimum of 30 years. With an automatic extension of Draconian terms, for whatever reason, at the whim of whoever might be the power-that-be at the time.
While this is an encouraging example of what CAN be done, it is a disturbing example of how things are USUALLY done.
From: Chuck Turchick Date: Dec 27, 2013 9:10 am
As someone who has often been critical of the seeming lack of accountability within the Minneapolis Police Department, and critical of Chief Harteau for having her Citizens Advisory Council meet in private -- and, incidentally, of the 49-member Council, 29 of them civilians, and not a one of them having the experience of having been a former CRA board member -- I think the Chief is taking important steps toward making officers more accountable.
One, the previous MPD administration shunned retired officer Michael Quinn when he wrote a book about the code of silence within the MPD. Chief Harteau at least is talking to Sergeant Quinn.
Two, the Chief is considering the proposal for body cameras on police officers, not rejecting it out of hand.
Three, despite what many consider the mishandling of the Terrence Franklin kllling, the Chief has moved fairly quickly to fire officers who clearly don't meet the standards of professionalism we should expect in the MPD.
Four, the Chief, unlike the Federation, seems to recognize the importance of the appearance of fair and credible investigations of police officers, at least in the high-profile incidents.
For me, that is more than a glass half full. We should certainly press for more, but kudos to Chief Harteau.
From: Tim Anderson Date: Dec 31, 2013 3:05 pm
It's interesting to read about this from the other side of the river. As far as I know the St. Paul police investigate their own departments shootings but it doesn't create any real controversy. I asked my cop buddy what this debate is all about from his perspective and he said PR and spin. Then he told me how these investigations work and it sounds like there are some things that aren't getting explained in the news stories. So here's what he told me.
When a cop shoots someone on duty or shoots at someone, there are 2 investigations that start right away. One is a criminal investigation where the investigators collect the evidence and write reports and talk to everyone involved and all that stuff is turned over the the local prosecutor. In Munneapolis that would be Mike Freeman. He decides if there is any evidence that the cop committed a crime like assault or murder. Or he has the information presented to a grand jury to decide that. He said that there are a couple of important points here. One is that the cop is considered a potential suspect in the criminal investigation so he has the constitutional right to remain silent and to have a lawyer represent him. So before he answers questions from any criminal investigators, he meets with the union and the lawyer they provide. In the MInneapolis dispute, the union or it's lawyer could advise the cops not to answer questions from BCA investigators. To be part of a criminal case, the cop has to voluntarily answer questions. If the department forces him to answer questions or lose his job, his answers can't be used in a criminal prosecution against him at all. This is a big deal to criminal investigators and prosecutors if there is any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing because a mistake can ruin the whole case. This led to the other thing my buddy pointed out. Criminal charges against working cops who get involved in shootings hardly ever happen - anywhere. Except for conspiracy buffs, people generally see that these on duty shootings don't qualify as crimes under the laws. Even though there might be problems or concerns that the incident could have been done better by someone, that doesn't make it a crime. I can't remember any case in St.Paul or Minneapolis where a cop was charged with a crime for shooting someone while he was working. Even when Minneapolus had an outside police department investigating these in the past, it didn't lead to any charges. I tried to google it to see if there are recent cases in other cities, but I didn't find anything except some stories from Hurricane Katrina.
So there is also a second investigation that happens in these shootings at the same time as the criminal investigation. The second investigation is the discipline investigation. These are usually done by investigators from internal affairs. They have all the information from the criminal investigation and they can collect other stuff, talk to people and other kinds of follow-up to see if any of the things that happened in the shooting violated any department policies. The discipline investigation looks at everything that happened before the cop shot his gun and the facts of the shooting and everything that happened afterward so the discipline investigation looks at lots more than the criminal investigation. This is the part where the internal affairs investigators get the facts about whether there were violations in stopping the person, chasing, entering private houses, using force or anything else that wasn't done right or violated someone's rights. The department can make the cops answer all the questions it wants in the discipline case and they can use the answers to discipline or fire people. So this is the investigation part that is supposed to do something about problems like stopping someone without a legal reason or escalating the problem instead of defusing it, chasing people too fast or when it wasn't necessary, being disrespectful or bullying people.
In Minneapolis' new plan, the criminal investigation would be done by the BCA but it would just go to Mike Freeman's office like it does now. Because shootings while working almost never seem to meet the definition of a crime, having the BCA do it isn't really going to make anything different. The discipline investigation will still be done by Minneapolis' own internal affairs investigators. The results of the discipline investigation will then be reviewed by Minneapolis police administration themselves to decide if there are any policy violations and how any punishment should get handled. That's exactly the same as now so nothing different is likely to happen in the future with the discipline investigations. I haven't heard or read any stories in the news that really explained these two investigations and what happens with them.
Now that I know more about it, it seems like the discipline investigation is the one that people should be talking about because it looks at so much more with all the policies and everything that happened leading to the shooting and after - like medical attention. Since these aren't going to change and are always done by the police department only to be reviewed by the police administrators, this whole big debate about Minneapolis' new policy doesn't really mean much of anything and doesn't mean anything will be different when the BCA takes over the criminal investigations. It's just public relations without a lot of substance.
I thought that was interesting and I didn't read the whole explanation anywhere so I thought I'd pass it along.
From: Ed Felien Date: Dec 31, 2013 3:57 pm
I respectfully but firmly disagree with Mr. Anderson that the change from an internal examination of an incident when an officer uses deadly force to allowing an outside agency like the BCA investigate the incident is merely cosmetic public relations.
I urge you to read the 225 page police report on the Terrance Franklin homicide and compare it with the Medical Examiner's Report. There are important inconsistencies. If you would prefer, you can read my 12 page summary: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/category/tags/terrance-franklin or the one page summary and critique by me and former Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza: http://www.southsidepride.com/2013/11/articles/how-did-they-kill-Terrence-Franklin.html
There are obvious differences between police investigating police involved in a homicide and police investigating civilians. When the police are investigating civilians involved in a homicide they generally don't let the suspects hang out for three days to get their stories straight before taking testimony, which was the case with the Terrance Franklin homicide.
Also, there are certain rules of engagement for police in pursuing a hostile suspect that were breached in the Franklin case. When a suspect is cornered you are not supposed to go in and grab him by the hair and try to pull him out of a hole. You're not supposed to slug him as hard as you can while your dog is biting him on the leg, and you're not supposed to hit him as hard as you can with your flashlight. You're supposed to talk to him and withdraw to a safe perimeter.
I don't think Chief Harteau's proposal for the BCA to investigate serious incidents by the MPD goes far enough. But I do strongly believe it is a step in the right direction.
From: Mark V Anderson Date: Dec 31, 2013 9:07 pm
Written in response to Tim Anderson’'s posting:
Where did you get this explanation from?
I certainly think it is important that an outside party investigates any serious harm done by a cop, in both Minneapolis and St Paul. We give police guns and give them authority to arrest people. No matter how good a job we do hiring and training these folks (and this doesn't seem to be all that good), we still need to have extra controls to make sure their powers aren't abused. I don't see how investigations by the BCA instead of someone who works for the police chief could be considered just public relations. I would like to see these investigations also made public, because I have some concerns that all the insiders in the process will have incentives to hush up bad behavior by cops.
I have said in the past that I thought the investigations of the May 10th killings was botched badly, especially by not questioning a key officer in the event for a week. My thinking has been that police killings should be handled like any killings by non-police, and thus the police involved should be isolated and be questioned immediately before they have a chance to coordinate their stories with other officers. I hadn't thought about the right of the officer to remain silent or to have representation of the union and attorneys when questioned. But this questioning should still be done immediately, even though in the presence of any representation requested by the officer. And if the officer decides to remain silent, that tells its own story.
Harteau does it again!
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 24, 2013 10:07 am
Today’'s Star Tribune reports that chief Janee Harteau is requiring all 800 plus officers in the Minneapolis police department to sign a statement of policy that officers who leak sensitive information in ongoing investigations will be subject to criminal prosecution and/or dismissal from the department.
I am not in favor of unauthorized release of information which impedes active investigations. However, there was already a police policy regarding leaks. Harteau is bullying the officers.
Informed reaction comes from the head of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union who said: “I can understand why she’'s doing this, but this is not appropriate.”
The Star Tribune quotes former chief Dolan who “said he found it impossible to stop leaks from within the department. ‘It’'s an age-old problem,’' he said, adding that as long as the information is accurate it’'s not as harmful to the department.”
What about embarrassing information that is accurate? What if the chief is lying and some whistle blower is leaking information to that effect? In this age of NSA leaks, the public suspects that state secrecy is intended to protect high-level wrong doers in government rather than enemies of the nation. The public does have a right to reasonable information that bears on the conduct of public officials even if those officials wish to keep things secret.
Harteau needs to pay less attention to protecting her own image and more attention to protecting the public. As others note, it’'s interesting that in today’'s newspaper there is a story about U of M campus police catching and arresting someone who stole a laptop computer from a student. The article states: “Minneapolis police didn’'t have time to work on the case so University of Minnesota Police offered to take it up.” It was a relatively easy matter to locate the computer and the thief from a tracking device.
Much the same thing happened to a member of my family a month or two ago except that a gun was used in that robbery. To the best of my knowledge, the Minneapolis police never investigated and there was no other police agency volunteering to do the work.
