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(en) US, Minneapolis, DAYBREAK #6 - The Police Beat

Date Sat, 04 Jun 2005 06:58:08 +0300


The Police Beat column exists to publicize the crimes of police in
our region. We think that police brutality thrives because it is
invisible to a large majority of people and because the media makes
it look like isolated cases of one ‘bad apple’ when it’s
really a problem with the entire system. We support the creation of
civilian review boards with actual power over police, the firing of
rogue cops, restorative justice programs. community alternatives,
Copwatch, decriminalization of drugs, and of course the abolition
of private property and rich people (you knew it was coming).
We’re hoping to contribute, in our small way, to awareness of
police abuse of power, brutality, foolishness, and corruption. These
are all factual accounts ripped from the corporate media.
Remember, they’re not just jerks. They’re jerks with guns.

Nude Man Attacked By K-9 Cop

A naked man was confronted by a canine cop and his dog at his
home in South Minneapolis. The authorities say that the man
“struck the officer in the head with his fists and lunged at the
officer and the dog." That’s when the dog, fondly referred to as
Zak in corporate media reports, bit the suspect in the groin area. A
K-9 supervisor contradicts the police report by saying that the
suspect, possibly mentally ill, ‘kept moving his arms around
during the ordeal.’ K-9 officers say all police dogs are trained to
react if their partner is attacked. "That was something the dog does
on instinct, the officer didn't give a command." The man suffered a
severed testicle and a lacerated penis.

St. Paul Police Settle Another Excessive Force Case: Admit No
Wrongdoing

On October 24th, the city of St. Paul agreed to settle a lawsuit
about its police officers using excessive force for $270,000, the
largest such settlement in the city's history. Robert Kearney, 47,
sued the city in federal court in June 2003, alleging his leg was
broken as the result of "unreasonable and unconstitutional use of
force."

The city admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, said Frank
Villaume III, the city's supervisor of civil litigation. He said the
settlement was a way for the city to avoid a potentially expensive
jury verdict. "I don't think the officers did anything wrong, and
nobody in the Police Department thinks they did anything wrong,"
Villaume said. The deal was approved by the City Council. An
internal review of the incident cleared the two officers involved.
The lawsuit stemmed from a May 31, 2002 incident at a residence
where Kearney was staying as he tried to get clean of drugs. When
Kearney came home drunk to the rehabilitation center that
afternoon, the manager called the police. Kearney claimed that two
officers pushed him down a flight of stairs and ignored his pleas for
medical attention. The officers disputed Kearney's allegations.
They claimed in depositions that they never saw Kearney fall. They
also have stated they never noticed that Kearney was injured or
heard him ask to be taken to a hospital, Villaume said. Liars.

Report: Disparity In Police Citations In Minneapolis

Blacks were 15 times more likely than whites to be arrested or cited
in Minneapolis for low-level crimes such as not having a valid
driver's license, according to an analysis of 2001 data. However the
report, issued by the Council on Crime and Justice, also found that
such minority cases are less likely to result in a conviction. The
report analyzed nearly 2,000 cases of seven misdemeanor crimes
from 2001. The crime council's president, Tom Johnson, said he
believes the race disparities haven't changed significantly since
then. The study originated after a 2001 meeting by the council, in
which some community members said police used arrests or
citations of low-level crimes against people of color as a fishing
expedition that might lead to charges for more serious crimes.
Black people were acquitted or had the charges dismissed more
often, but whites pleaded guilty or were found guilty at a higher
rate. Community activist Ron Edwards said he didn't need the
council to confirm bias in arrests because "we've been talking
about it as long as I can remember." Deputy Police Chief Tim
Dolan said the study is skewed, because loitering cases are lumped
in with traffic offenses, so the pretext is that black people are
arrested more often for just standing around and somehow
that’s better? The reaction of the police department has not
been to change policies but to develop a new loitering ordinance
that will help officers convict people more evenly.

Austin Police Get "Cheesed"

On December 6th Austin, Minnesota police officer Todd Clennon
had parked his squad car and was walking through Austin's
downtown bar area early Saturday when he saw a group of people
gathered around his car. One man was leaning over the back of the
squad car and moving his hands. As Clennon approached, the
crowd broke up. The officer got into his car and discovered that
nacho cheese dip had been smeared on the back window. The
officer spotted the 21-year-old man in a nearby car and asked him
to get out. When the man came at the officer aggressively, Clennon
produced his Taser and arrested him.

