Tuesday, March 27, 2012

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Soldon M. Armstrong, Suspect In North Minneapolis Cabbie Robbery, Has Juvie Robbery Record...

Stock photo, blog post by John Hoff

The Star Tribune didn't print the name of the 18-year-old suspect arrested in the robbery of North Minneapolis cab driver (and this after another driver was recently MURDERED) but CBS Minnesota did, go figure. The suspect is Soldon McKinley Armstrong, age 18.

According to the Hennepin County jailhouse bookings for Sunday, March 25, available online...

...Soldon McKinley Armstrong was booked at 10:35 PM and is charged with aggravated robbery and first degree aggravated robbery, which is a felony. His birthday is 4/29/1993 making him 18 years old, but he'll be 19 in another month. According to the jailhouse roster, this alleged scumbag lives at 3934 Fremont Ave. N., which is a rental property owned by Investors Capital Llc but the taxpayer is the Federal National Mortage Association.

In spite of his (relatively) tender years, Armstrong has a record of being a robber, starting when he was 16 years old and was "adjudicated delinquent" for a robbery and put on probation. A less serious "transfer movable property without consent" led to a guilty plea around the same time. This damning juvie record has not yet been reported by other media.

Interestingly, there is another "Soldon Armstrong" who is 36 years old and, on March 10, 2012 was booked into the Cook County, Illinois jail on an unknown charge. This individual may be a relative.

Thank you, Star Tribune and CBS Minnesota, for letting me copy off your homework.


Anonymous said...

Sadly this is just another case where the system has failed one of our young men of North Minneapolis. If you know of a young man please hug him and steer him clear of this sort of thing. Remember the system is setup against these youngsters and its up to us to ensure they have the opportunity to thrive to keep them from committing crimes such as this.

Johnny Northside! said...

The system failed him? How? By being too lenient? If you mean the system failed him by being TOO LENIENT, I would have to agree with you.

I am also tempted to make a couple "grammar Nazi" remarks but I'm just going to let it go...

Anonymous said...

OMG! At what point do "Young Men" in North Minneapolis take personal responsibility? Anon 4:48 you are the one setting up these youth through the incredibly insane excuses for murder and violence.

Folwell Fox said...

@Anony 4:48pm

How about giving the people who have to put up with this shit on a daily basis a hug?

Anonymous said...


I think what the commenter means is that North has a long history of failing its young men. Something like 1 in 10 are incarcerated or have a father incarcerated. This clearly indicates a system that is purposely culling a heard of young men and removing them from our society. Faced with numbers like this is it no wonder the remaining turn to crime and opportunity to feed their families. What we need to do is seek out these persons, say I understand and provide them with free college education, quality shelter and guaranteed jobs to ensure their success. In short we cannot fail these men!

Johnny Northside! said...

How does the NEIGHBORHOOD have a history of failing the young men?

Maybe the schools have that kind of history. But more like the FAMILIES of these young men have that kind of history, and the schools get blamed, but it's the families.

Are you talking about some kind of Jill Clarkian "conspiracy" to cull a herd of young men? Because to me it just sounds like punishing crime and trying to keep the REST of society (the part of society that's OBEYING the laws) safe.

Read my book The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving to glean clues about how my family managed to support itself. I have no sympathy for people who make a conscious decision to turn to crime and then want to blame "society" or "the neighborhood" or "the system." All you have to do is graduate from high school and stay out of legal trouble, and you can enlist in the military and have the door to middle class advantages kicked wide open for you.

FREE college education? Yes, I agree. Just join the military and they will pay for your college.

FREE quality shelter? You bet. How about food along with that? I know right where these young people can get "three hots and a cot."

GUARANTEED JOBS? You bet. Even when the day is fiilled with "hurry up and wait" and it seems like nothing has been accomplished, that day still earns a paycheck, nobody gets sent home early to a cut in hours.

Society has NOT failed these young men. Their FAMILIES have failed them. And they have failed themselves. They need to pull their heads out of their asses, straighten up and fly right.

Johnny Northside! said...

Here, Folwell Fox. Here's a hug.

Pardon the sweaty smell of my uniform.

Folwell Fox said...

Thanks Johnny, right back at 'ya. My uniforms are getting pretty rank over here as well, gett'in warm out!

I'm all about providing affordable education. I'm one of those benefiting from the Post 9/11 GI Bill and am very grateful and thank the tax payers (including myself). The military is an excellent way to pay for school. However, people are breaking down their doors these days to join due to the economy. How many of said "these young men", who are marginally employable at best, even have a chance even in the military?

@Anony 11:34am
I would argue that education is expensive because of a vicious cycle, and many who are paying out the ass for school would never go along with “free” higher ed. unless they are comped back accordingly as well.

The reason being, it’s even hard enough for most profs. to pay back their student loans, especially those with a doctoral education. Schools are doing all they can to cut costs, but they can never keep up and god forbid you’re only an adjunct prof. (seems like the current trend which schools are leaning towards these days). Furthermore, America still has an outstanding and the best higher education system in the world. People from all over the world still come here to learn what we know and teach, and you get what you pay for in my opinion.

There’s no easy answer, and I don’t have the answer. Figuring out how to decrease the cost of higher education I’m sure would make someone really rich, but currently it certainly has ZERO chance of becoming free. Take a look around this political environment and tell me something different, I really wish you can.

Johnny Northside! said...

Megan told me the name of your FOB or COP but I'd never HEARD of it. Where are you again?

