Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NEW POST BUT SAME PHOTO AS YESTERDAY: 3851 Emerson Ave. N. Was A Problem Property Long Before FBI Raid...

Contributed photo, blog post by John Hoff

I don't like using the same photo for two blog postings in a row, but today it seems necessary. If you click on the photo above, and look at the rear door of the armored Humvee (the door hanging open to the right of the tree) you can see the letters "FBI."

Good enough for me. That's an FBI raid.

A reader of this blog provided both the photo and further information today, plus a lot of info is freely available on the internet by searching under the address, because the property has been a constant source of concern to the 4th Precinct CARE Task Force for a number of years...

According to my helpful reader (and this is what's called "participatory media") an individual doing work at a house in the area took the photo, above, and provided the following info to my reader, who passed it to me. In that sense it's "third hand" info.

According to this info, members of the Minneapolis Police Department were seen directing traffic away from the involved street until the raid was over. The raid happened suddenly--as is the nature of these things--when vehicles converged on the house and individuals with flak jackets and shields entered. The property is a duplex and attention seemed to be focused primarily on the 3851 side of the property, which is 3851/3853 Emerson Ave. N.

Several males were seen handcuffed and sitting at the curb. At least one was observed to be released at the scene, at least two were arrested and taken away, however. Several boxes of material were removed from the property.

My source speculates this was a narcotics raid, however, one participant in the North Talk Facebook forum speculated the raid could involve fake $5 and $20 bills floating around, hence the federal involvement. This blogger thinks if counterfeiting were involved a Secret Service presence would have been apparent, therefore I'd wager on narcotics.

Twice previously in the last week or so, a member of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department was observed trying to serve paper but nobody answered the door. The deputy was heard to say something about how he would have to come back later.

Here is what else I was told about the property by my source, word for word.

FYI, this is an owner-occupied property, owned by a mother-daughter team, and the property has been a livability issue for the block for ever. They don't ever get a rental license for either unit because "relatives" live on both sides. I say that's a bunch of bunk, but in 10 years have never been able to prove otherwise. I could go on at considerable length about the issues the folks residing at this property cause to other residents, but for the most part, its the typical kind of livability stuff many Northsiders live with, just over a greater duration compared with a typical rental property.

However, one thing of note is that if you will recall the shooting death of the young allegedly homeless man about a year ago now (I will go thru your blog archive and try to find the name and email it to you as I know you covered it), he died in the alley that runs behind this property and was shot almost parallel with this property - in other words, in the alley almost directly behind this building. I did not witness the shooting, but I did witness the aftermath - a group of young men boisterously walked through the church parking lot from the alley to the street, peeled off jackets and hoodies to display red t-shirts in the street, and then loaded in to vehicles to get away when police sirens were heard in the distance. The older of the two ladies who own 3851/53 transported some of these young men away in her vehicle.

The death being referenced above is clearly Keontrell Govan, click here for news article, who died in the  "alley behind the church of St. Bridget at 3811 Emerson Ave. N."

Many of the complaints associated with the house have been written up by the 4th Precinct CARE Task Force on their website. Here they are, in the order they appear on Google when searching for the address.

Shoes hanging on the power line behind the house, click here.

Loitering, drunken behavior, house appears over-occupied and has "long history of livability issues with neighbors and other blocks," click here.

Four vehicles with expired tabs, not moving, parked in the back, click here.

This complaint, well, you've got to read it to believe it. Spectacularly uncivilized behavior by very young children at the house and hanging around.

A confusingly-written report, click here, but the gist of it seems to be the police were on the lookout for a wanted man who might have been at the property.

The garage burns up with two cars inside, two nearby, click here, wonder if those were the same four cars mentioned in the other report?

A three page hard copy was created of all the residents and "occasional records" with criminal aliases and and criminal records with case numbers, the document was described as a "must see." Wish I could see it instead of just hearing its legend, click here.

This blogger will be pressing the PUBLISH POST button now, but I am off to scour the jail roster and see if I can find arrests associated with this property.


