Saturday, June 14, 2008

Amazing, Petty "Slap On The Wrist" Sentences For North Side Criminals


Flickr.com photo

So I went through the City Attorney's website and I sought out examples of sentences dished out to criminals...the very same criminals citizens can submit "community impact statements" about using the functions of the website.

I only wish what I'm going to tell you about was the exception, not the rule, but from what I'm seeing....

...paltry "slap on the wrist" sentences are the norm. Ask yourself why citizens should submit community impact statements at all, when the offenders will serve two days, or no time at all, and will pay less money for loitering to buy crack than productive, generally law-abiding citizens will pay for a traffic violation?

Furthermore, though some judges and prosecutors are busier than others, the pattern appears to hold true no matter who the judge or prosecutor. In Minneapolis, generally, you get a "slap on the wrist" for North Side crime.

See if I lie. Here are the criminals, and here are their sentences. Judge for yourself if these are mere "slaps on the wrist" compared to what the criminals did.

* Monique Marie Johnson, age 29, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia in a public place, 2647 Penn Ave. N. The report says the Chief of Police has labeled this area a "hot spot" for criminal activity. She walked toward officers holding a crack pipe in her hand, so stupid is she. She also has no place to live. She has been arrested before for loitering with intent to buy narcotics IN THE SAME AREA.

Prosecuted by Karen S. Herland in the court of The Honorable Judge H. Richard Hopper, this criminal received a 2 day jail sentence (which she had apparently already served while in the system) and a fine of $50, ALL OF WHICH WAS SUSPENDED.

* Donnie Gary Straub, 34, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for interfering at the scene of a stabbing, 2230 6th St. N. He interfered "several times."

Straub was Tasered and taken to jail. For this he was fined $50 and sentenced to 30 days, but all 30 days were stayed.

Prosecuted by Nnamdi A. Okoronkwo before the Honorable Thomas W. Wexler.

* Kevin D. Holt, 29, caught fornicating in an alley (near 22nd Ave. N. and 3rd St. N.) and was charged with indecent exposure/conduct. Pleaded guilty. (Herland was prosecutor, Hopper was judge) Received a $50 fine and a suspended sentence of 30 days.

Why not just sell licenses for $50 for the right to fornicate in an alley?

* Henry Coleman Smith, 27, loitered with intent to sell drugs. Walked away from officers, threw a bag of marijuana, but was arrested. He pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to no time in jail. He paid a $100 fine.

Why not just sell licenses for $100 for the right to sell marijuana on a public street?

* Kathleen Margaret Croud, 43. I strongly suspect this is the identity of "Kathy the Prostitute," who constantly hangs around with Khameron NMN Lake and makes life difficult in our neighborhood with her constant druggie and prostitution activity. We can't seem to get rid of her.

And after seeing the sentence dished out by the court system, I can understand why. For loitering at 31st Ave. N. and 4th St. N., where the officers said she often loiters, with a crack pipe sticking out an inch from the top of her jeans pocket, she was fined $50 and sentenced to 90 days in jail--all of which was stayed.

She was also credited for 2 days. Does that mean she has a credit balance for her next jail sentence?

The prosecutor was Eileen J. Strejc, the Honorable Judge was Jack S. Nordby.

*Richard Lee Taylor, 40, was caught at 430 30th Ave. N. (This is on my block) The officers went to that address with a person to "retrieve his property," and upon entering the building found three people inside, including Richard L. Taylor.

The house was full of items which did not belong to the victim, including stuff the officers described as tools "commonly used for burglaries" along with jewelry, electronic items.

Taylor pleaded guilty. The Judge was the Honorable Lloyd B. Zimmerman. The prosecutor was Kristi M. Lassegard. Taylor was fined $50 and sentenced to 60 days, all of which was stayed.

Why not just sell a license? $50 to live in somebody else's house with your burglary tools.

In an entirely different incident of trespass at 3023 4th St. N., (again in my area) Taylor pleaded guilty before Judge Hopper, prosecuted by Laufele Murphy. He paid a $50 fine and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended, with "2 days credited" for the time he spent in jail.

