A crime has been committed in Minneapolis and Hennepin County, and those who are charged with running the city, Mayor R.T. Rybak, the Minneapolis City Council the Hennepin County commissioners, the attorney general, the Chamber of Commerce, and the business community are all complicit by their silence. Terrance Franklin is dead. He was shot in the head five times and in the back twice, admittedly by Minneapolis police. Officer Lucas Petterson has supposedly taken credit for shooting Franklin. But Petterson’s and his fellow officers’ stories of what happened don’t make sense and don’t explain why he was shot in the back and in the back of the head. Continue Reading →
Last week there was a lot of surprise and concern in law enforcement circles regarding how this new chapter in Cowboy King’s history could take place: being transferred to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department’s Violent Offender Task Force (VOTF), especially in light of his having taken personal credit for destroying the Black Police Officers Association and destroying the career of fellow officers (see my August 29, 2007 column and December 14, 2007 blog essay). In the transfer, public officials again put fellow officials’ career survival/pensions ahead of their sworn oaths to do their duties in terms of public safety. Sgt. Pat King should minimally be censured, not celebrated. In the court transcript of a couple of months ago (I attended every day of that trial), he slandered a significant number of well-respected officers as “scum of the earth.”
Besides the transcript, see my columns of February 22 and May 30, 2012. Continue Reading →
It is the elephant in the room that people don’t want to talk about: the ongoing street violence affecting so many African Americans in this country due to the dysfunctional institutions, leadership and policies that allow caste-like barriers — bad schools, few jobs, drugs, crime — to remain in place and foster violence. It is alarming. It is frightening. But so long as these dysfunctional institutions, leadership and policies hide behind the lie that they can’t be fixed, they won’t be, even though the fixes are readily in sight: education, jobs, housing. The mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak, recently announced that Chuck Wexler and the Police Executive Research Forum would be brought back to Minneapolis to advise on developing strategies to deal with Minneapolis’ violence, as if the extent of the violence is the issue. Continue Reading →
Is it too expensive for the average citizen?
The Star Tribune story “New names, old pains on Minneapolis police review panel,” February 20, 2012, reported on what we have reported on for a decade: the slow, continued collapse of the Civilian Review Authority (CRA) and, by extension, the collapse of its parent, the Civil Rights Department (CRD). Thus words in the story were not a surprise to us: “ranks depleted…investigative staff overwhelmed…recommendations routinely ignored,” with the CRA “far weaker” in its investigation “of complaints against the police.”
We know that the quality of professional investigation in the CRA leaves a lot to be desired. We understand why the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Tim Dolan thinks the CRA is incompetent. This is one the dark holes that the Rybak administration needs to be concerned about falling into. Continue Reading →
It is clear that Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Chief Tim Dolan has known that many of the recommendations coming from the Civilian Review Authority (CRA) were based on incompetence and dishonesty. So when an incompetent and dishonest recommendation was made to terminate two officers of color, the chief dug in and not only refused to fire the officers, but also reinstated them to duty. The action of reinstatement has revealed a significant and politically charged rift inside the top command of the MPD, along with an equally serious rift between the chief and his boss, Mayor R.T. Rybak. Contributing to the rift was the act of Assistant Chief Janee Harteau and Deputy Chief Scott Gerlicher when they terminated the two officers of color without proper consultation with the chief. Other actions include the leaking of the fact of the rift as reported in a December 19, 2011 article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Continue Reading →