Sunday, August 15, 2010

Criminal Record Of Charles Means, 21, Who Died At 2600 Block Of Penn Ave. N.

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

The 2600 block of Penn Ave. N. is one of the roughest areas in North Minneapolis, partially because of the situation with the Penn Gas Stop "inconvenience store" which has served as a "thug sanctuary" for many years. So nobody was surprised when 21-year-old Charles Means ended up dead of multiple gunshot wounds in an alley next to a vacant lot on the "2600 block," on the evening of National Night Out.

I have some experience with that vacant lot. It was the location of the first house I ever looked at in North Minneapolis when I set out to find a home. I always thought of it as the "skanky red thong" house because of an item left on the kitchen counter. Now a vacant lot marks the spot. Even with no run-down, decrepit structure at the location, trouble still finds its way there.

The photo above documents the profusion of candles and (of course) whiskey bottles which inevitably mark these shooting memorials and, it should be noted, say much about the lifestyle of these victims of gun violence. None of the media accounts I have read reveal the criminal record of Charles Means, age 21. It is left to the blogosphere to fill in these sordid details...

Charles Means was identified in the mainstream media as 21 years old. Therefore, he appears to be the very same Charles Anthony Means who is identified in online court records as having a birthday of 8/28/88. Means was, it appears, just short of being 22 years old when he died. He had a laundry list of criminal charges, and that laundry list was as follows:

27-CR-06-072021
MEANS, CHARLES ANTHONY
08/28/1988
10/19/2006
Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Closed
PROHIBITED PERSON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM
FLEEING A PEACE OFFICER IN MOTOR VEHICLE


27-CR-07-013413
MEANS, CHARLES ANTHONY
08/28/1988
03/01/2007
Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Under Court Jurisdiction
BURGLARY FIRST DEGREE
BURGLARY FIRST DEGREE
BURGLARY FIRST DEGREE
PROHIBITED PERSON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM
PROHIBITED PERSON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM

27-CR-07-013569
MEANS, CHARLES ANTHONY
08/28/1988
03/01/2007
Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Closed
DOMESTIC ASSAULT-HARM
DOMESTIC ASSAULT-FEAR
DISORDERLY CONDUCT

This appears to be a textbook case of the Biblical admonition "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." Charles Means' death is unfortunate, and clearly there are those who loved him who are in mourning. There is, however, not a single surprising aspect to his death. It was, in fact, predicted more than 2,000 years ago. The only question is:

HOW ARE WE GOING TO CLEAN UP THE 2600 BLOCK OF PENN AVENUE NORTH?


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

And people will say the same thing about you!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it would be possible to get access to an abandoned house for the purpose of undercover, "neighborhood watch" style surveillance.

It seems like camping out in problem areas is the most effective way to keep the pressure on. You can only observe so much while driving 30 down Penn.

I also wonder if cameras could be installed (similar to Lowry Ave.), but that might just push the criminal element to Queen Ave, or Oliver Ave.

Daniel Rother said...

Penn Gas Stop, located on 26th and Penn the sometimes troubled site has a new owner and he runs a tight ship. Lee, the lawn mower man as I call him because he is retired and fixes all sorts of things for his neighbors in his backyard that overlooks the parking lot of Penn Gas, reports that all the nonsense going on ended just days after Tannous took the business over. This is not meant to criticize the old owners, god knows they tried. It becomes very weary on a shop owner to suffer the fools that like to "hang out" on 26th and Penn. You can find Tannous and his father working all hours at their store so please do stop in and let them see all the good people in the neighborhood and wish them well.

Johnny Northside! said...

Dan,

That's not my view of the new owners. They appear to be more of the same.

ClevelandGuy said...

JN - Thanks for posting this. All we hear is that these are 'good kids,' completely innocent victims or 'trying to put their lives together.' You can read almost identical reports about the dual murder on Queen, and the one this weekend on Dupont. Not that anybody deserves to be murdered, but some people seem to invite it more than others.

geektopia's keeper said...

If they are still selling blunts, white t-shirts and the rest of the usual thugs regalia, they have not changed. Those items only will always attract the thug element. They can say they are different, but if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...then they are continuing the harm done by the previous owners.

Anonymous said...