* "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU GUNNA DO?" shouted Ray Charles Hinton to police officers. The answer, as it turned out, was. "Fine you $300 and make you spend 3 days in jail for obstructing legal process, disorderly conduct, and 5th Degree assault. If that's not too much bother, sir."

You know, I've got some people in my life who are upsetting to me, and this sounds like a real bargain, I must say! To whom do I write out a check?

Here's the incident at 2917 4th St. N. as described by the police. Police were called because Hinton was "pounding on the vehicle" of his girlfriend, while the girlfriend--afraid--was locked in her bathroom. When officers arrived, Hinton shouted his statement, above. At this point the victim came out, yelling for officers to "take him to jail." Hinton threw his cigarette at the victim and then "lunged at officers." Officers threw him back up against the vehicle.

Hinton tried to hit Officer Powell in the face with his left elbow. Officers fought Hinton, repeatedly advising him to stop resisting, and used a Taser on him. It took "several officers" to restrain Hinton, even after being Tasered. He was finally handcuffed and put in the squad car.

Based on what I know of human nature, I'm guessing the lovely couple got back together. The Honorable Judge in this case was Patricia Kerr Karasov, the prosecutor was Eileen J. Strejc.

* Marcus NMN Townsend. For loitering to buy drugs at 2027 2nd St. N, trying to swallow suspected crack cocaine, and being in possession of a crack pipe, Townsend was sentenced to ZERO days in jail and NO FINE.

He did, in fact, actually spend 10 days in jail. The prosecutor was Christopher J. Dixon, the Honorable Judge was George F. McGunnigle.

* Antonio Lamaurs Porter, 22, loitered to deal narcotics near Stand Up Frank's with a rock of suspected crack cocaine inside his blue stocking cap. (2027 2nd St. N.) For this he paid a $50 fine and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but all 90 was stayed and he was credited for 8 days. The prosecutor was Strejc, the judge was Jack S. Nordby.

I have an idea. Let Antonio L. Porter pay his $50 fine with five "rocks" of cocaine. When in court, he has to take off his stocking cap, anyway. He could reach in the cap and say, "I have it right here, Your Honor, sir."

* Anthony D. Vanlear, 44, trespassed at 1504 Irving Ave. N. Prosecuted by Herland before Judge Lloyd B. Zimmerman. Sentenced to 30 days, but 28 stayed, 2 executed, 2 credited)

Oh, and a $50 fine. Did I mention that whole "pay in convenient rock cocaine" idea?

* Sergio NMN Scott, 25, trespassed to occupy a locked, posted building at 2024 Willow Avenue North. Pleaded guilty. Heidi L. Johnston was the prosecutor, Hopper was the judge. Sentenced to 60 days with 56 stayed, 1 day credited, and a $50 fine.

* Dervon Chantoine Smith, 20, not old enough to drink but plenty old enough to loiter to buy/sell narcotics at the intersection of Lowry Ave. N. and Dupont Ave. N. The prosecutor was Flavio S. De Abrue, the judged was Zimmerman. Smith was fined $50 and given a 90 day suspended sentence, apparently doing no jail time at all.

* Maurice Levell Cooper, 25, ILLINOIS DOESN'T WANT HIM BACK.

This guy was in a parking lot at 26th Ave. N. and Penn Ave. N., loitering to buy/sell narcotics. He saw a squad car and tried to flee on his bike, then dropped the bike and fled on foot. He had marijuana in his possession and a felony warrant from Illinois, though he had no identity and could not be positively verified for that reason. He was booked but Illinois didn't want him back, wouldn't extradite for the felony warrant.

My idea: drive him to Illinois and call the local police to take him into custody.

* Terrel Shavon Lewis, 23, case dismissed for "insufficient evidence" by the county attorney. Apparently, the sworn statement of officers was not enough evidence. Here is what the police swore happened at 2406 Lowry Avenue North.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Officers were dispatched to the listed address on a domestic assault abuse in progress. Upon arrival, officers encountered a very hostile family with over a dozen people inside the house. While officers were attempting to find the victim in the house, the family was being verbally abusive with officers and requested that officers leave because they didn't have a warrant.

