Eight years is a long time for a federal court to delay a decision (see Minneapolis Star Tribune headline, May 11, 2015: “Eighth circuit tosses out case alleging police corruption”). Why did it take them so long to get it so wrong, using strange claims, such as saying there was no “inhumane abuse of official power?” So what is “humane abuse of power?” Isn’t abuse abuse?
As we have documented for over a decade, there is still unsettled what Keefe calls “a massive case of corruption.” Thus we are stunned that Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal still says that her office is “without any evidence” regarding Keefe’s claims.
In 2007, Lt. Michael Keefe was selected to command the Violent Offenders Task Force (VOTF) funded by federal and state funds. Keefe, a White man, discovered corruption in the VOTF Unit (such as overtime abuse ranging from $50-109 thousand of some officers, a statistically improbable arrest rate of 98 percent African Americans, etc.). Keefe was relieved of his VOTF command, despite high-command and high-performance ratings, and demoted to sergeant.
Evidence: see the Star Tribune stories of February 2, 2008, April 6, 2011, September 2011, and its four-part 2009 series “The Informant,” reporting on police department corruption, particularly part three, May 11, 2009, regarding informant Taylor Trump. Check out the April 22, 2009 front page massive headline, “The Police vs. the Police.” That four-part series raised a lot of questions that still await answers.
Evidence: see our columns of August 29, 2007, November 26, 2008 and May 18, 2011. See also our extensive blog entry of December 14, 2007, about the five Black “Mill City 5” officers, who, with information provided by Michael Keefe, led the city to avoid a trial by offering a settlement of $750,000 for the five, which they accepted. All are still members of the MPD (two sergeants, two lieutenants, and one deputy chief).
Evidence: the FBI reported the egregious resistance from White officers to work with Black officers, using the “N” word and other racially charged and derogatory terms about Black police officers, as well as confirming the significant overtime abuse and the 98 percent African American arrest number.
Evidence: the five Black “Mill City” police officers made similar charges, including evidence supplied by Keefe. Rather than risk a trial, the city offered to settle for $750,000 settlement with those five officers.
Evidence: Michael Keefe has put his job, his health, and his life on the line for justice.
And so we again ask: Why was Keefe’s case tossed out? Lt. Michael Keefe was not a man who was lying or making up issues when talking about racism and corruption in the city of Minneapolis and its police dept. Powerful forces can’t stand anyone fighting or exposing racism and corruption.
Some people say we need to move on, leave old problems behind and move on with the new ones. But aren’t these old ones the new ones of today as well, as we see in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, our own Minneapolis, etc.? Shouldn’t officers like Michael Keefe be encouraged to stay and continue to serve rather than be pushed into retirement?
The May 11, 2015 Star Tribune story gives the impression the claims Keefe brought are new, not eight years ago and still waiting answers. Instead his case is tossed aside in a most cavalier manner. We encourage readers review the four-part series and other statements and documentation referenced. How nervous does it leave you about tomorrow?