From: Jim Graham Date: Dec 24, 2013 11:29 am
You are correct on this Bill.
Unfortunately Harteau is continuing the campaign and strategy of Rt Ryback for "Controlling Communication". Its true purpose is to protect the powers that be from criticism by the public. I could understand if it was "Leaking information that is harmful to an ongoing case", or untrue information.
We have a real trust problem in this country and in Minneapolis. Citizens have been shown that they cannot trust our own politicians and public officials. Unfortunately, facts have shown that that distrust is warranted in many many cases. Even though he has lied over and over again to the people Obama was correct when he said we need complete transparency in government.
Minneapolis police officers should be able to discuss ANY information with the public as long as it is true and does not jeopardize a case. We especially need our police officers to be completely open and candid with their "employers" who are the after all the taxpayers of Minneapolis.
Community-Police relations are of paramount importance for police to be able to adequately do their jobs. Without trust there simply cannot be honest communications.
Another poster is also correct, Minneapolis simply is not doing an adequate job of policing in Minneapolis. We are told over and over that Minneapolis police no no longer have the manpower to do many of the things they use to do. Which is rather hard to believe given the drop in crime statistics that we hear over and over. Clearly there are NOT enough officers, OR they are poorly administered. Since even with lower crime statistics they are not able to give the same service they previously performed.
But we need to hear these things from OUR police officers, not untrustworthy information from politicians and "officials". We are after all Minneapolis not Moscow or Washington where everything must go through propaganda channels. As a once "progressive" and still a Democrat I am deeply troubled by such things coming from my own political Party.
Well, here is hoping that Betsy Hodges will actually make Minneapolis more transparent and return Minneapolis to the City it was before RT attempted to make it the City he dreamed of. A start would be getting rid of that "Communications Department" and getting a Chief that is not afraid to have officers tell the truth to the public.
From: Karen Engelsen Date: Dec 24, 2013 3:01 pm
I wonder - is there any pattern to the location of crimes where Mpls police do not investigate? Any particular precinct? Part of a precinct?
Is this a case where affluent areas of the city receive better services, diverting resources away from low income/minority areas?
If it were, how could such an issue be tracked & proven?
From: Patrick Fleetham Date: Dec 24, 2013 5:42 pm
I know when I lived on Lake of the Isles police response was far superior. Everyone I talk with in East Philips that have called the Police complain about response time. (in response to Karen Engelson’'s question)
From: Emilie Quast, SE Como Date: Dec 24, 2013 6:20 pm
Would a fair assessment be based on the part I crimes reported maps (issued monthly on a n'hood basis) and the number of squads and officers per precinct?
Anecdotal reports are a start but are based on perception by the individual. If, however, one precinct reports significantly higher number of part I crimes but has a lower ratio of crime/cop that just might need explaining. Plus, it's based on statistics, not individual perception.
It also matters if you are complaining about part II's but your n'hood has far more part I's, I'd think.
From: Jim Mork Date: Dec 24, 2013 8:14 pm
I'm suspicious that the Police Federation is making an attempt to put the new chief on the defensive before she can get enough traction to force them into things they don't want. I want to gauge her critically. But I don't want her fighting so many bogus charges that we are unable to make that critique. I think it is time for the DFL to stand up and defend the integrity of the government it has in place. It didn't get EXACTLY the people it wanted in positions, but make no mistake. A failure by this government is going to be a "DFL failure". Just watch those who look for any dart to throw at the board. Dayton should be huddling with the party leadership and deciding tactically what it will do when people who want them to fail try to create a bogus frame on issues. They don't want to be on the defensive in the next few years. Among other things, the suburbs are full of people who'd just love to unseat Dayton. He needs to realize he can't fight this fight alone. If he doesn't hang with his party, he'll hang alone.
From: Ed Felien Date: Dec 24, 2013 8:46 pm
Jim is right on!
Harteau's proposal for an outside investigator to look into serious incidents when the MPD fires guns at people is absolutely essential if the people in Minneapolis are to have any confidence in their police. The Thin Blue Line protects and shields the police from public scrutiny. They have become an empire unto themselves. They must be brought under civilian (and civilized) control.
Betsy Hodges' work in getting personal cameras for officers is another great step forward in insuring accountability for the MPD.
We need to support these efforts, and when the Governor does not support these efforts, then we have to ask who does the Governor believe he represents? He's already given rich suburbanites a Viking Stadium that's going to cost the City of Minneapolis close to a billion dollars over 30 years and a park where they can party on game days that we in the City will clean up for them. Most of the MPD live in the suburbs as well. Has the Governor given up on the City? Yes, it's time for the new Mayor to sit down with the Governor and demand some respect and a little cooperation.
From: Ed Fesler Date: Dec 25, 2013 11:25am
Gagging the police and trying to centralize all communications is a terrible idea. It will backfire in many ways.
I don't think it is about the Chief or politicians protecting themselves. Cops see the world differently than liberals and progressives.
If body cameras let the public see what cops see, will it make the public more liberal, progressive and tolerant?
NO, it won't. It will make people think more like cops.
From: Bill Kahn Date: Dec 25, 2013 3:01 pm
There were a whole lot of rumors spreading following the death of Terrance Franklin, and I think most of them originated from cops, some of whom are inveterate gossips. One or more versions of events can percolate through the friends and family of those MPD folks who gossip, and give us a mountain out of a molehill or simply obfuscate the truth in a way that protects scoundrels and idiots. You can blow smoke and proclaim Franklin the author of his own fate, but the reason he is dead is the way MPD officers chose to apprehend him.
I’'d rather have the Minneapolis Police Department story at one hearing and the whole story or as much as is possible with reasonable conclusions about who did what, from an investigating authority higher than MPD. I think we’'ve been damn lucky that it hasn’'t been the U.S. Department of Justice coming in to clean house, but we still do have to clean house.
Ed Fesler is kind of right, but I don’'t have a problem adding another restriction on 'talking shop’' outside of MPD; there is just too much of it and it doesn’'t help much unless there is truly something to blow a whistle about. In other words, let Chief Harteau 'do it again', and again, and again until the Mayor and Council of the City of Minneapolis decide that she should not. As long as City of Minneapolis policies are not dictated by the unions (or Bill M), especially the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis (I almost wrote ‘Minneapolice’'; maybe I should refer to their union as ‘Minneapolice' from now on as it is easier to remember), I’'ll be satisfied.
Our world is artifice. Departure from this absolute among those who do not accept the fiction that is us, is to one extreme or the other; you either accept, participate and support our made up culture or you don’'t, chipping away at it to either eek out a living or to destroy it or parts of it to supplant it with your own chosen path in life. Should your path make any sense to the rest of us, we might go along if there are enough of us to change momentum.
Cops and crooks and other cultural terrorists were probably the only folks to see the human world as it is: a struggle among those unlucky enough to not have been endowed with some property, in themselves or from the rest of us, that serves to exclude them from the fray.
Today, we all hunker down for the holidays if we have any means at all, and hold off all but our best intentions if we can; but the cops, crooks, and others still perform their duties, for or against us.
With hope for a better world and wishes to all for that or at least some Happy Holidays,
Part 9 As we head into 2014, an Assault at the Mall of America and Disclosure of a Dirty Sock (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls)
12/27/13 "Suspects had cased Mall of America Starbucks before beating Mark Andrew"
3/5/14 Star Tribune article: “"New DNA evidence in Franklin case.”"
3/5/14 Star Tribune article: “"Terrance Franklin DNA tied to stolen gun, Minneapolis police report.”"
Mark Andrew's Annus Horribilis
From: Jim Mork Date: Dec 28, 2013 8:55 am
First Betsy Hodges trounces Mark Andrew. Then he goes to the Mall of America, gets his phone grabbed, and gets beaten by a couple of women. Something strikes me as surreal about this whole business. Like I'm not in Kansas anymore (yeh, I know, I'm in Minnesota, but its a figure of speech).
Note: Mark Andrew was the runner-up in this year's Minneapolis mayoral election. At one time, he was favored to win.)
From: Marie Przynski Date: Dec 28, 2013 9:16 am
The fact that several people inside the coffee shop witnessed the assault and did nothing to help intervene - that's pathetic - nine stitches to close up a head wound is pretty significant - and snickering "that he got beat up by women" is obnoxious and condescending on many different levels -
From: Shelley Leeson Date: Dec 28, 2013 10:22 am
Not ironically, within the last month both the 2nd Precinct commander Insp. Kathy Waite and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek have both made public statements directly saying that we, as individuals, are responsible for our own safety. The reference and implication in both statements was that cops cannot be everywhere to stop or prevent every crime. And it would be impossible, not to mention highly undesirable, to live in a police state with a cop stationed at every corner.
Cops can't keep us safe - and are not obligated to do so (SCOTUS 2005). Our fellow _average_ citizens most likely will not intervene to keep us safe, as the Andrews incident highlights.
However, and not incidentally, I note the recent exception to the citizen apathy rule by referencing the story last week of the _legally armed_ citizen in Northeast Minneapolis who happened upon and interrupted a violent robbery, likely saving a man's life (as well as his own) because of his _common sense_ and forethought to his own individual safety.
I also don't think it's incidental to Andrews' incident that the MOA has created a _victim zone_ by posting signs that _ban lawful carry_. And I don't think it's incidental that the perps specifically scoped out Starbucks which has also reverted to a _victim zone_ with their recent, very public announcement discouraging law abiding, lawfully armed citizens from patronizing their stores.