Arrested Party Phillips was yelling at the other family members to make the cops leave. At this point, officers located the victim and while officers were attempting to have the victim step out of the house into a safer environment, Phillips stuck out her arm and said, "Nuh, uh, you ain't leaving and these police can't be here."

Phillips continued to summon other family members including several large men into the room and asked them to remove my partner from the house. Fearing that (Phillips) would be starting a riot and endangering my partner and I, my partner attempted to escort (Phillips) from the house. At this time, Phillips pushed back and my partner and pulled away from my partner.

Phillips pushed my partner back several times, and another male, Lewis, layed [sic] on top of (Phillips) to prevent officers from picking her up off the couch. Due to the fact officers were surrounded by several angry subjects and that Phillips was not cooperating with officers' orders, Phillips was warned several times she would be Tased if she did not comply. Phillips did not comply and she was Tased.

As Phillips was being Tased, Lewis began to pull the Taser probes out of Phillips. Phillips then attempted to get up off the couch and came at me in a threatening manner and she was Tased a second time. Phillips was booked for obstruction of legal process with force.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Bryon Kieth Lloyd, 32, who kicked Officer Steward in the leg (twice) during a domestic incident at 3415 Oliver Ave. N. was fined $375 and had a 90 day jail sentence stayed, though apparently did 8 days, for which he was credited. In the course of this incident, children were crying and officers saw Lloyd pushing a female up against a wall.

The prosecutor was Jennifer A. Saunders, the judge was Regina M. Chu.

* Bobby Earl Johnson, 44, according to the sworn statement of an officer tried to take a swing at officers in an incident at 2900 Queen Avenue North. Johnson is a known crack cocaine user and this was a suspicious vehicle stop.

The prosecutor was Paula J. Kruchowski and the judge was Hopper. The matter was dismissed by the County Attorney for insufficient evidence.

* Lee Bradford Wright, 22, ran away from officers responding to a 911 hangup who observed "5 fresh bullet holes" through the front window. There was another arrest at the scene and a .40 semi automatic pistol and a 12 gauge shotgun were recovered.

Johnston was the prosecutor, Hopper the judge. The penalty for this good clean fun with firearms was a suspended 45 day sentence and a fine of $50.

Perhaps Wright could pay his fine in bullets. You know, in early colonial America, bullets were sometimes used as currency! And--take my word on this--$50 won't buy you too many bullets to conveniently carry around.

* Rafael Joseph Peil, 24, paid a $50 fine and had a 45 day sentence--all suspended--for drunkenly banging on the door of a terrified senior citizen who lives alone, saying he thought the house belonged to his "home girl." It was nighttime, and he also kicked on the door. Peil was intoxicated and uncooperative with police.

I'm sure a $50 fine and no jail time taught him a harsh lesson about terrifying a senior citizen. The prosecutor was Cantu, the judge was Hopper.

* Kenyatta Antonio Hartfield, 33, was found inside a vacant house (2718 Queen Ave. N.) with three other persons, two of which had felony warrants. He was charged with trespassing. The charge was dismissed for "insufficient evidence." The prosecutor was Clair F. Cole, the judge was Zimmerman.

* Loren Dean Ratka, 29. What is the penalty for being involved with a burglary, and attempting to flee police? Apparently it is a rather confusing fine, as follows:

60 day sentence: 5 executed, 55 stayed, 1 credited. $50 fine, $125 executed, zero stayed, zero suspended.

I'm all mixed up, here. The police owe this man $75? And he had another four days to serve?

It's an amazingly minor sentence for being caught supposedly dead-to-rights in the middle of a burglary, and trying to get away from police.

* Antione Antonio Jones, 27, tried to kick in the rear door of a victim's house and was arrested for "domestic assault 5," but apparently charged with disorderly conduct. His 30 day sentence was all stayed, though he was credited two days, and fined $50.

Prosecutor was Jennifer A. Saunders, the judge was the Honorable Janet N. Poston.

In my experience, $50 isn't enough to buy a decent door.

* Louis Redus Jordan, 52, apparently doesn't believe in paying for things, not even "penny candy" at Cub Foods, 701 Broadway Ave. N.

