Ever since the tragic events of May 2016, when Birdell Beeks, “the grandmother struck and killed by gang crossfire as she drove her teenage granddaughter to an appointment,” the Beeks’ family has carried out a tenacious and passionate quest to bring about justice for their beloved grandmother and mother.
Minneapolis Police Department Chief, Janeé Harteau, Assistant Chief Cris Arneson, the head of the MPD Homicide Unit Lt. Zimmerman, and MPD detectives Sergeants Charles Green and Chris Thomsen, deserve respect and appreciation for a job well done in discovering, apprehending, and arresting Josh Ezeka, the suspect in the shooting.
When the suspect, Ezeka, was identified and taken into custody, the Beeks family was immediately asked to come to police headquarters on late Monday morning, January 23, 2017. For the Beeks family there was a strong sense of appreciation and relief.
Detectives Charles Green and Chris Thomsen, under the supervision of Lt. Zimmerman, had stayed the course. It was not easy. They were faced with community silence, community resistance, and community fear.
But Ms. Beeks’ loved ones, particularly her daughter, Sa’Lesha Beeks, held visitations and knocked on doors throughout the Northside community, asking citizens to come forward to help to bring justice to yet another senseless act of violence that took the life of a grandmother who had worked so hard herself to provide safety within a community.
The Beeks family and the MPD, under Chief Janeé Harteau, showed a commitment and a tenaciousness that too often in America is lacking when justice is being sought by African American communities. Hopefully, the county attorney will now also see fit to finally charge the suspect in the tragic murder of a two-year-old African American baby on the streets of this city in the early summer of 2016. That two-year-old child, Baby Jones, deserves justice along with his baby sister who was wounded.
The community needs to see equal justice provided. The community needs to have conveyed to it that race does not make a difference, as there is to be equal protection under the law for all. It is so important that, as we said earlier, the quest for justice will be achieved regardless of the races involved.
Chief Harteau said on the afternoon of January 23 that it was a combination of a concerned community along with a dedicated police department that brought about the apprehension of the suspect, demonstrating the strong sense of justice and hope that the MPD is bringing to Minneapolis.
Four days before, Chief Harteau was on national TV addressing the importance of police and community working together. It is quite clear that the hand of the almighty was on the shoulders of the Beeks family in their quest for justice.
Already in 2017, as of the writing of this column, January 23, 2017, there have been three homicides and at least seven others shot (228 people shot so far in Chicago, a 5.5 percent rise over last year). We watch carefully to see what and how President Trump would significantly reduce the homicide and “carnage” (his term) in our cities due to crime, drugs, unemployment, and gangs, including Whites.
To work, any solution must include improved access to good education, jobs and housing. Without that, little positive will happen to bring down the crime numbers.
We were saddened to learn of Governor Dayton’s collapse, as he fainted January 23 while delivering his State of the State address in the Minnesota capital’s House chamber. Our prayers go out for Governor Dayton, his family, and our state.