We have a revolving-door criminal justice system that will spit these violent perps back into our neighborhoods virtually without consequence to them (as we saw just a few weeks ago following another violent robbery near the U of M campus, when 4 individuals were ID'd and arrested - one even confessed to the armed robbery, and all had previous records - they spent 36 hours in jail and were released without charges). We have perps utilizing any manner of _tools_ including hands, feet, fists, batons, box cutters and illegally carried guns to victimize innocent, law abiding citizens.
Indeed, we are responsible for our own safety. Indeed, we are our own first responders.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 28, 2013 12:05 pm
There needs to be meaningful punishment of violent persons. Prolonged incarceration is appropriate for the three people who attacked Mark Andrew. Otherwise, the system is a joke. These three knew what they were doing. And, yes, we should expect law enforcement to take the lead in dealing with violence of this sort. Maybe they can't be everywhere at the same time but that should not be their operative principle.
From: Keith Reitman Date: Dec 28, 2013 12:15 pm
First and foremost I wish Mr. Mark Andrew a speedy and complete recovery. I feel really bad about the trauma he had to suffer and wish him to know he is lucky to still be around to discuss the terrible incident he endured. I also commend him for his unrelenting courage and tenacity in the matter. He may have saved other, possible future victims lives by being courageous in that moment. God Bless your recovery Mr. Andrew. Finally, I am sickened that no one there came to his aid when he needed help in a life and death matter.
Beyond that, I have always said from my perch at Penn and West Broadway: When someone is beating you over the head there is NO time to consider what that person's childhood was like nor what they might have suffered. One must get out from under the beating by any means necessary; and fast.
Mr. Andrew can join me for coffee anytime in the future on West Broadway. I will watch over his shoulder while he watches over mine.
From: Jim Graham Date: Dec 28, 2013 1:34 pm
The individuals perpetrating the crime against Mark Andrew should be prosecuted for a "Hate Crime". It was an organized effort to victimize a protected class of person under Federal Law. Mark Andrew is an older White man with very gray hair. A protected class in two categories. Age and race.
As for Shelly's comment, I in part agree with her that it is the responsibility of citizens to protect themselves. It is a false assumption that the police are there to protect us; and that they will be there at all is just wishful thinking. I disagree though about the responsibility of citizens protecting other citizens. It IS the responsibility of all citizens to come to the aid of victims. In fact it is the very basis for organized "civilized" society.
If more people actually did that and always automatically went to help a victim, we would have far fewer incidents like what happens almost every day in Minneapolis. In my opinion it is totally unethical to ALLOW criminals to do what happened to Mark Andrew. The witnesses should have rushed out and beat the criminals unmercifully. Otherwise they and other human predators will continue to do such acts because they rightfully think that the "sheep" will only sit and bawl without helping the other sheep being attacked.
Unfortunately, the politicians, the police, and our general society in Minneapolis is training our children to be such worthless sheep who will stand and allow another to be victimized and feel only grateful that it is not themselves being attacked. Instead of the moral outrage that would stop it from happening again. The entire story disgusts me to no end, that people would sit idly by and watch a defenseless old man like Mark Andrew be not only robbed but then beaten with a billy club in public is just unbelievable. The shame those watchers should be feeling should be overwhelming....
Of course I do realize that my opinion is not politically correct in Minneapolis these days.
From: Ed Felien Date: Dec 28, 2013 2:54 pm
Deepest sympathies to Mark Andrew for this horrible assault.
We should all remember that the three alleged conspirators in the robbery and assault on Mark Andrew are innocent until proven guilty. We do not want to pre-judge them or prejudice public opinion against them. They must be given a fair trial.
It is alleged that the three conspired to rob Mark Andrew of a cell phone and when he chased the person who took the phone, he was assaulted by two young women with a club which caused severe bodily harm.
Subdivision 1. Aiding, abetting; liability. A person is criminally liable for a crime committed by another if the person intentionally aids, advises, hires, counsels, or conspires with or otherwise procures the other to commit the crime.
Subd. 10.Assault. "Assault" is:
(1) an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or
(2) the intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.
It will be a prosecutor's job to determine if the crime caused:
Subd. 7a.Substantial bodily harm. "Substantial bodily harm" means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily member.
Subd. 8.Great bodily harm. "Great bodily harm" means bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm.
Felonious assault is punishable by up to five years in prison.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Dec 28, 2013 4:25 pm
It goes without saying that persons accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty. The system does not always work that way but it should.
I'm assuming that the facts will not be in dispute if this crime took place in a crowded coffee shop at the Mall of America.
The Star Tribune article includes this sentence: "Upon their arrival, Andrew said the women told police that he had assaulted them first, but a witness inside the shop confirmed his account."
I would guess that these street-smart female thugs knew that, in a majority of cases, Twin Cities-area police will tend to side with the woman when a woman accuses a man of violence. They knew which button to push. It didn't work in this case because there were plenty of witnesses and because Mark Andrew is a public figure.
I would tend not to blame the other customers at Starbucks. It was not their responsibility to become involved although persons of exceptional character sometimes do. I do give Andrew credit, however, for chasing down the thief. Yes, he was a "winner". It is no blight on his manhood to have been assaulted by women. You can't pick and choose your assailants.
From: Jack Ferman Date: Dec 28, 2013 5:10 pm
Back in the much older years, gentlemen never ventured forth with a stout walking stick. Had Mark had his, the one with the brass handle knob, the perps would have been subdued forthwith.
From: Karlie Cole Date: Dec 28, 2013 5:47 pm
Wish I was surprised at the misogyny and sexism rampant in this discussion. Mark is supposed to be especially embarrassed because he got beat by girls? Even referencing his defeat to Betsy Hodges?
From: Tony Hill Date: Dec 28, 2013 6:55 pm
I am reminded of the time Mayor Don Fraser, then 65, chased down a purse-snatcher who had robbed and assaulted an aide.
From the Telegraph (Nashua, N.H.), September 11, 1989:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) MAYOR Don Fraser saw an aide chasing a thief who had grabbed her purse, so the 65-year-old mayor figured the only thing to do was join the chase. Wearing a suit and tie and leather shoes, the mayor bolted down office building steps Sunday, raced around the back of a house and headed up a side street.
''As I was running, I was thinking about what I would do if I caught him,'' Fraser said. But Fraser wasn't quite fast enough. Witnesses said the thief hopped into a waiting car and was gone.
Katie Fournier, whose purse was stolen, was impressed with Fraser's efforts. ''He wasn't even out of breath,'' she said. "He must be in good shape."
Excerpts of what was written in the Star Tribune of 11 September 1989, p.1B:
Minneapolis Mayor Don Fraser put his fleet-footedness to a test - chasing a purse snatcher just ... [I didn't know what I] would do if I caught him," Fraser said a few hours later. "I ...
The chase started as Katie Fournier, a part-time [Fraser] aide, was leaving a DFL Feminist Caucus fund-raiser in a Franklin Av. office building early yesterday afternoon. Fraser was talking with friends on the porch when he heard yelling.
A thief had grabbed Fournier's purse, but she refused to let go. The thief was dragged her [sic] along the ground. He fled with the purse when the strap broke. Undaunted herself, Fournier got up and gave chase. ...
From: Ed Fesler Date: Dec 28, 2013 6:55 pm
I've got a terrible feeling that Minneapolis and the DFL just had our own local version of September 11th. What are we going to do?
I voted for the strongest crime fighter, Don Samuels.
The attack on Mark Andrew happened on the second floor of the Mall of America. Completely indoors, the safest place in the state.
From: Tony Hill Date: Dec 28, 2013 7:44 pm
I keep rereading Ed Fesler's message because I can't tell if he's being serious or sarcastic. (This is a problem with more than a few messages on this forum. Say what you mean!)
No one believes that Mall of America is the safest place in the state. Most of Minnesota (meaning 96% of the surface area) is completely free of violent crime. Mall of America is a crowded place where one must always be on the qui vive.
The attack on Mark Andrew took place on the 2nd anniversary of the riot at Mall of America. https://www.google.com/#q=mall+of+america+riot
The likening of this crime to September 11 is repulsive.
From: Patrick Fleetham Date: Dec 28, 2013 8:33 pm
Ed, you are loco if you think the MOA is the safest place in the state.
Every day you have groups of kids hanging out looking for something for nothing. Not all of the youth are like this, but a sizeable population of youth does exist inside MOA. The Strib simply doesn't report crimes cause it would be harmful to the business climate.
From: Patrick Fleetham Date: Dec 28, 2013 9:05 pm
"During a subsequent Miranda prefaced interview, [Cutler-Cain] acknowledged that she and [the two other suspects] had checked the Starbucks coffee shop several times that afternoon in order to determine if it was 'sweet,'" the charges say. "When asked to explain further what this characterization meant, [Cutler-Cain] indicated that they were determining whether the shop would provide an opportunity to steal property from customers."
