In very early June of 2011, a community resident by the name of Johnny Turnipseed raised a very serious and profound question at a press conference being held by the tornado recovery team. His question had to do with the aftermath of the tornado and damage to homes: How were the authorities going to deal with the problems of drugs and prostitution?
Longtime observers of the drug problem in Minneapolis know and understand that there has never been a truly aggressive effort to deal with illegal drugs, nor to confront those who give protection to those promoting drug activity within the Black community.
One example among many is the 923 Club on Washington Avenue in North Minneapolis. For years it was the hub for illegal drug trafficking in the Black community. The club had police protection, which everyone knew and understood. In fact, a number of years later one of the law enforcement officers that gave aid and comfort to drug trafficking became the head of the Minneapolis Police Department’s narcotics unit.
That raises another issue: Of the top 100 police departments in the United States, as of the publishing of this column, only the Minneapolis Police Department no longer has a narcotics unit.
For reasons no one seems to want to explain, Minneapolis disbanded its narcotics unit, even though the flow of illegal drugs into the neighborhoods of Minneapolis is as acute and intense now as at any time in modern history. And so when citizen Johnny Turnipseed raised the question of drugs and prostitution and was then verbally attacked for doing so, I knew why.
I knew that those who said, “Consider the source” were being too accepting of the tragic reality that drug trafficking in our community is protected by community leaders, Black and White, in and outside the police department. Our young people are used and abused by those who manage drug trafficking in Black America, as our young people are used to facilitate drug trafficking.
There is always a lot of discussion about conveying to young people the importance of values and appreciating the importance of doing the right thing. One of the institutions for doing so is Peace Builders, an organization that is expert at implementing school-wide violence prevention programs in America.
For years I have covered in this column the ways the City of Minneapolis controls the future of the safety of the African American community. So, once again I refer you to the document entitled, “The State of City Leadership for Children and Families,” commissioned on behalf of the National League of Cities and their National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families, especially pages 58-62 of this document, which reports on the plan for the Black community of Minneapolis and its youth.
It remains unacceptable that on the occasion of this document’s report on the devastation and violence associated with drugs, the city was disbanding its narcotics unit and placing enforcement into its Violent Offenders Task Force unit (VOTF) that has since been disbanded in disgrace as an outgrowth of its own internal misconduct and corruption. This has left the world of violence and drug trafficking to itself.
And so the question posed here is this: Who really fights the war against drugs in Minneapolis? The more critical accompanying question is this: Is access to drugs being reduced, or are we experiencing what Maxine Waters exposed in California — an increasing dependence on drug racketeering as part of a continuing virus in the destruction of the American Black community?
I encourage those who maintain they want to be enlightened on saving our youth to examine the National League of Cites report of 2009.
And yet, the silence within leadership communities when one talks about drugs continues. Many know that drug trafficking in Black America is extremely beneficial and profitable for a small segment of “leaders” always at the ready to position themselves to make sure that drugs flow freely to their target victims in the African American community.
It does not bode well that Johnny Turnipseed was beaten back and dismissed at the press conference on the grounds that drugs and prostitution were not the subject of the event, when drugs, prostitution and crime have been going on hand in hand with everything, including tornado recovery. Why does the City persist in its denial?
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm; hosts “Black Focus” on Blog Talk radio Sundays at 3 pm; and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 4 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.