Minneapolis Settles Police Brutality Lawsuit

On March 15, a mother and daughter who said they were seriously
roughed up by a city police officer in 2002 received $355,775 under
a settlement approved by the Minneapolis City Council. The
council's decision Friday ratified a jury award in exchange for the
plaintiffs' relinquishing punitive damages. Under the settlement
with Rayma Wiggins and her daughter Gayna Wiggins, neither
side can appeal. According to the lawsuit, officer Phillip Hogquist
roughed up Gayna Wiggins, 37, and her 75-year-old mother on
Oct. 18, 2002, after the younger woman made a U-turn in front of
her house in south Minneapolis. Hogquist later resigned from the
police department. "It was a clear case of abuse," Council Member
Don Samuels said after the vote.

Police Departments Recruit Volunteer Vigilantes

Law enforcement work traditionally has been closed to public
involvement. That has changed in recent years as departments
have spent more and more money on fancy toys and weapons and
now need to rely on volunteers. Volunteers in Police Service,
national program that helps volunteers connect with law
enforcement agencies, has more than doubled between 2003 and
2004, and several local departments have taken on volunteers.
They do tasks such as working security at public events, crime
prevention programs, participating in citizen patrols, directing
traffic and interpreting. Nationally, the level of involvement has
increased, too, the U.S. Department of Justice said. The number of
volunteers has increased from 27,000 in 2003 to 69,000 in 2004,
the Department of Justice said. About 1,000 volunteer programs
exist nationwide, up from about 600 in 2003. These volunteers are
typically trained less than 100 hours and are unaccountable to
community review boards.

Police Officer Pleads Guilty in Gun Case

A Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty to a felony on Feb. 8,
2005 for loaning his service pistol to a cousin who allegedly used it
in a drive-by shooting. Tou Cha, 36, pleaded guilty in Ramsey
County District Court to one count of aiding and abetting in
terroristic threats and quit the department immediately.
Prosecutors said they would seek a 30-day sentence in the
workhouse for Cha, plus five years probation when he's sentenced
April 27. They dropped additional felony charges of aiding in the
criminal damage of property and abetting a second-degree assault
with a dangerous weapon.

Taser Gun Used on Roseville Student

On March 2, for the first time since all Minnesota cops started
carrying tasers, a police officer stunned a student at Roseville Area
High School. The officer used the Taser on Tuesday to stun and
quiet a 15-year-old girl who a school district spokeswoman said
had become "very aggressive with the officer." The student had
been suspended from school Monday but returned Tuesday and
"refused to leave and became unruly," school district spokeswoman
Sally Latimer said. Roseville police Sgt. Lorne Rosand said use of
the Taser was "appropriate" in the case. Well, what else would they
say? Police said Tasers would rarely be used in schools. The
gun-like weapon fires metal barbs and delivers an electric charge
that temporarily immobilizes a person. Police departments across
the country, including more than 200 in Minnesota, use Tasers.
Amnesty International has claimed that several people have died
after being stunned by Tasers.

God Squad Helps St. Paul Police and Indoctrinates Crime Victims

When a violent crime happens in St. Paul, police send out not only
their officers, but also a group called the God Squad. The squad is a
partnership made up of volunteer evangelicals that attend crime
scenes in St Paul. Endorsed by the current police chief their stated
goal is to provide comfort for people affected by crimes but in
practice their role is to promote religious propaganda among those
most susceptible and recruit them into their theocratic crusades.
The God Squad is hoping to expand into other cities in the metro
area.

Officer Fired Over “Touching” Incident

On March 22, a Minneapolis cop was fired after he was accused of
sexually touching a woman he met after responding to a domestic
call. Justin Saint Jean was accused of kissing and touching the
woman during a call in the 4th Precinct, where he was on patrol,
last fall. Sources said the woman is also a vulnerable adult. Saint
Jean had been on the force since 1998 and was named Officer of
the Year by the 5th Precinct in 2003.