I would suggest you don't read the comments at the end of the article as they are mostly from the 'haters' in our society.
disturbing phone message
From: Ed Felien Date: Dec 30, 2013 7:26 pm
Someone is trying to intimidate and threaten Southside Pride. We received the following on our phone message machine:
"Yah Id like to come over there and f____g kill you bunch of [??] article [???] racist b_ch [???] f___g brick through your f___g window you f____g stupid pig. Is every white person who watches FOX news a f___g bomber you stupid f___g pig f____g whore [???] f____g murder. Oh yay!! How f___g f____d up are you you f____g piece of f___g s__t [???] f____g kill. You stupid pig, f___g b__ch. Oh jeez youre comparin em to what? The Velvet Underground? Was every f____g yippie, hippie, f___g liberal a f___g bomber you stupid f___g piece of s__t. Oh they were all Charles Manson, werent they? Dumb f___g c______g f____g pig.
"Im goin to come over there and f____g cut your f__g nuts off and shove them in your f____g mouth you stupid n____r f____g piece o s__t. How f___g f___d up are you you racist piece of s__t."
We think this may relate to my article on "A Good Man With A Gun:"
Other people who have received these kinds of messages agree that the best way to deal with them is to make them as public as possible, so, while normally we don't publish voicemails without the consent of the caller, since the caller did not identify himself and his prose is so dramatic, we thought we'd share it with an appreciative audience.
From: Patrick Fleetham Date: Dec 30, 2013 8:55 pm
If this is true, if it persists and if it escalates I'll pull a couple of night shifts watching your bldg. for the good of the free press.
From: Jim Graham Date: Dec 30, 2013 11:14 pm
Oh Ed, this is clearly just an idiot that is feeling powerless and thinks such threats will make himself feel better. If he or she (I assume a he) was dangerous he would have done something not given such a silly message. Dangerous people do not really threaten to throw a brick through your window. They do it.
And on a more serious note: It will be funny driving by and seeing the ice sculpture that Pat will become standing "watch" outside the building. :-) Damn, it is cold outside!!! And if you find out who did it Ed, let me know; I will be happy to discuss the issue with him. Maybe take a bar of soap. He sure did get a lot of use out of that one word. :-)
By the way I watch Fox as well as MSNBC and CNN. Switch back and forth between them especially when there is a serious issue going on in the world. God it is fun to look at how incredibly each is slanted in a different direction. Each claiming to be real "Journalism". Each high comedy. Of course Fox really does have the smartest as well as cutest women. WOW!!! Both funny and beautiful!!! Like Megyn Kelly!!! I am sure they attract a lot of males more interested in them than the "News", wish they would not interrupt it with silliness like Hannity doing comedy. No wonder Fox has far more viewers. Perhaps NBC should take a hint, maybe put on some hunky men for women. :-) And perhaps even though I watch Fox the viewing of MSNBC and CNN moderates my desire to throw a brick at Ed. Or perhaps it is just because Ed is such a sweet guy.
Remember folks, never take seriously anything you cannot laugh at. Especially yourself, religion and politics. I added politics to Mama's saying because that really cannot be taken seriously. :-)
From: Wizard Marks Date: Dec 31, 2013 11:47 am
What I find very sad about these kinds of calls is that the caller's vocabulary is so anemic. There oughta be a law that if your vocabulary cannot rise above what Ed has reported, then you may not speak until you can do miles better. So, Caller, shut your cake hole!
From: Heather Fraser Date: Dec 31, 2013 11:54 am
Sounds like Tarantino and Sheen got into the tequila and pranked you. They're probably sleeping it off right now!
(Seriously, that is disturbing--most likely nothing, but you should report it to the police so you are on record if it escalates...)
From: Joe Nathan Date: Dec 31, 2013 12:22 pm
Very sorry this happened. I agree with advice about letting police know.
From: Tim Bonham Date: Dec 31, 2013 11:24 pm
I like this part, Ed: " you stupid n____r ..."
If that's accurate, it would be a heck of a surprise to your parents! :)
Walking down the block, I used to see your mother out in the yard, and she was 100% white European ancestry.
From: Jim Graham Date: Jan 01, 2013 5:58 am
Sorry Tim Bonham, but you need to check more closely. NO ONE is 100% White. I believe the stats say that on average White Americans have approximately 5 to 6% African ancestry. Funny thing is that such a percentage does make them 100% Black according to a ruling by the Supreme Court. The funniest part is that that racist would probably fall in that same category. :-)
Hopefully, Ed's "friend" is not "On-List"; having had bricks or large rocks thrown through my windows at least three times by those upset at my interrupting their neighborhood pharmaceutical distribution enterprises. It really is a bummer when it is as cold out as now. And I have found that convincing a white racist that he might actually in part be what he hates can actually cause violence to occur. :-) From Pogo, "We has met the enemy, and it is US!"
Ah well, and Minneapolis starts anew this morning. New Mayor, New year! A new opportunity for Minneapolis to be the place it COULD be. Wishing you all a Happy New Year. And may the joy of love be with each of you this new year and a new chance for each of us.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jan 01, 2014 12:37 pm
Earlier this year, you posted a message to the effect that people ought to listen to political opinions different than their own. It's unclear whether the caller was upset about race or about gun control, or maybe both.
Here's a suggestion: Set up a public meeting to discuss race and/or gun control. All opinions are allowed but people must identify themselves and use their real names if they want to participate. I would commit to attending if you set up such a meeting.
On the face of it, the caller was a coward for not identifying himself when he left the message. Give him an opportunity to redeem himself. There could be a pleasant surprise.
From: Connie Sullivan Date: Jan 01, 2014 2:43 pm
Those who hide behind anonymity when they attack others are always cowards. They are ashamed of what they think or are saying or doing, and hide from assuming responsibility for it.
They can be those ugly ranters in on-line "comments" pages, or anonymous phone callers who rant (usually, the ones on the phone to non-profits seems to be drunk when they leave the type of obscenity-laced rant/threats Ed received), or individuals or corporations who demand that their political contributions remain anonymous. Cowards, all. Full of shame that their acts would be publicized.
But protect yourself. Many ranters are also unstable and quite dangerous to others.
From: Ed Felien Date: Jan 01, 2013 4:16 pm
I like your idea. Perhaps this summer at the Fourth of July in Powderhorn Park we should have soapbox debates with meaningful discussions of the issues of the day. I would be happy to debate the Second Amendment: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. The affirmative generally puts forward a change in the status quo, so I would propose the thesis: Since a well regulated militia is no longer necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms should be limited to what is necessary for hunting. No handguns, no automatic or semiautomatic weapons.
I am sure there are people on this list that would love to debate that issue. Once again this year they are talking about canceling the fireworks, so this could provide an alternative display of patriotic pyrotechnics.
From: Jon Gorder Date: 11:23pm, Jan 01, 2014
I like the idea of soap box forums for the fourth. Bring yer own and harangue for five minutes then ya gotta give it up to a usurper. That would be so Powderhorn. I love it.
On the same note with pun intended, let's see if we can't once again give employment to the Minnesota Orchestra. The Minneapolis Symphony or at least a large crew of same would play a show before the fireworks back in the day. All in white suits and playing Sousa to wake the dead, finishing off with the 1812 overture for which they actually brought a cannon. At the last cannon burst, the fireworks would start. That was fun. My neighbor Danny used to run the fireworks. Since his death everything has been a little loose. Anyone want to step up?
Harteau hires emissary to the minority community
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Jan 06, 2014 4:58 pm
Yesterday it was reported in the paper that police chief Janee Harteau has hired a former aide to Mayor Rybak, Sherman Patterson, to fill a newly created position called the “complex position” whose function is to “build connections between police and minority communities”. Presumably better relations with African Americans in Minneapolis will ensue.
I am in favor of the Minneapolis police having better relations with African Americans - and also with European Americans, Asian Americans, and everyone else in the city. However, I don’'t consider it helpful to continue the old paradigm that the problem police face is opposition from African Americans or that it is racist officers. The main problem is, was, and predictably will always be attitudes, policies, and procedures that lead to excessive or wrongful use of force, especially lethal force, by police against civilians. Terrance Franklin happened to be an African American but the same principles apply no matter what the person’'s race is. The police need to restrain themselves when lethal force is involved.
To date, chief Harteau has admitted no police wrongdoing in regard to Franklin’'s and Romero’'s deaths. To my knowledge, she has initiated no changes in the way the police handle such situations. Instead, she has begun a crusade against racism within the ranks, making her the good guy (gal) fighting evil. This is the winning ticket for her. Raise the specter of race and racism among the officers. This is the way the DFL does its politics; and, in a one-party town, the power brokers will, of course, approve.
I would prefer that the police follow the law while also employing mercy and common sense and that they try to treat everyone the same. Chief Harteau has, instead, chosen to play racial politics. All I can say is that the good citizens of Minneapolis are being short changed.
Terrance Franklin back in the news
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Mar 06, 2014 8:11 am
The Minneapolis Police Department held a press conference yesterday to announce that a gun had been found near the place where Terrance Franklin was shot and killed that was inside a sock containing Franklin's DNA. This DNA was not on the gun itself.
What was the purpose of this revelation? The fact that a sock and gun were found near the place of Franklin's killing had nothing to do with the incident itself. All agree that Franklin was unarmed when he was cornered in the basement. Therefore, possession of a gun could not have been a factor in the police shooting. Clearly, the motive behind the press conference was to establish that Franklin was a dangerous person. Some would then draw the conclusion that it was a good thing that the police shot and killed him.
One may recall that police chief Harteau pointed out initially that Franklin had a lengthy arrest record. Again, the effect of this revelation is to minimize public criticism of Franklin's killing. It's part of the moralistic "good guy versus bad guy" mentality that seems to permeate police departments, with the chief being one of the main exhibitors of this attitude.