Jordan tried to swipe two handfuls of "bulk candy," but was apprehended by a store employee named Faulkingham and a security guard named Patterson, who had Jordan in handcuffs. It turns out Jordan had been "trespassed" from that location about three months earlier, and he also had a misdemeanor bench warrant for fleeing a police officer...oh, and he ALSO had a GM Bench Warrant for theft.

He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, but 59 days were stayed and he was credited for one day. In other words...he walked away. Really, it would have cost the system less if the police had given Jordan two handfuls of candy and said, "Just leave."

* Theresa Lynn Jordan, 49, caught red-handed stealing scrap metal by crawling through an opening in a fence at a scrapyard, 1728 2nd Street N. She also admitted stealing from this business in the past.

Prosecutor was Clair F. Cole, the judge was the Honorable Philip D. Bush. Jordan paid a $50 fine and got a 45 day sentence, all stayed.

Maybe the system could make itself more convenient by letting folks pay in stolen copper pipe.

* Dartanion Dwayne Hill, 20, was observed dealing narcotics (as he has a history of doing) at 2700 Plymouth Ave. N. The prosecutor was Cantu, the judge was Hopper.

The price for dealing narcotics (repeatedly) is, in this instance, 3 days in jail (with three credited) and a $50 fine, but the fine is suspended.

Thus, "catch and release."

* Kimberly Dawn Anderson, 44, is another great example of "catch and release." She was caught with a crack pipe and suspected marijuana cigarette at 2511 Penn Ave. N.

There was zero monetary fine for this, and a sentence of 30 days, but with 25 days stayed, 5 executed, five credited.

* Belinda Fay Blakemore, 51, is an example of inexplicable "dismissal for insufficient evidence."

Blakemore was found standing at an intersection, flagging down vehicles in a "high prostitution and narcotic activity area." (27th Ave. N. and Penn Ave. N) Officers made contact with her, and she admitted having a crack pipe in her purse. She placed it on the hood of the squad car, and officers saw two crack pipes in plain view.

Yet it was dismissed for "lack of evidence." Proof, perhaps, that the Crack Demon watches out for those who love and serve him all day long. The prosecutor was Jodi L. Furness, the judge was Zimmerman.

* Lee Van Lewis, 49, pleaded guilty to possessing drug paraphernalia in a public place and lurking with intent. Not to worry--! Prosecuted by Herland before Judge Hopper, good ol' Lee van Lewis was fined $50 and given a 30 day sentence, all stayed.

Perhaps some of these users could "pay in paraphernalia?" Really, $50 will buy--what? Basically 10 low-quality crack pipes? And five higher-quality crack pipes?

* Brandon Dontae Fondren, 30, pleaded guilty to loitering to buy/sell narcotics at 3534 Morgan Ave. N. The prosecutor was Heidi L. Johnston, the judge was Hopper. He was given a $50 fine (all $50 was stayed) and sentenced to 2 days, with credit for 2 days.

Catch--! And release!

* Here's a good example of a repeat criminal. Lorenzo Daniel White currently has 9 open cases against him. Eight of the cases are for trespassing, and one is for loitering to buy/sell narcotics. He also has a bench warrant for trespass. So that's 10 items in the system.

Here are the places where White likes to trespass or loiter.

40 24th Ave. N. (Twice). 2638 James Ave. N. (three times) 10th Street N. (Yeah, he likes to loiter to buy and sell on the whole street, apparently) 600 Hennepin Ave. S., 2116 Lake St. E., 101 9th St. N., and 950 Hawthorne Ave.

White appears to be a prime example of how "slap on the wrist" fines and "catch and release" just produce repeat criminals.

I don't know what to think about all this. It is disturbing. It makes me start to question the point of calling 911. Also, I can't say if this is really a "North Side" phenomenon. It just so happens I focused intensely on the crime in the Fourth Precinct, because that's where I have my property. Yet it may be "slap on the wrist" is the standard for all of Minneapolis.

In classes at the Humphrey Institute, I've heard caterwauling about the "stiffer penalties" for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. And I ask...huh?!!! WHERE?!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

that is absolutely appaling.

went to court in minneapolis once, in the 90s, for a speeding ticket. the guy ahead of me was there for selling marijuana and the district attorney cut a deal with him - let him off with a warning. when it was my turn to meet with the da i got fined $500 for the speeding ticket and a loud muffler.