More cluelessness from a neighbor in U-WHO. What a surprise.

Patrick said...

I've met the new owners and they mean business. They won't be taking any more of the old riff raff that plagued this area. We all need to cut these folks some slack and give them time to weed out the thugs from their property.

Anonymous said...

Yes...owning a business can become tiresome. But, if the businesses valued the neighborhood, they would do whatever it takes to clean things up. Have they hired extra security? Do they call 911 when there is loitering? Have they gotten rid of any inventory that would bring in those that disrespect our neighborhood?

I own a home 3 blocks off Broadway. I understand that my responsibilities are more then just mowing the lawn. It's calling 911/311, it's watching for susupicious activity, it's adding extra security systems for my home...there is additional work if you want to be a home owner...same goes for the businesses. If they are not ready to step up, then we have to put the pressure on them until they leave.

Anonymous said...

Readers might be interested to read this new city pages article:

http://www.citypages.com/2010-08-18/news/jerry-moore-has-a-controversial-past/

Anonymous said...

let charles rest in peace. whoever ever the fagot is who wrote the article, you aint shi*.

Anderson said...

In our society it is an unspoken tradition to not speak ill of the dead, especially someone who died so young. I do not remember reading anything that said that this particular young man was a "good kid". However, I would wager that to someone he was a "Good Kid".
Johnny, if anyone wanted to find Mr. Mean's criminal record, they would/could have done the same thing you did. If you really want to do some investigating to get to the crux of the problem, dig into his history from the time he was born. I don't know, but I highly doubt that he was coming into NOMI from Edina to live the thug life. I wonder were drugs a part of his life from birth. I wonder what kind of nurturing and nutrition he had as a toddler. I wonder when he started school, was anyone ever at his school conferences, did anyone ever attend his extra curricular activities and encourage him even if he didn't make a touch down. I wonder did anyone sit with him and teach him how to read, tell him he was smart. I wonder did anyone tell him he was the only Charles Means that God made and that his life had value.
We all have choices but some have the choices of: bad, worse and unthinkable. "Unthinkable" to some people may have been just an option to Mr. Means.
Charles Means' death is a tragedy that goes beyond his wrap sheet. Johnny, in the future, I hope you will have some empathy for the deceased and their families, by not posting thier wrap sheets, and maybe try to find something positive about that person. Like Mama used to say. "If you can't say something good, then say nothing at all".

Anderson Mitchell III

Maggie McNoMi said...

I'm hopefully moving near there, I'll help!

Anonymous said...

Anderson,

Your point is nice and caring and kind and all of that.

But children are killing children in our community. That has to stop. And those of us who have to work for a living don't have time to devote ourselves to the minutiae of every troubled families' problems in our neighborhoods. So let me ask you this:

Have you thought about what other way there is to stop the cycle of violence besides calling it out in this fashion?

If so please elucidate.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with posting the guy's info on a blog. If it makes him look bad, it's his own fault. Frankly, trying to gloss over crimes like carrying a gun when prohibited by making excuses about what a tough life the Mr Means may have lead up to that point only serves to infantalize him. The fact is, he was a grown man who made poor choices, who put others in danger (possession of a gun while prohibited).
It's not unreasonable to post this information. The rap sheet is a list of Mr. Mean's documented actions -he was an adult, not a child, so it's silly and pathetic to complain when he's called out on his own actions. A lot of people have tough upbringings, but not all of them chose to burglarize houses, physically abuse family members or people they are in relationships with, and carry around guns that they are prohibited from having -those are choices HE made, and to deny or gloss over that is to deny that this Mr. Means was a man like anybody else, and as such, should be expected to own up to his actions and decisions.
We should be more concerned with protecting the people who are willing to contribute to the world around them in a positive way than saving the reputation of a violent, gun toting burglar. I'm not about to feel sorry for a guy who has a history like this guy's.
Shedding tears for a criminal who likes to carry around guns? That's the problem with North, you guys get behind and protect the very people who would make you their victims.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Anderson,

I agree with much of what you said, and thanks for your words. However...

I'm frankly sick of hearing the refrain of "he/she was a good kid who had just started turning their life around before being killed." This quite literally makes me ill.