If Franklin was a "bad guy", I would be in favor of appropriate punishment if he was caught doing a crime and convicted in court. Being killed is not appropriate punishment, however. It serves no useful purpose to suggest otherwise.
I still think that chief Harteau lacks the objectivity and restraint that it takes to be an effective big-city police chief. She is too much into demonization combined with racial and gender game-playing.
From: Jim Graham Date: Mar 06, 2014 9:17 am
Sorry Bill, but what the hell does "Race and Gender" have to do with this "game"? I believe the game in question was "cops and robbers"; and then some rather stupid (by both parties) fighting over a machine gun. Usually, gender does not get involved in that "fighting over a machine gun game" though occasionally race does in the "cops and robbers" if one looks at crime statistics.
Was Bill implying that Chief Harteau, because she is a White lesbian, advocates the killing of Black males? That certainly is the only conclusion I came to while reading the post. If so Bill, just come right out and say so, don't beat around the bush.
I am sure such a statement will open a whole new level of dialogue. Such concerns, I am also sure, will create a good deal of communication on the "game" in Minneapolis subject. Perhaps the Chief is the "Girl On Fire" in the Minneapolis "game". :-) Sorry folks, I just could not resist.
From: Ed Felien Date: 9:54am, Mar 06 Share:
I agree with Bill.
The discovery of a gun in a sock that probably belonged to Terrance Franklin at a location different from the one in which he was found and executed does nothing to justify the actions of the MPD. It explains why Franklin fled, but the fact that he did not want to use the weapon to defend himself against pursuit by the MPD further exonerates him and further condemns the police for their actions.
[and Chief Harteau is Native American]
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Mar 06, 2014 10:03 am
Gender and race have a lot to do with the way that this issue was handled, Jim, if you remember the history of this issue.
Back in August of last year, chief Harteau was getting criticism about her handling of the Franklin case. Abruptly, she shifted the conversation to gender and racial slurs by off-duty police officers in Apple Valley and Green Bay, Wisconsin. She also convened her own discussion group to find ways to reduce racism in the MPD. (I would be interested to know whether this group is still meeting or it was a one-time event staged for publicity purposes.)
I have private information that this was a deliberate strategy, devised by an outside public-relations firm hired by the city, to deflect attention away from the police shootings on May 10th. Play the race and gender card and people will cease to pay attention to police violence. I published an opinion piece about this in the Star Tribune.
No, Jim, I am not suggesting that because chief Harteau is a white lesbian, she favors killing black males; and, therefore, I am not "coming right out and saying this" at your urging. What I am suggesting is that Harteau handled this whole affair in a political way instead of telling the public that the police made a mistake and giving some indication that the department has taken steps to prevent similar situations in the future.
From: Kristina Gronquist Date: Mar 07, 2013 12:09 am
The entire tragedy, from inception, is wrought with lies and dirty political maneuvers, right up to this point with the well timed release of the gun-in-sock story, shortly in advance of the family's Attorney presenting the lawsuit. Do they think we are all asleep at the wheel?
If the gun was not planted, as was the one in the Fong Lee case, then all it shows is that Terrance was afraid of being arrested and choose not to use the gun.
But for that, he was shot multiple times and thus the police acted as Judge, Jury and Executioner. We are supposed to be a nation of laws, not a nation where our police can outright murder suspects just because they make a bad decision to flee arrest, whether that is a young Black man or a white couple along the side of a freeway in the burbs.
The MPD knows they screwed up, or else they would not go to all this trouble to further beseech the character of Terrance. It's not enough that they killed the child, but now they need to continue to jump and scream on his grave, to make him seem like a sub-human, as if he was not worthy of a second (or third or fourth) chance? At his young age, he was not worthy of redemption?
What kind of society allows a police force to kill at will and then tries to cover their tracks with repeated efforts at destroying the character of the already dead, those who are no longer capable of uttering a word?
The color or race of the police chief means nothing, she is part and parcel of a system that is corrupt. The diversionary tactics in this case may fool the Fox 9 crowd (and if you don't believe a Nazi mentality exists in MN, just read the horrific comments under the articles Fox news has done on Terrance) but those of us who have seen these tragedies unfold again and again in our city, without repercussion, we are not fooled. Sickened, saddened, outraged. Not fooled.
From: Bill Kahn Date: Mar 07, 2014 8:10 am
I wonder what the Minneapolis City Attorney had to say about the matter. Maybe there is a 'memo' on the matter floating around that we can see if we squawk enough.
Franklin's death and all of the injuries because of the botched attempt to apprehend this burglary suspect are going to cost us a great deal, but the fact that some in MPD are incapable of defusing situations before they take such a tragic turn is truly lamentable.
I know that there are those that loved and cared about Terrence Franklin, but I am not one of them; I have sympathy for them all, but I am just not that sad that a violent human being met a violent end. I know that and feel that I should be sad at the losses, but if all of the dangerous folks in the world were suddenly to drop dead or disappear, I would be almost happy about it.
The trouble is, when through the MPD, we bring about the violent deaths of these violent scofflaws, we all become one of those violent folks. When this happens again and again and again, our lives become greatly devalued and I think it shows in every thing we do.
The City should offer a fair settlement to the Franklin family and if they do not take it, then fight to give them less or nothing at all, because this family raised a criminal. There may be mitigating circumstances that prevented Terrence from growing up and living a better life, but most of us do not suffer from his loss.
The area was secure, MPD had the time to get this man out of the basement with no one getting hurt (except perhaps that poor brave dog who likely should have been called off sooner) and that is why the City should settle.
There is no reason for us to settle with the MPD that we have now. They can be much, much better.
We can have a better City Attorney as well, and that is a much simpler matter (Just say, "No," Council.).
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Mar 07, 2014 9:02 am
Regarding Terrance Franklin's criminal background, you can go to pa.courts.state.mn.us, civil, name, and type in Terrance Franklin.There is, indeed, a long list of offenses. However, I notice that two different individuals are involved, judging from birth dates. Most of the offenses are rather petty - driving without a seat belt, proof of insurance. The most serious offense seems to be 2nd degree assault. Franklin first pled not guilty; then accepted a plea bargain. He seems to have spent time in the work house. Conclusion: If Franklin was a criminal, he was a petty one. There were no serious acts of violence. His life of law breaking might have been turned around.
However, all this is irrelevant. The overriding question is whether we, the public, can trust our own police department with using its weaponry prudently and with restraint. Clearly Franklin's killing indicates otherwise. Worse yet, we have a police chief who talks tough about the police department's right to operate in its own way, who withholds essential information about the case, and who plays politics to the hilt. We deserve better than this.
It's extremely important that the police and security functions of government be under the firm control of civilian authority. In this case, mayor and city council seem unwilling to act. Even though the case seems to have blown over, the police cannot resist the temptation to disparage Terrance Franklin one more time continuing the relentless public-relations game they have been playing. To my knowledge, there has been no admission of wrong doing or even mistakes by the police or any sign that steps have been taken to do things differently in the future.
All I can say is that, if the citizens of Minneapolis accept this without complaint, we will deserve whatever kind of police department we get.
From: Jim Graham Date: Mar 07, 2013 10:51 am
Now I do agree with what Bill writes here. Though I stand by my post about the race and gender of the Chief having nothing whatsoever to do with this situation.
We do need a more professional Minneapolis police force, and we do need to have officers truly feeling they personally are part of the community they serve. That professionalism should also include better weapon training. Why anyone in ballistic armor (bullet proof vest), with a machine gun would end up with that particular gun it in a basement, and then wrestling with a "SUSPECT" with that type of gun is a major part of the questioning that needs to be done. We are not talking about an "Entry Team" taking down a heavily armed terrorist.
After the gunfire and "officers down" it simply was inevitable that the "suspect" would be shot several times by other officers present. I do understand that!!! But with the limited knowledge I have of the situation my opinion (for what it is worth) is that a major contributor to the situation was that officer with his automatic weapon, and poor professional training. Much might not have happened if that officer had carried a riot gun or "supported" rather than getting in the fray. Pump shotguns are a bit difficult to fire more than once during a wrestling match, and racking an 870 pump actually has a far, far greater psychological impact on a criminal than any light sub-machine gun. Criminals joke that "if you ever want to hear what the gates of heaven sound like when open then listen to a cop racking a pump shotgun".
So Bill is correct in demanding greater professionalism from our police force and their first loyalty and care being to and for the public of Minneapolis.
From: Papa John Kolstad Date: Mar 07, 2013 1:28 pm
Thanks for this very well written piece. The law does not allow the police to be Judge Jury and executioner, Our Elected officials do by not enforcing the law when it comes to criminal conduct by the police.
So far I see nothing from the "New" Council to enforce the law fairly and equally or to hold itself to following its own laws and procedures.
I fear this City has fallen into hopeless corruption, Where Pro Sports Princes rob our treasury and major Developers steal the rest. All done downtown in the Citadel where citizens are not allowed except to occasionally complain at a hearing only to be totally ignored. Meanwhile the big money interests get their grievances and pleas heard in a quiet "private" hearing, maybe with a little hint of a campaign contribution in the next election.
There has probably always been some corruption in Minneapolis, but it is at a level unprecedented in my 40 plus years in the City.