Minneapolis Police Officer Charged With Assault And DWI

On Feb. 4, a Minneapolis police officer was charged with
second-degree felony assault and four misdemeanors for allegedly
pointing a gun at a man's head while off duty. Matthew Dukyoun
Olson, 27, was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of
DWI, reckless handling of a firearm and misconduct of a public
officer, Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar said.
According to a criminal complaint, the victim was driving in
downtown Minneapolis early Dec. 11 when he saw another car
driving toward him in the wrong direction. He stopped his car and
saw the other car, Olson's Monte Carlo, stop and turn around. As
the victim approached Olson's car, Olson emerged with a gun,
which he put to the victim's head. Olson, of Delano, told the man
to get on the ground or he would blow his head off, the complaint
said. Olson told the victim that he was a police officer and asked
the man to stand up. Olson then dropped the gun, and the victim
kicked it away and wrestled with Olson before driving to the City
Hall police station to report the incident. Police found Olson on the
ground behind his car. Tests revealed Olson's blood-alcohol
content to be 0.24 percent more than twice the legal limit.

Two Minneapolis Police Officers Fired

On Feb. 12, it was announced that two Minneapolis police officers
were terminated for allegedly mishandling seized Minnesota
Timberwolves playoff tickets last summer. Heidi Eisenbeis and Bill
Barta, both of the Downtown Precinct, were discharged for taking
Timberwolves playoff tickets from a man selling them on the street
and giving them to another officer, but the tickets were never
turned in to the police property room. The man who originally had
the tickets went inside Target Center and saw people sitting in the
seats. The people, who were not identified, got up and left when
the man asked why they were there. The man whose tickets were
allegedly seized was never cited for scalping because no report was
filed.

Five Minneapolis Police Arrested for Drunk Driving

On Dec. 9, an officer Daly in Minneapolis was arrested for drinking
and driving. The police chief William McManus sent out a memo
to warn officers how to behave at holiday parties this season. He
did that after firing officer Matthew Olson who drove drunk after
partying with other officers at a downtown Minneapolis bar, then
driving the wrong way down the street and pulling a gun on a man.
Still, there were five more cops arrested for DWI between April and
December of 2004. Beside Daly, two veteran officers and two
rookies, James Brickley, David Ulberg, Nathan Olstad, and Lance
Christians, were stopped for the same reason. Police union
President John Delmonco said the DWI incidents with two rookies
raises questions about the psychological screening process for
hiring new officers. Meanwhile, Officer Olson, who was fired for
the first incident at a holiday party, got his job back after an
arbitration hearing.

Minneapolis Cop Rapes and Kidnaps Woman

On Feb. 16, a Minneapolis police officer, 28-year-old David
Hansen, was accused of sexually assaulting a 27-year-old woman.
She was leaving Lifetime Fitness Center on Ford Parkway in St.
Paul when a man she recognized from the gym asked for a ride to
his nearby car. The woman agreed and that’s when Hansen
got into her car, told her he had a gun and demanded she drive to
her home. Hansen raped the woman at her house. He’ll likely
be charged with kidnapping and rape.

St Paul Cop Fired for Exploiting Drunk Woman

A rookie St. Paul police officer was fired on April 16 for improper
conduct during a call. The officer had engaged in inappropriate
sexual conduct with an intoxicated woman he was taking home
while on duty. The fact that she was drunk and he wasn’t
brings up the question of whether it was consensual. No charges
are being pressed.

Police Relations Council Says It's Being Sidelined

As the Minneapolis Police Department starts implementing its
strategies for the rest of the year, the council that was formed to
build a better relationship with police is alleging that its members
are being frozen out of the process. The Police Community
Relations Council announced on April 15 that the department is in
violation of the federal agreement that requires that the council be
involved in such issues. Council members will ask the federal
mediator who helped craft the agreement to return to Minneapolis,
and they will ask the federal government to take charge of
overseeing the agreement. In particular, Council Member Ron
Edwards believes that some high-ranking police officers and City
Council members have tried to undermine the Relations Council
and that employees of the Police Department fail to attend
meetings with council.