We're so quick to glaze over things out of a desire to respect the deceased and their loved ones. In so doing, we miss the question, "Why did this child's life need turning around in the first place?" Let's be real here. The majority of our homicide victims this year and in years past were people who had recently engaged or were at the time engaging in high-risk behaviors such as gangs, drugs, and other crimes.

And although John's posting of criminal records is an incomplete picture, so are the glossy niceties that invariably appear in the Strib and elsewhere.

So I feel you, I really do, on wanting to tell the whole story of these tragedies. I want the good things in these kids' lives to be lifted up and remembered. You asked a lot of tough questions in your comments, and I want to ask those same questions too. The criminal record is unfortunately a part of the equation.

Anonymous said...

I also appreciate Anderson's ponderings. And I agree with much of what he said, and with what Hawkman said.

To me, the biggest disservice about the glossy niceities is the effect it likely has on those kids within the deceaseds social circle. If they hear "he was a good kid" or words to that affect about a guy who lived his life on the streets doing god knows what, in and out of jail, associating with gangbangers, putting himself in positions where he (may) end up dead... well that is such a mixed signal to those that are still living, that are trying to figure things out, that are caught between a healthy, safe lifestyle and the street lifestyle.

I think those kids deserve to hear "if you live your life like this, you are likely to end up like this". I think we owe it to youth to make things as crystal clear as possible.

That is my beef with the gloss niceities. I realize it's all about giving kind words to the deceased and I think that is appropriate for the memorial service and a less publicized level of mourning. But publicly I think we need to make it clear his death was caused by wrong lifestyle choice.

Anonymous said...

Well, I had this long meander about the possible meaning of Charles Means, but here is the short version: the dead are both less than we say about them after they're dead, and more than we ever knew about them when they were alive. All we purveyors of stereotype should take care.

But on the question of how to "clean up" 2600 Penn, here is a thought-provoking article. I'm a bit of a critic of the "Broken Windows" theory--I think it's been applied far too literally, but I've been told I'm overly cranky about these things.

Anyway, might spur some discussion about how to further develop the effort.

http://www.bostonreview.net/BR27.2/harcourt.html

Anonymous said...

they may have turned their live around but people do not forgive and forget

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:21 said "I think those kids deserve to hear "if you live your life like this, you are likely to end up like this". I think we owe it to youth to make things as crystal clear as possible."

This is exactly right. I would go one step further and suggest that the adults in the neighborhood who perpetuate the SILENCE around youth violence by refusing to allow the truth to be spoken about, for instance, Charles Means are themselves responsible for the cycle of violence continuing.

Adults have a responsibility to speak truth with compassion. You don't get to leave the truth-telling out.

Demanding that the community remain silent about the choices that lead a young person to become a victim of violence just teaches youth that violence is completely random, that no choice that they make can possibly have the slightest effect on the outcomes of their lives.

It also teaches youth to be silent aout the truths in their lives.

Adults refusing to allow the truth to be spoken, and demanding that every victim be painted with the same brush as "an A student" and a "future leader" participate in the romanticization of the gangster lifestyle. Let the teenagers wallow in maudlin sentiment, leaving liquor bottles at memorials. That's what teenagers do--they are built to see themselves as grandiose romantic heroes just trying to get by in a tragic world over which they have no control. When ADULTS encourage this mindset, they are failing in their responsibility.

Youth violence is an epidemic because many ADULTS are complicit with the youthful romanticization of the gangster lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

The dude is still on the MnDoc most wanted fugitives list.Their up datingprocedures are pathetic along with their updating the latest crime news of any kind.Come on MnDoc you can do better than to let a deceased man sit on your list.I am apalled.

erin said...

Not for nothing, but the most recent charge was three years old, wasn't it? Are we content to judge a dead kid by merit of guilt by association and a fairly stale rap sheet?

Anonymous said...

Epotiorin - fairly stale rap sheet? he has probably been locked up for three years and just recently released. Just in time to be murdered on the streets, where he lived and ultimately died. We gotta start telling the truth if we want things to change.

Anonymous said...

You fucken sound so stupid. I hate you so much and you is bogus for just saying that about my fucken boyfriend. I will fucken sue you and spit on your grave BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!