Ten-year-old Barway Collins went missing in Crystal, MN on March 18. For 12 days since then, as of the writing of this column on March 30, communities have been gripped by allegations and suspicions towards his father Pierre Collins, without presenting a reasonable burden of proof for doing so.
The rush to judgment of Barway’s father is not, so far, supported by facts. First, the protocol for dropping off youngsters and waiting for the driver to observe them entering their home before driving on was not done. The bus video shows that Barway walked away as the driver drove on. Secondly, even though the first 24-48 hours are the most crucial, the police department ignored another protocol by not issuing an Amber Alert.
Third, they waited five days before asking assistance from the FBI, the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s department. Fourth, they did not immediately interview the bus driver. The comparisons to responses when the missing child is White are telling.
Pierre Collins has been tenacious in his interaction with the police department regarding finding his son. He has questioned its lackadaisical attitude, especially in not issuing an Amber Alert. This has caused Pierre Collins to be seen as an “enemy of the state” for the audacity of being “uppity” in raising questions about the department’s lack of action. White parents would instead receive empathy for their distress.
The reporting from some in the White media can only be called jaundiced at best, racist at worst. The cloak of protection thrown around the Crystal Police Department is not surprising. So far, White media won’t report on the department’s seeming lack of concern and enthusiasm.
Even as late as day three, the Crystal Police Department held that the child was in “no danger” and was probably at a friend’s home (which they would not say on day three if the missing child was White), as if Barway was a truant and his parents irresponsible. The department has not met its burden of proof responsibility, and instead, with so many pieces missing, is itself acting irresponsibly.
A Black person, whether born in this country or arrived recently to these shores, understands the master and his system become angry when their sincerity and compassion are questioned. It is obvious that Pierre Collins also became an enemy of the state when members of the Liberian Muslim community stepped forward to advocate for their fellow countryman.
The Crystal Police Department became agitated that foreign-born Muslims would criticize their manner of law enforcement. The police department’s response to a peace gathering that Saturday afternoon in Crystal to express and demonstrate concern for the missing 10-year-old child is disturbing, as they were instructed to interrupt it.
Another question: Why is it that as of the writing of this column Minneapolis Black leaders have not spoken up?
The reporting of Iris Perez of KMSP-TV is illustrative of the yellow journalism in support of suggesting the father is an “enemy of the state.” Prior to her interview of the Collins family, Ms. Perez pretended to be a friend and a person who could be trusted and then proved otherwise in her reporting. Her statement to the crowd gathered Saturday that she had been told by police officers that Mr. Collins had taken out a life insurance policy of $30K on the life of his son was false.
After this column is published 10 days from now, we hope that KMSP will be using only evidence to support any allegations. That is the right thing to do.