Anatomy of a Character Assassination

Citizens United Against Police Brutality

Benjamin DeCoteau, 21, was killed by Minneapolis police officer
Mark Beaupre this past Saturday, January 22, 2005. Circumstances
surrounding the shooting are disputed, with some witnesses stating
that Benjamin was shot as he was fleeing. Since the shooting, the
cops and their allies, including certain self-appointed "community
representatives," have pumped out a steady stream of lies and
insinuations vilifying Benjamin and attempting to justify the cop's
actions. The mainstream media have dutifully lapped up these
rumors and outright lies and reported them as if they were facts,
with no verification whatsoever.

We, however, have spent time with the family, sat in Benjamin's
room and gotten to know something about him as a person. He
was the loving oldest brother of six kids, who often babysat and
entertained his younger siblings. He was shy, deeply spiritual and
loved nature and, especially, eagles. His room is filled with family
pictures, dream catchers and statues of eagles. His mother is
adamant that he was never part of a gang--he avoided them and
worked hard to steer his siblings away from them, too. His mother,
brothers and sisters are devastated at losing him.

The vilification of people who have died at the hands of police is
not new. Virtually every single person killed by cops in this town
has had the added indignity of having their name dragged through
the mud. Their families have suffered unnecessary grief at a time
when they are most vulnerable and least able to defend their family
member. The police department uses the media to make the first
strike, which taints the entire investigation and insures there will be
no justice for the person who was killed or their surviving family
members. They do this by insinuating that the deceased was a
"gang member" or by eluding to involvement in crimes the person
was never charged with when they were alive. They then
pronounce the killing justified before an investigation has even
started. How can the dead defend themselves against such assaults
on their personhood? How can their families trust that an unbiased
investigation will be conducted, especially now that these
investigations are done internally, with no neutral oversight?

Jordan Group to Create Cop Spy House, Use Kids as Human
Shields

Communities United Against Police Brutality

CUAPB has obtained a document showing that the Jordan Area
Community Council, a Minneapolis neighborhood homeowner's
association, is making arrangements to rent the house at 1620 26th
Street and turn it over to the Minneapolis Police Community
Response Team (CRT), an undercover cops unit, to secretly
monitor their neighbors. At the same time, this neighborhood has
received a $975,000 CityKids grant for life skills training and
summer programs for local youth. The document indicates that
they would run this youth program out of the same house as a way
to obscure the presence of the undercover cops and that the kids
would provide free labor to maintain the house, do laundry, clear
snow and provide lawn care. This house will be dubbed the
Community Learning Center--but it seems to us it is the cops who
will do most of the "learning."

A note at the bottom of the document sums things up this way:
"I would ask that all of us keep the use of that house by the police
somewhat quiet. We don't want to alert people that the police will
be there. I think that having other activities there will provide a
better cover for the police to do their surveillance. Having activities
there makes it reasonable that people are coming and going at
various times. Letting it stand empty except for the CRT Team
going in some of the time makes it a bit more suspicious and
invites vandalism."

CUAPB stands against schemes like these, which pit neighbor
against neighbor in an ugly snitch network and use innocent kids
to cover for cops. Inevitably, kids will become part of this network
as cops prod them for information about their parents and
neighbors. We question the use of funds from the CityKids
program to create a free work force to maintain a secret police
surveillance installation and to cover for the presence of cops.
Finally, we are very concerned about the physical safety of the kids
who will be in this same space with cops engaged in undercover
spying, especially as the activities at that house become known.

We strongly encourage Jordan residents and others to contact
Police Chief McManus at 612-673-2853 and the JACC at 612
529-9267 to express their opposition to this plan.

The People Versus the Minneapolis Police: Now’s the Time to
Tell Your Story

Communities United Against Police Brutality

Our class action lawsuit, which we have dubbed "The People vs.
The Minneapolis Police" to indicate that this is a community effort,
is moving forward quickly. A set of demands have been submitted
and there have been some preliminary negotiations. What's needed
now are examples of incidents people have had with the police.
People can tell their stories and participate in the lawsuit
anonymously. Contact us at 3104 16th Avenue South,
Minneapolis, MN 55407 mgresist@minn.net
===================================
Daybreak is an anarchist tabloid put out from Minneapolis.

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