John Kolstad Seward
aka Papa John Kolstad
(Note: Papa John Kolstad, a musician endorsed by both the Republican and Independence Parties, was the second-place finisher in the 2009 mayoral election in Minneapolis behind incumbent Mayor Rybak.)
From: Jim Mork Date: Mar 07, 2013 5:11 pm
Two main problems I see: Overreaction of MPD with lethal force. And a tendency of the politicians downtown to circle the wagons to avoid conflict with the Federation. To me, the Federation has been a thorn in the side of peaceable citizens for decades. The guys in uniform that it has stepped up to defend made the city LESS safe. When "public safety" operates to the DETRIMENT of the safety of the public, the time for thorough reform is present. Question is: who can be elected to fight that fight? Anyone picked out a single individual in Minneapolis government with the backbone to fight that fight? Even just ONE? Because I don't like to fork out taxes just to make people like me less safe.
From: Ed Felien Date: Mar 07, 2013 6:38 pm
I think Jim is right in his assessment of the problems with the MPD: overreaction and circling the wagons.
The MPD supposedly works for the City and it becomes natural for City Council Members to defend their staff. So, when they execute some black kid in a basement in a fit of rage (documented in their 200+ page police report) and lie about it, then elected officials are going to try to protect them. As I said in Southside Pride in November of last year:
"Assuming Officer Peterson fired his pistol with his right hand, and from the medical examiners report we learn that Franklin was shot seven times in the right temple, we have to conclude that Peterson came up behind Franklin, grabbed him by his dreadlocks in his left hand and shot him with his right. And, it seems reasonable to conclude, if Franklin was facing Durand he couldnt have fired the two shots at Officers Muro and Meath. Officer Meath claims to have shot Franklin three times while Franklin was sandwiched in between Officers Durand and Peterson. This seems an improbable feat for a man slipping in and out of consciousness to be able to hit so small a target in a dark basement. It seems more likely that Meath shot Franklin while Franklin was lying on the basement floor.
I believe serious questions have been raised about the Police Report and the conduct of officers in the homicide of Terrance Franklin. We, those who feel injustice has been done in this matter, should ask the Public Safety, Civil Rights & Emergency Management Committee of the Minneapolis City Council to hold hearings on this matter to determine whether the officers acted properly. The members of that committee are: Blong Yang (chair); Cam Gordon (vice-chair); Kevin Reich; Barbara Johnson; Abdi Warsame; Linea Palmisano.
If a Council Member from that committee represents your ward, then you should contact your Council Member and ask that there be a public hearing on this matter to establish the facts and assess responsibility.
We want the truth. And we want justice.
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Mar 08, 2013 1:27 pm
I think Ed Felien has presented a reasonable proposal for action; and action is needed more than further discussion.
Fortunately, the chair of the City Council's Public Safety committee is my own newly elected representative in the 5th Ward, Blong Yang. I intend to write a letter to him soon.
I would actually prefer, however, that the City Council do an extensive evaluation of the MPD policies and procedures before having a meeting to decide what to do in the Franklin case. Somehow, I hope that former police chief Tony Bouza could be involved in this process.
With the new council and mayor, it should be possible to take a fresh look at the situation in the police department hopefully with an eye to making improvements rather than assessing blame.
From: Gary Farland Date: Mar 08, 2013 2:05 pm
A central question to answer is whether the police actions were due to a lack of training or due to police rage. The police should have been able to arrest an unarmed boy hiding in a basement without incident, just as police should have been able to arrest without killing the couple on the freeway who only (supposedly) had a knife and must have been deranged. Several years ago the City police shot to death nine times a paranoid, elderly woman hiding in her bedroom with a knife thinking she was being attacked by Satan. It would be interesting to hear from the shooters to learn what they were thinking when they were pumping bullets into these people.
From: Ed Felien Date: Mar 08, 2013 2:13 pm
You are fortunate Bill in having Blong Yang as your representative on the City Council. As you probably know he was one of only two Council Members (the other being Cam Gordon) who, under tremendous pressure, voted against reappointing Susan Segal as City Attorney. He is an attorney and was an investigator for the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. As chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights & Emergency Management Committee he is the person who could most legitimately call for an investigation into the facts of the homicide of Terrance Franklin.
New scenario of events that alerted police to Terrance Franklin a year ago
From: Bill McGaughey Date: May 09, 2014 2:57 pm
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of Terrance Franklin’s death. He was the young man shot to death in a south Minneapolis basement on May 10, 2013, after fleeing from police. I understand that Franklin’s parents will be filing a wrongful death lawsuit today against the city of Minneapolis.
The reason for this posting, however, is to pass along information which I recently received from a tenant about the events which led to Terrance Franklin’s death. My informant is a young woman who said she is a friend of the woman who was in the car with Franklin when it was stopped by police.
The official version is that Franklin visited an apartment building in south Minneapolis. His appearance was recorded on a security camera. A maintenance manager who watched the recording recognized Franklin as someone who might have burglarized the apartment and called the police. The police then stopped Franklin and his girl friend in a car. Franklin exited the car and ran to a house where he was later shot and killed.
The new version of events told to me by the tenant is as follows: Terrance Franklin was dealing drugs. On the day he was killed, he drove to the home of someone who owed him money. This person is identified only as a white man. Not having money for Franklin, this man instead gave him a gun. Franklin and his girl friend drove off in Franklin’s car. The white man then called police to report that there was a man with a gun in a car; he gave the license plate number. The police stopped the car and Franklin ran away. According to my informant, he ran back to the house of the “white man”. Before reaching the house, Franklin tossed the gun somewhere.
This is, of course, an unsubstantiated report. Its veracity depends both upon whether my informant was telling the truth and whether the source of her information was in a position to know these alleged facts and whether she was, in turn, telling the truth. On the other hand, the Minneapolis police would be in a position to know whether someone called them on May 10th to report the gun. They would also know who that person was. The police have already reported that a gun with Franklin’s DNA was found not far from the house where he was killed.
This revised story has little or no bearing on the critical events that caused Franklin’s death: what happened in the basement. However, it does have a bearing upon whether the police have given a truthful version of events to the
public and perhaps also the grand jury. The new story, while unsubstantiated, should be of interest to city officials.
(There were no further postings on this thread.)
Part 10 An appeal to Blong Yang, chair of the Public Safety committee
On March 8th, Bill McGaughey wrote the following letter to his ward representative on the Minneapolis city council, copying Council President Barbara Johnson and Ed Felien:
Dear Mr. Yang:
I wish to follow up on a suggestion by Ed Felien, publisher of Southside Pride, that citizens concerned with the way the Minneapolis Police Department handled the cases of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero write you and your colleagues on the Public Safety Committee to request that the Council hold a hearing on the Franklin matter. See Felien’'s posting on the Minneapolis e-democracy forum.
I have lived in the 5th ward of Minneapolis for more than 20 years. I met you a year ago at an Independence Party meeting in St. Paul that was concerned with transportation policy.
I would request that your committee do a thorough study of policies and procedures relating to the police department with special attention given the case of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero. Although the police chief mishandled the case in my opinion, it is more productive to identify changes in policies and procedures that might prevent such situations in the future than to assess blame for past mistakes.
Before making recommendations, I want to point out some of the specific problems that I and my family members have had recently with the Minneapolis police department.
1. My former wife’'s son, Anthony Foresta, is currently sitting in the county jail on charges in connection with a murder that took place a year ago near Cedar Avenue in south Minneapolis. As a teenager in 1995, he was convicted of second-degree murder without intent to kill. He served 14 years in prison for that offense. Since then, he seems to be treated by metro police departments as a certifiable “bad guy”. The Minneapolis police twice broke into his apartment looking for a gun but found none because he did not have a gun. He was arrested on the basis of testimony by his girl friend, with whom he was in the process of breaking up, who told a police officer he was connected to the murder. The officer had asked her repeatedly the same question and she finally gave the officer the answer he wanted. She has since recanted her testimony. There is also another woman - friend of his ex-girl - who has told police he was connected to the murder. This woman’'s boy friend is also being charged. Tony was arrested last summer. The trial was set for December. However, the county attorney keeps postponing the date of trial, perhaps in hopes that he will say something to his cell mates. Part of the blame goes to the County Attorney’'s office, but the MPD seems to have set up this bogus case.
2. Tony Foresta’'s mother and my former wife, who lives in my fourplex, was robbed at gun point by a masked man on the front steps of my home last summer. The robber stuck the gun in the stomach of her 20-year-old daughter, demanding that she give him her cell phone. She did. Fortunately, the phone had a tracking device to show its location. My wife called the police to report where the thief was. The police promised to investigate but never did anything to the best of my knowledge. They might have caught the thief on site.
3. I was twice arrested for domestic abuse - once in February 2011 and once in January 2012 - upon complaint of my then wife, who filed for divorce. One of the accusations was trumped up; the other, totally fabricated. In the first case, the officer put me in handcuffs without asking questions as soon as he entered our living quarters. He completed a police report filled with fabrications - for instance, claiming that I struck my wife four times in the face while holding her two wrists with my other hand. My wife later told the city prosecutor that this was untrue. In the second instance, I dialed 911 to report violence but did not press charges. The police later arrested me upon my wife’'s complaint at the police station; she was accompanied by her divorce attorney. You can read a complete narrative of my two arrests and jailings on the internet at http://www.billmcgaughey.com/domesticabuse.html.