--c

Johnny Northside said...

Yes, it is appalling. Anybody who cares to do so, please forward links to this blog posting far and wide. I put a bunch of time into compiling this information to make the appalling pattern clear.

This scandal (I'll call it that) needs to become the focus of mainstream media, not just little ol' me on the "blog-o-sphere."

Johnny Northside said...

The pressing question has arisen in "back channel" communication whether this is purely a North Side phenomenon and whether a comparison could be done for "nicer" areas of the city or even (it was suggested) the neighborhoods where the judges live.

So I did a little more digging... and I emphasize it was ONLY a little...and here's what I found out. Apparently, this "slap on the wrist" aspect with crime in Minneapolis (especially drug crime) is not merely a North Side phenomenon.

Here's two examples in the same vein as the previous examples. My "back channel" commenter suggested doing the "Lowry Hill" neighborhood as an example. First of all, Lowry Hill has less than a dozen crimes listed on the City Attorney website, not MANY MANY MANY crimes like some other neighborhoods.

But, all the same, taking what crimes there are on Lowry Hill and pulling out some of them for examination, one sees the same "slap on the wrist" phenomenon as crimes on the North Side, and the same pattern of inexplicable "lack of probable cause" dismissals.

* Gregory Steven Laskey, 23, was arrested with another person for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia near a soccer field where "young females" were practicing. (Already one sees some differences in the neighborhood culture)This was at 600 Kenwood Parkway.

Officers questioned the suspects because they "abruptly exited" their parked vehicle (Minn license plate XLD 906) when officers drove by. One of the men was acting very suspicious, wouldn't answer questions. They were both "pat frisked" and a small bag of cocaine and needles was discovered. Another narcotics kit was found in the car where Lasky said it would be found.

In fact, there were 100 syringes in the vehicle.

The whole matter was dismissed for "no probable cause."

Gee, I wonder if the system was kind enough to return all that paraphernalia? I mean...100 syringes? Quite an investment! Once again, it was the Johnston prosecutor/Hopper judge combo.

* George Edwin Peffer pled guilty to indecent, lewd conduct in a public place. This was at Irving Ave. S. and Mount Curve Ave. The prosecutor was Elizabeth A. Kelly, the Judge was George F. Mcgunnigle.

This guy was fined $300 and given a 30 day sentence; 29 days stayed and one day credited. It seems to me $300 is a real bargain price for a license to commit public exposure from the comfort of one's vehicle.

But, in any case, though my examination of the crimes focused on North Side (my area of concern) it appears the "slap on the wrist" phenomenon is all over Minneapolis.

Also, gathering this data didn't require any special access, just some time and effort to type it up. This stuff is all on the "submit community impact statements" portion of the City Attorney website. Some of the crimes are past the period where you can submit anything, but the site shows the resolution of the crime.

That's how I pulled up these details and sentences. Anybody can do this quite easily, or just browse the website and be, like, really shocked.

It's not at all comforting to learn this isn't just the North Side of Minneapolis getting the shaft. Criminal coddling is busting out all over. And--just to be clear on this--I'm a bleeding heart liberal, a card carrying member of the Green Party.

But my bleeding heart doesn't bleed THIS much.

kd said...

My day in traffic court ended up costing me around $1000 when you include the court fees. I guess I got off easy since I didn't have anything on my driving record - not a parking ticket, not a speeding ticket, NOTHING. That's history. I learned my lesson, but I do wonder if the above mentioned offenders are charged any court fees? I doubt it. I'm sure it would be seen as too much of a hardship for them.

In any case, this issue of judges and what they do or don't do has been around for years and to my knowledge no one has found a way to change anything. For one thing, these judges are appointed, not elected, so they are totally immune to public opinion. I guess that could be seen as both a positive and a negative, but for us it's definitely very frustrating.

Since judges certainly don't attend community meetings (attempts have been made to bring them to some) or god forbid live in our neighborhoods, they simply have no idea what impact all these "minor offenses" are having on a whole lot of other people. I'm sure, livability issues in Hawthorne or Central or Phillips aren't real high on their list of priorities. After all, isn't it the goal of all decent people to get out of these neighborhoods?

