Police and community work to hold down tension
The shooting and wounding of African American police officer Jordan Davis, at 5:30 am Saturday, February 21, 2015, had all the possibilities of creating significant tension and conflict. Andrew Neal, also African American, is in custody and charged in the shooting. Here’s the twist: Neal was a paid informant for the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) in the ’90s.
The shooting took place on the 2400 block of Fremont Avenue North. Officer Davis, a nine-year veteran with a family, was wounded. Police swarmed into the area on that dark, cold early morning. Fortunately, all of the bad possibilities of Ferguson, Cleveland, NY, and L.A. that were possible did not take place.
A search began. A suspect was identified as an outgrowth of his forced entry into a home along East 24th. By 1:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, Andrew Neal had been taken into custody along the 1100 block of Logan Avenue North, only one-and-a-half blocks away from the Northside Fourth Precinct in which Officer Davis had been assigned for the past year.
It was interesting and refreshing to observe the very professional manner of both investigators and beat officers in their search for their suspect under the Command Leadership of Assistant Chief Matt Clark, along with Lt. Rick Zimmerman (head of the homicide unit), and with Sergeants Adams and Thompson.
It was quite obvious that a very well-coordinated plan of action was in place. Things could have exploded. Mistakes could have been made. Lives could have been lost. These outcomes did not happen because of how these officers coordinated every step of the way, beginning at 5:30 am Saturday when the shot was fired, up to 1:30 pm Saturday along Logan and 11th.
If not for the coordinated effort of these officers and investigators, we could have had serious problems. For example, when the shot was fired that hit officer Davis, there could have been return fire towards the area from which the shot had come. If not for intense intelligence gathering, including the identification of the apartment in which the suspect was holding up, there could have been casualties.
Some have criticized the police department dragnet as too broad. It was clear that the police on the scene understood this, and first intensified their intelligence gathering. The intense command supervision by Assistant Chief Clark, Lt. Zimmerman and the preparation by the entrance teams of at least 30 armed police officers could have had serious repercussions, presenting danger to the citizens within the targeted area.
To be fair and objective in reporting, the person who violated the safety of others by breaking into a home at 5:30 am is Andrew Neal, the one who threatened residents in that home. Now it’s time for healing.
Much discussion over the past year, and longer, centered on the need for an intense effort to bring about better relationships between police and communities of color, especially as the world’s attention has been turned toward Minneapolis as a citadel for Muslim terrorist activities. Everyone’s work has been cut out for them.
The MPD and its crack command team did their jobs. Now it’s time to take advantage of this success and work toward healing the wounds that have strained relationships between our institutions on the one hand and our racial communities on the other hand, especially the African American community.
Our prayers continue to be with Officer Davis and his family. We salute the job well done by Sergeants Adams and Thompson. We continue to pray for the successful resolution of our racial, religious, political, and economic divisions.
For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solutions papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books, go to www.BeaconOnTheHillPress.com.