4. My former wife’'s brother told me just now that a friend of his knew someone who was followed by a Minneapolis squad car to St. Paul where the police fired five bullets into the car, killing this man. [Note: This was Victor Gaddy.]
5. There are also lots of petty incidents such as squad cars pulling over people for no apparent reason and forcing them to stand for lengthy periods while they searched the car. My former wife’'s drivers license has been suspended for months because she pled guilty to not wearing a seat belt when an officer pulled her over.
In addition, there are the cases of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero.
I think that a thorough investigation of the Minneapolis police department is warranted at this time. Let me give you my idea of how such an investigation might be conducted.
1. Part of the problem may have to do with attitudes of both the police and the community they serve. The largely white police force has been accused of racist antagonisms toward the black community. An Minneapolis officer told a Green Bay officer that he had a lesbian police chief who was out to fire people. I think it is important to query attitudes in both the police force and the community (especially north Minneapolis) with respect to gender and race and also the way the police department goes about its business. I would propose that all officers be asked to take a confidential survey in which they could air whatever gripes they might have. Also, a comparable number of Minneapolis citizens should be asked to take a survey about experiences they have had with the police, especially problems. No police agency should administer this survey. Conducted by an outside group, it should be strictly confidential and be designed to gather facts.
2. After receiving the survey report, the city council should appoint a citizens panel, containing both supporters and critics of the police force, to review the Franklin and Romero cases, as well as other allegations of police mistakes or misconduct, and make recommendations to the Public Safety committee. I would recommend that such a committee be headed by former police chief, Tony Bouza. The purpose would be not to blame or condemn but recommend policies and procedures to improve the department. I would also hope that such a committee might explore ways to be more transparent about police misconduct in light of possible lawsuits. Perhaps we need legislation excluding certain statements as evidence in a court of law.
With a newly elected city government coming in, this would be a good time to undertake such a study. I hope you will agree and recommend this to your colleagues.
On March 12th, Ed Felien emailed William McGaughey to communicate this information: “Blong Yang called me this morning, and we talked. He thinks the Terrance Franklin thing is water under the bridge. He doesn't see much value in dredging it up again. I told him there are obvious inconsistencies and outright lies in the police report, but he was still reluctant to bring it up. I sincerely appreciated the call, even if it was to try to back off.”
On the following day, McGaughey sent the following message to Yang’'s office:
Dear Mr. Yang,
I wrote you a letter several days ago proposing that the City Council do a thorough review of police policies and practices. The Terrance Franklin incident is one of many reasons for doing so. Ed Felien had suggested something along the same lines.
Felien tells me that you called him to discuss the matter. Your view was that the Franklin incident was now water over the dam and there was no point to dredging up this case again at this time.
I would agree with you to a certain extent. Franklin and Romero are both dead. The Hennepin County grand jury refused to recommend that the officers involved be prosecuted.
However, police policies and practices also had something with the deaths of these two men. To my knowledge, police chief Harteau has refused to do an analysis of what went wrong and make recommendations for change to prevent such things in the future. There as been no admission of police wrongdoing whatsoever, at least as communicated with the public.
This is unacceptable. So long as the police refuse to learn from their mistakes, the Terrance Franklin incident will remain relevant.
I am a constituent in the 5th ward. I would like to come down personally to City Hall, perhaps bringing some other people with me, to discuss some issues relating to the Minneapolis police. Please let me know if you will meet with us. Ed Felien will not be there since he is going out of town.
Then, a day later, Council member Yang’'s assistant, Yer Yang, called to set up an appointment for an hour-long meeting with the Council member on the afternoon of Monday, March 31, 2014. I informed her that I would be accompanied by other interested persons.
Appendix An Editorial by Bill McGaughey, Compiler of these Messages
“Sticks and stones,
will break my bones,
but names will never hurt me.”
- a child’'s adage that has continued to guide some of us into old age.
Having participated in the discussion about Terrance Franklin’'s shooting and in related marches for the better part of a year and had other experiences with the Minneapolis police, I want to make some comments about how the problems might be corrected.
First, I believe that the current paradigm favored by chief Harteau, the Star Tribune editorial board, and the city’'s DFL political establishment is faulty. The reasoning runs like this: Within the ranks of the Minneapolis police department are a number of white officers who hate black people for little or no reason - i.e. they are “racist” cops - and who take out their hateful attitudes on the black community by overly aggressive and even violent policing. The solution is for the police chief to tell these officers in no uncertain terms that such behavior will not be tolerated. Better still, it is to screen out job applicants with racist attitudes when they apply for police positions. It is to set up diversity training programs to sensitize white officers to the concerns of the minority community and eliminate bad policing behavior.
I have several problems with this approach. First, it confuses attitudes with action. The police are legitimately criticized when their conduct while on duty crosses a certain line of fairness, civility, and legality. When police physically assault civilians, kill them unnecessarily (not in self-defense), harass them, manufacture false charges against them, etc., such action violates the trust that the public places in the police and cannot be tolerated. On the other hand, an officer’'s attitudes and thoughts are essentially his (her) own. The state has no right to intrude on the personal thoughts of anyone, including employees, so long as these thoughts do not interfere with proper performance of one’'s duties.
Control of personal thought and speech violates an American’'s right to free speech under the Bill of Rights, however much persons in power try to deny this. Governments often do illegal things and the courts refuse to stop them. Educated persons, especially in herds, sometimes exhibit twisted ways of thinking. Ill-considered laws are sometimes passed. Thought control is for totalitarian systems of government, not for ours.
There is a particular problem when identity politics - racial, gender, or otherwise - drives programs to change personal attitudes. In this case, Janee Harteau, the police chief, is a lesbian female directing a largely straight white-male police force. One of the officers fired in the Green Bay incident was quoted in the newspaper as saying to an officer in Green Bay: “we have a lesbian [expletive] chief that’'s looking to fire people for any reason.” Apart from the expletive deleted, I would contend that it was the officer’'s right to make that statement if he honestly believed it was true. But because the remark itself is considered a punishable offense in our culture, it shows how far we have come toward political control of speech. This I find to be a particular threat to a free society.
Race- or gender-based thought control (or reshaping of personal identity) is not a legitimate function of government. I would have no problem with chief Harteau being a lesbian if she did not make influencing racial and gender identity the centerpiece of her proposal to reform the largely white-male police force. As a white man living in "progressive" Minnesota, I know what this means. This woman is not only heading the largely male police but lording over it. One of the participants in the e-democracy forum, who said she knew Harteau, put it this way: "I am amused by the negative comments from the folks here who don't know anything about our Chief. I do think that any MPD thumpers and bigots would be happy to see her gone and may be on borrowed time. Imagine how it must be for them? A woman, a Native American and a lesbian as their boss? As an aging feminist I can only say: I love it! Seems like poetic justice." (December 6, 2013) Let's just say that this approach to "reform" would likely create a hostile work environment for the white officers.
It is sometimes said that blacks, whatever their attitudes toward whites, cannot be racist because racism is a hateful attitude plus the power to enforce it. In this case, however, chief Harteau has power over the white-male officers. She has the power not only because of her position within the police bureaucracy but because gays and lesbians hold great influence and power not only in city government but also in opinion-setting institutions such as media, education, and religion. Where gender or sexual preference become an issue, the white males in the police ranks stand little chance of being heard. They will be branded as “bigots” and this will be the end of it.
Therefore, I would argue that the lower-ranking white-male officers need protection against chief Harteau if she intends to push the identity issue. She has said she will not tolerate cops with racist attitudes and will back this up by firing them (or not hiring them). In my view, this approach is itself intolerant and unacceptable in a police chief. It is scary when an authoritative body such as the Star Tribune editorial board supports this point of view.
As a white male living in Minneapolis, I have myself been threatened by gender politics in the police department and the courts. I was twice arrested and briefly jailed for domestic abuse. (Read about this at http://www.billmcgaughey.com/domesticabuse.html.) As part of his sales pitch, the attorney I hired to represent me in the first instance made the statement that lesbian feminists control Minneapolis city hall, that they have little sympathy for a person like me, and I had better hire someone (him) who knows how to play the game. Otherwise, “nothing matters” - not the law, not a sense of fairness, only what a particular prosecutor or judge feels like doing on a particular day.
Even though I recognized that the man’'s statement was part of his sales pitch, it also had the ring of truth both from personal experience and the fact that gays and lesbians are disproportionately represented in Minneapolis city government at the higher levels. The Rybak administration was a patron of such promotion policies both in the police and fire departments.
Again, it would not be such a problem if gender identity were left out of the police administration but chief Harteau, cheered on by the city’'s political establishment, intends to make it a cornerstone of her “reform” efforts. The white males under her command definitely need protection from potentially abusive supervision where demographic differences become the basis of moral distinctions. Although I will be widely regarded as a bigot for even raising these questions, I am, at 73, too old to care.
Now let me discuss race relations. Here my “whiteness” shows through. Even though I was a fierce critic of the Minneapolis police in their killing of Terrance Franklin, I also thought it a mistake to highlight the racial aspect. I did not fault the police because they killed a black man but because they killed a human being. Yet, the “Justice for Terrance” movement (which I supported) painted the issue mainly in terms of racist white cops killing a young black man. Their solution was to end racism in the police department and punish the racist cops involved.