So how do you make them see the other side of the coin? We don't have access to them. If we picketed their homes in mass, I'm sure we would all be arrested. If we showed up in court in mass and made a scene, we would be kicked out and maybe arrested. We can't vote them out of office. All in all, they're pretty isolated.

For me, I would love to see a mandatory sentence of X number of hours of community service in the community in which the offense occurred. Lord knows, we could certainly use a 1000 more bodies picking up the trash or mowing lawns of abandoned building or painting over graffiti. What a nice bit of public humiliation for the offender too: one day doing business on the corner selling his stuff, a few weeks later on the same block wearing an orange vest, picking up the mess he and his customers created.

Anonymous said...

I've been fined $300 in my early days at a certain MN State college. Underage drinking (Minor Consuption), plus 40 hours community service. I was one of 200 or so in a weekend. What a great sentance for a broke and already time constrained college student. Do you think it stops students from drinking? Ha! Part of the reason I had to drop a class that semester. My colleague who I was with at the time, underage drinking while driving (.02). No fine and 24 hours community service. The reason: he had a different judge. " A nice lady" as he put it. My judge was a grumpy old man that probably just caught his 16 year old daughter drinking the night before?? Of course I don't know that for sure, just speculating. Although his crime could be seen as more dangerous, severe, irresponsible, he received less discipline. It makes me mad to see people dealing and commiting nasty acts in alleys with only a slap on the wrist! How stupid of me! I should have been dealing crack that night!

Johnny Northside said...

Thank you, KD and Anonymous, for sharing your heartfelt stories. Please direct folks to this blog to read this blog post. I consider it some of the more important content I've put on this blog.

Johnny Northside said...

The Minneapolis Mirror took this blog post and (with my permission) reproduced it verbatim.

(Including a few typos I have since then gone back and fixed)

So far, two individuals have left comments at the Minnesota Mirror. I am posting both of those comments here, since they are commenting on this exact content.

Here is the first one:
---------------------------------
Kingfield Neighborhood

By: Ann Berget (Guest )

I participated in the Kingfield CourtWatch effort this year and found the same situation. One 24- year-old offender with 79 prior arrests bargained down a kidnap/carjack/stabbing down to a robbery charge and got sent to a drug treatment program. Give me a break.

Ann
---------------------------------

To this I say: I once blew a tire and ended up in Kingfield, which I thought was a really cool neighborhood. I even jotted down some numbers from real estate signs, thinking "This would be a great place to live."

I'd love to know the name of this particular 24-year-old offender you are referencing.

Johnny Northside said...

Here is the second comment which I'm bringing over here from the Minneapolis Mirror.
----------------------------------
To Johnny Northside

By: Barbara Lickness (Guest)

Great detective work. So, you are just now coming to the party. This stuff has been going on for years and not just on the northside.

While your south side comparison was Lowry Hill there are at least 4 south side neighborhoods that have been plagued by this situation for years. That is why activists in those neighborhoods started block clubs, CARE programs, stroll patrols, prostitution education, restorative justice and court watch programs.

Crime has been reduced in areas that have employed these programs. But as we all know, the criminal element just moves somewhere else.

Barbara
--------------------------------

To this I reply: Yes, I'm new to the party but I'm hoping to make some substantial contributions.

I refuse to be deterred by the "crime moves somewhere else" notion. I think sometimes crime doesn't move. Sometimes it is exterminated like a fire or a plague.

Anonymous said...

What is the "Minneapolis Mirror?"

Johnny Northside said...

It's a website that reports on Minneapolis. Here is the URL.

http://www.mplsmirror.com

Anonymous said...

I agree that until judges are elected and required to live in the neighborhood nothing will change. The police do try but I have to say in the 90's when I lived in Kingfield and had some problems one officer said "well you live here". Wrong answer that doesn't mean a person deserves the bullshit.
So back to that neighborhood, you have to make their lives just as miserable as they do yours. I lived behind the house where the Mom and 10 year old were just killed. So that shows you how nothing has changed. The landlord is a slumlord and I moved in the end of 1996 an obviously the pig still owns rentals and he rents to people who are unable to keep section eight. Not that they deserve to be murdered but just a comment on the landlord.
I guess we have to do our own policing basically and stick together to keep our neighborhoods safe. But when you live in an area like that you do feel like why call 911 nothing changes. It is a bunch of crap.

nagemcheyenne said...