In regard to these marginal young men...fair enough. They should do the best they can in school, stay out of legal trouble, and study to score high on the ASVAB (Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery) like some students study up for the SATs. We should have study centers to help students score high on the ASVAB.

This much I know: the armed services are still a great path to a job and an education. Until qualified young men from North Minneapolis are getting turned away by recruiters, they have nothing to bitch about.

Yes, there's talk of cuts to the miitary, but as far as I know a qualified young person can still manage to join the National Guard, and then you can "IST" (Interstate Transfer) to get on a deployment with a state that's deploying, there's almost always slots available for deployments especially to Afghanistan.

Folwell Fox said...

Hmmm? I don’t know how much help ASVAB study centers would be as it’s not really a test that you can study for like the SAT or ACT. The purpose and design of the ASVAB is to test accumulated practical knowledge, cognition, and logic. It’s not a “pump and dump” test, as you know. The best recommendation for passing or scoring high on the ASVAB is to actually just stay in school. Having active and engaged parents or role models is important too.

Not having any legal issues or convictions is also of course a biggie for military consideration. Where does that leave us?

Johnny Northside! said...

I studied for my ASVAB when I joined up I-don't-want-to-say how long ago. I bought a book at a bookstore right next to books about studying up for the LSAT, SAT, etc.

So ASVAB preparation DOES exist. And I got a score so high I was told, "You can have any job in the army you want."

So I know ASVAB preparation not only exists, but it helps. HOW MUCH it helps is arguable, of course. I would like to think I would have scored high on that test with or without prepping for it.

As for where that leaves us...

I think it's necessary for military recruiters to try hard to reach youth in tough neighborhoods. Two problems with that:

1.) Recruiters have a quota to meet so they go after "low hanging fruit." Kids in little towns with a National Guard armory. Kids who walk in through the front doors. Recruiting centers cluster around colleges because young people go to school, discover they can't pay for it, and start to think, "OK, what desperate options do I have?"

You just don't see recruitment centers in tough neighborhoods. Heck, I've actually written about this topic in a previous blog post. I should try to find the link...

2.) Unfortunately, people who should be giving these inner city youth good guidance are saying stupid shit like, "They will turn you into cannon fodder. Oh no. Don't join the army."

Yet twice in my life, when other economic options weren't materializing and I was at the end of my rope, joining the army was like having cavalry ride to my rescue. The army has been the greatest thing to happen to me since...


Spend some time in and around the army and anybody will see there are minority families who have used military service to pull themselves from poverty all the way to the American dream:

Home ownership. Kids in college. A lifestyle of travel and nice material possessions.

My drill sergeant at Basic Training was like that. He was a strong, proud black man from deep in the south. He said nothing was ever going to happen for him in his little town, and he wanted to do something with his life.

At the time I was in Basic Training, I thought that man had taught me more in a handful of weeks than all those college professors had taught me in four years. Later I gained insight and realized these were just DIFFERENT lessons.

I have served cheek-to-elbow with people of every race, all dedicated to the mission. It troubles me to see young people in the inner city throwing their lives away when a job, adventure, college education, maturing experiences...

These are within reach if you can sign on the dotted line.

(Starship Troopers Voice)


Folwell Fox said...

The military has helped me in many profound ways as well. I would also argue that the U.S. military is the most diverse organization in the world. Even more diverse than North! The biggest benefit that the military has to offer our troubled youths, besides a chance at financial stability, is the teaching and experience that is inherent in a hierarchy system. The military will definitely modify and change behavior, typically for the better.

With only 1% of our nation’s population serving in the armed forces, rapid highly-technical advancements, budget concerns/ personnel cuts, and a wallowing economy; every branch of the military is becoming highly selective. This doesn’t mean that our troubled youths don’t have the military option anymore though. It just means that folks really have to want it and work towards it. I remember some of the issues that came up during the height of Iraqi Freedom with the DoD waiving certain felonies and the like, people had a lot of different opinions about that. Nonetheless, those days are gone.

Personally, I enjoy an all volunteer military, however, I do see the many societal benefits a “mandatory service” military could offer us. This I believe would help us out as a nation in many ways, including further opening the military up more to those who are in the margins of society.

I would agree that neighborhoods like North are a possible untapped resource for recruiters, but is there already a free-market reason for this? I think those who have decided to work towards a short stint or long term career in the military have the tools to do so if they want. However, a store front recruiters’ office in North may allow for more visibility.

Anonymous said...

What is one to do when you have a wife and three kids? You apply for a job and you have a black felon vs. a white felon or someone with a clean record. Who do you think gets chosen? This is why the system fails one after another. We need to step up and fill that gap, put that money in their pockets and send them to the store to fill the shelves at home.

Johnny Northside! said...

Oh, cry me a river. I grew up POOR AS DIRT. I literally wrote the book on dumpster diving--TWICE!!! We didn't have indoor plumbing until I was in FIFTH F***ING GRADE!!!

And my family didn't rob. We didn't sell drugs. We didn't engage in mortgage fraud. We went to school, we got jobs, and in my case, I joined the army. TWICE.

So cry me a river.

Here's how to live in tough circumstances: Pull your head out of your ass, obey the law, and if one job turns you down apply for another and another and another. Buy things at Salvation Army and Goodwill instead of craving ridiculous stuff like "bling" and $200 shoes.

Society needs to step up? Sure, fine. But ultimately it's up to people to help themselves, whether society steps up or not.

Johnny Northside! said...

He's in prison. I just looked up his DOC mug shot. Won't be getting out until early 2014.