Personally, I have no doubt that some white police officers do harbor bad attitudes toward black people. But let’'s be fair: The crime rate among blacks for certain types of crime is significantly higher than for whites and other groups. It stands to reason that some people would find a general pattern in what they see. Therefore, it is not pure malice and hate that drives white people’'s attitudes about race but perceptions grounded in experience. That said, not all blacks should be judged by the actions of some. As fair-minded people, we need to exercise mental discipline in judging individuals rather than groups and reaching conclusions based narrowly upon fact. It is especially important that police officers do that.
I think that the cult of black victimhood - that historical legacy going back to the days of slavery and “Jim Crow” conditions in the south - has harmed the black community and others as well. Anyone who regards himself as a victim will tend to excuse his own behavior. If the “race” button can be pushed with impunity to avoid criticism or punishment, a person will be conditioned to continue with bad behavior. That, in my opinion, may be part of the problem with the high crime rate among blacks. White liberals are their enablers.
I remember back in the 1960s I briefly held a job doing opinion surveys. One of those surveyed was a white St. Paul police officer. I remember him complaining bitterly about Civil Rights politics. He and his fellow officers would put their lives on the line protecting the public against crime, but their work was being undone by prominent blacks who had an in with the politicians. He deeply resented being undercut by the politics of race.
St. Paul was and remains a city under firm DFL control. DFLers have been heavily involved with racial politics since Hubert Humphrey made his speech favoring Civil Rights at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Black voters have, in turn, leaned heavily toward the DFL ticket. At the same time, I think that white voters recognize the just complaints of police such as the St. Paul officer who believe the politics are stacked against them.
Therefore, a strange dichotomy of attitudes emerges. DFL voters pay lip service to issues of racial injustice to win black votes while they tolerate, even welcome, police activities targeted toward blacks. Tough-on-crime prosecutors such as Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman (son of a DFL governor) and his predecessor Amy Klobuchar (a current U.S. Senator) are an important part of juggling act that the DFL uses to win votes both from black and white constituencies. Its essence is: While aggressively enforcing politically correct speech, throw black criminals in prison with little regret. Give the police free rein. This appeases white voters with latent “racist” tendencies.
Under those circumstances, I think the “Justice for Terrance” movement would have been better advised to downplay the “racist cop” angle and appeal to the public on the basis of simple wrongdoing by police. Regardless of his race, it appeared that Terrance Franklin’'s life might have been spared had the police done things differently. With that approach, the largely white public would begin to analyze the situation objectively and see where the police crossed the line. With the anti-racist appeal, on the other hand, the white public would be drawn back to its own idea of black criminality and think the police might have been justified.
On the other hand, our political culture will accept the anti-racist critique where it will not accept criticism of the police. The leaders of the Justice for Terrance movement were therefore pushing buttons that they thought would work. Some, aspiring to be the next Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, may also have been picking a strategy that could put themselves in the national limelight as what happened to persons involved in the Trayvon Martin case. Protests are possible where racial differences are involved but more general protests against police violence lack a constituency.
Let me say, in conclusion to this discussion, that I do think race is a factor in how criminal suspects are treated in Minnesota. There has been too little scrutiny of how the Minneapolis police go about their business. I say this because I have seen what has happened to my former wife (and current significant other) and her family. They are African Americans; I have seen close up how the police have treated them. I myself have been treated badly by police, though not as badly as her son who has been sitting in jail for eight months for a crime that I am convinced he did not do. Therefore, the remaining part of this discussion will not be about identity politics but about the conduct and possible reform of the Minneapolis police.
Just as the black community has succumbed to a self-image of victimhood, so have the police. Police agencies have developed their own victim-centered cults by such things as ceremonies and monuments to officers killed in the line of duty. Clearly such memorials are appropriate and needed for grieving families and friends of the officers but there is a danger in making them the centerpiece of the police culture. For one thing, killings of police officers in the line of duty call attention to the killers; and who are they? Civilians, of course. It is a short jump from this to seeing the civilian population that the police nominally serve as the enemy. An us-vs-them mentality between the police and the general population emerges that undermines the cooperation needed to keep the community safe and secure.
Once again, the idea of self-victimhood may lead to bad behavior by individuals who thereby excuse themselves for whatever they do wrongfully or in excess. Some may seek payback for past injustices, believing two wrongs make a right. This, if anything, is the attitude which police departments ought to try to eliminate. Get away from the military model of policing and think of it as a sometimes unpleasant but always necessary function in serving and protecting the public. Police see individuals at their worst. They deal with the most difficult situations, some of which can only be resolved by force. Give the officers flexibility to be firm or forgiving as their human instincts and experience recommend. Don’'t load them up with political junk.
In regard to the “military model of policing”, police agencies are awash in cash and advanced weaponry funded or supplied by the federal government. The idea of “bad guys” and “enemies” lurking everywhere spills over from the numerous foreign wars that Americans have been asked to fight in recent years. The purveyors of force assert their superior claim to set public policy in such areas as marijuana legalization. This is not healthy for a free society.
I would hope that the civilian authority would maintain strict control over the police and a balanced view of public safety would be developed. “Zero tolerance” of anything is generally a mistake. Society doesn’'t have to be completely safe. Instead, our elected officials have a duty to maintain a free society to the greatest extent possible and use force judiciously. Occasionally, they need to overrule the police authority. We need democratically elected leaders with the courage to stand up to self-righteous government force and its sycophantic supporters.
My greatest criticism of the police is its use of excessive force or show of force. Five officers, one armed with a submachine gun, cornered Terrance Franklin in a basement. This was too many people for that particular assignment. When the police raided my apartment building at 1708 Glenwood Avenue in July 2013 to search for a nonexistent gun, a dozen squad cars plus an ambulance showed up. Darkly dressed officers with shields and guns barged into the building, kicked in the door, and began searching an apartment unit. They found no gun. Then, a few days later, they repeated the exercise, with the same result. My former wife suggested to an officer sitting in a squad car that she try to get her son to turn himself in. “That’'s not how we do things,” she was told, the officer adding ominously that someone might have to get shot.
Police chief Harteau can high-five children all she wants at a National Night Out party, but raids such as this make enemies. The police need to use appropriate force. If they insist on using excessive force, someone high up in the force needs to be fired. A long-time veteran of the Minneapolis police told me that he used to investigate crimes by himself or with a partner. He carried only his service pistol and sometimes it did not even work. But he seldom had any problems. Good police work requires an officer who uses common sense, is respectful and honest, and does what is reasonably required to complete the assignment. This military-style overwhelming show of force, while emotionally gratifying, is counterproductive.
Now let me say something highly controversial. I believe in gun control. It is putting the officers’' lives at risk to have guns freely floating around a densely populated urban community such as Minneapolis. If the officers had a reasonable monopoly of fire arms, they might not fear so much being ambushed by armed criminals. Laws restricting the sale of guns are easily evaded. We need a more comprehensive ban with exceptions granted for hunting and such purposes. I admit, I do not know how to craft legislation along those lines.
The most ardent proponents of the right to bear arms need to be honest with themselves. They do not fear that the right to hunt or use weapons for sport will be taken away. Honestly, their main motivation is to retain weapons to overthrow the government which right-wingers see as oppressive. I would agree with that assessment to a large extent. Our government has grown corrupt. However, the idea of a lightly armed citizenry rising up against the government in some glorious revolution is quite unrealistic. This band of armed “patriots” would stand little chance against the massive security apparatus assembled by the government. Millions of people would die in such a rebellion if it were successful. This is not the 18th century.
Our democratic form of government, tattered as it is, still allows citizens to take over the government if they manage to win enough votes. But to win votes, you need to convince others to accept your point of view. The gun-rights people tend to think in terms of forcing a favorable outcome. (Guns represent force.) They need instead to undertake the difficult and uncertain task of finding ways to persuade other people to their point of view so they can win elections. With respect to the Second Amendment, I would actually be in favor of repealing it if our society becomes too saturated with guns and too dangerous. If gun possession is restricted, however, people should then have a right to expect the police to keep them safe from criminals rather than have to take matters into their own hands.
All this is idle dreaming, however. The question is what lessons have been learned from the deaths of Terrance Franklin and Ivan Romero? How can the Minneapolis police department avoid such mistakes and improve its performance? Let me offer some arm-chair recommendations made, of course, in hindsight.
First, there was no reason to dispatch a squad car to the scene of Franklin’'s shooting a half hour after his death. Police policies ought to be changed to prevent this from happening again. Unless immediately needed, the squad cars might travel at a normal rate of speed.
Second, squad cars should never cross an intersection against the red light unless they stop at the intersection and look both ways to see if anyone is coming.
Third, if a criminal suspect is trapped inside a building, police should first try to talk him into surrendering and then use taser guns or other non-lethal force to subdue the suspect. Preferably, they should have sufficient light to see what they are doing.
Fourth, an officer should never carry a loaded submachine gun into a close-quarters encounter with a criminal suspect. Such weapons should be held in reserve unless immediately needed.
Fifth, there should be a reasonable number of officers responding to each type of situation.
Sixth, it would be helpful for some officers to wear camera equipment when expecting dangerous confrontations.
Seventh, police investigators should interview witnesses to deaths as soon after the event as possible.
Not being an expert in police matters, I offer the above as suggestions that may or may not be helpful. However, police reform should aim at improving policies and procedures such as these rather than instituting diversity-training programs.
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