This is quite disturbing to me, especially as a North Minneapolis resident (I live on a beautiful block across from Lind Bohanan Park). I have lived in my house for nearly a year and in that time I have been mugged in the garage, had someone attempt to steal the cd player out of my car, watched people walk down the alley with a ladder and cut the copper ground wires of the utility pole and most recently had my house broken into while I was at work.
In each of these incidents (minus the cd player) I have immediately called the police which has left me with no trust in the officers who guard my neighborhood.
In all these situations I am at fault (minus the utility pole) for letting my own guard down, allowing these young thugs to take advantage. When I was mugged in the garage the young kid who waved a knife at me (I threw my purse at him as soon as I was done thinking, "you have got to be fucking kidding me"), took my purse and ran. He ran across the alley and jumped into a navy car with tinted windows (it looked like a chevy impala or something similar). I was actually on the phone with my boyfriend when it occured, and he quickly ran outside and across the alley to get a license plate number. I was on the phone with the 911 operated watching the kid sit in the car and go through my purse. I watched him drive down aldrich to 50th and take a right. At this time I am describing this on the phone, and they didn't want to hear any of it. The cops arrived and I explained the car had just left and turned down 50th. They just shrugged it off and asked what I had in the purse. All I wanted was to feel validated after such a shitty incident, maybe feel like the cops actually wanted to catch the dude.
Enough said (this is a sensitive subject right now), the same thing occured when our house was broken into. My boyfriend realized when he came home at 4:30 pm (the robbery occured around 10:45 am) and when I finally made it home (worst time to be stuck in rush hour) the officer on the phone told me the cops had done their job by securing our property. Our neighbor (who was home with her child) witnessed the young guys running through her front yard and called the cops. Thankfully the cops came quickly to speak with her (if I was her I would have been a little freaked out), but over the phone they made little if any attempt to make it seem like they even cared. Just another robbery, in the summer. We should have secured the window air conditioner (which is now screwed and nailed to the window frame). After I lost my temper with the officer he told me I could call 911 again, and request officers, but it would take awhile. The robbers had left there pop bottle by the window they entered through, and all I wanted was them to at least pretend like they cared to look for fingerprints on the bottle, the window ac, the stuff they ravaged through.
I love my neighborhood, I love my house, and I even understand that there will be crime and we should have taken the precautions we had discussed so many times before the incidents occured. But I find it really disturbing that the officers I feel are here to protect and serve as if we should expect this and that there is this attitude of we can't do anything about it. I know there are good cops out there, but maybe this whole system is corrupt.
My point, I appreciate your blog and idealism. There are fabulous people, parks, and homes in North Minneapolis, and I agree that it can be saved.
One last thing, when I reported the men climbing a ladder in my back yard to cut the copper ground wires, it took officers over 30 minutes to arrive. It is sad when people are not afraid to walk down an alley in broad daylight and climb the utility pole. Where is the control? So again thank you for taking it upon yourself.
I know that my boyfriend and I plan on attending our next community meeting and getting more involved in our neighborhood.

Johnny Northside said...

Don't lose heart. Go to those meetings. Decent people can take back the North Side from the thugs.

In light of gas prices, and the proximity of North to the downtown core, the area is too valuable to remain in this kind of shape. We will win sooner or later. It's only a question of how quickly.

Johnny Northside! said...

2013024059 HARTFIELD, KENYATTA.ANTONIO 6/15/1974 165 GLENWOOD AVE N (SHELTER), MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55405 8/27/2013.22:39

These are "damage to property" charges.

Jean Marie said...

Hey, I'm just getting familiar with this blog. Are the "sentences" still as ludicrous today? I'm assuming you have examples, and I just haven't found them yet.

Johnny Northside! said...

Look up my more recent article about Judge William Koch, who gave an amazingly light sentence to some rather bad people. I think the pattern does hold true today, as well.

Of more concern to me is that prison is not reforming people. I feel like we need prisoners doing more WORK. Work is good for the soul.