Anonymous said...

Now I know the Northside has seen better days, but for God's sake, does the FBI really feel the need to roll up in what appears to be an up-armored humvee?

For years I've heard comlaints about the police looking like a paramilitary unit, but a desert cammo military vehicle cruising through the streets of NoMi is overkill. And, using desert colors in an urban environment is not exactly 'blending in.'

I can only imagine what type of automatic weapons our agents were carrying. Even though having a couple of M16 rounds at the involved folks would do them some good (sarcasm font), the ricoheting and tumbling nature of the ammo would have likely injured onlookers, and your source.

Now I know where my federal taxes are going -- to fill the tank of a humvee!

Please ask your source where the FBI snipers were (on top of the old convent?), and whether Blackhawk helicopters were patroling overhead. Were howitzer's placed at Folwell for added fire support?

The Northside has problems, but they won't be solved with the barrel of a gun, the firing port of a humvee, or the track of a tank.

Johnny Northside! said...

I am publishing your remarks but I don't agree with them.

First of all, those are probably surplus military vehicles which is a good cost saving measure. The use of army clothing is another good cost-saving move. That stuff is really durable. All in all, I assume the use of these items is practical and cost-saving.

I'm sure they were carrying weapons appropriate to the occasion and the fact rounds could go elsewhere was factored in with the choice of weapons.

Do you know how the sight of these vehicles and uniforms makes ME feel?

Safe. And proud. I hope somebody at that house goes away for a long, long time after all they've dished out to neighbors. I hope a drug crime forfeiture takes place involving the property and a nice people end up owning it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:09.

Unfortunately you are wrong!

YES, this type of activity is needed because proper law enforcement has been so mismanaged that a show of force is now needed to send a message that the thugs don't run this community.

Anonymous said...


I didn't know comments you disagreeed with were subject of not being posted. But I digress.

That said, it simply seems to me that if a Minneapolice police officer can come and go while trying to perform "paper service," the threat level at the home likely did not require an up-armored humvee and agents in tactical garb and rifles.

The DOD procurement system is supposed to aid agencies and local police departments... we all agree. However, you have to ask yourself why the City of Minneapolis doesn't equip ALL its police officers with humvees instead of patrol cars, and M16 instead of sidearms? Answer: Because it's not necessary, and gives residents the feeling they're living in a police state.

And last time I checked, NoMi wasn't downtown Fallujah.

I will grant you a humvee with rifle ports is a good, old-fashioned 'show of force.' (I'm a Bradley Fighting Vehicle supporter, myself... but tracks rip up cement and lawns something terrible).

The coming days and news of the arrests will decide whether it was appropriate to have agents playing "Call of Duty" in a residential area.

Domestic terrorism or gun running? Certainly, a humvee is something appropriate in that case. Anything less will be viewed by me as FBI agents playing G.I Joe.

Meanwhile, a humvee or M16 may not have cost the authorities anything, but fuel, training and places to store them ain't free. Everything comes with a cost somewhere down the line.

Johnny Northside! said...

Whether the remarks agree with me or not isn't a criteria for publication or non-publication, but I wanted to make it clear I didn't agree with your remarks, that I really, REALLY don't agree with your remarks.

With little kids dying from random gunfire, I am for anything that works, up to and including a massive show of military force.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I'm not an anti-government person. I just don't think we should use military grade tactics, weapons and vehicles in a residential area, since there is a likelihood those using the tactics, weaspons and vehicles are not trained properly to use them in a non-battle setting.

Please look at the big picture before wholeheartedly disagreeing. The FBI raid is just a short-term solution to a long-term problem. You may feel safer with the FBI cruising around Fremont or Penn Avenues in humvees, but I do not. The only thing worse would be to have the "mismanaged" Minneapolis police driving around in the military vehicles.

Bringing a humvee to 38th and Emerson is like using an elephant gun to hunt mice. In the end, I fear NoMI residents will feel disenchanted, and their already unsafe neighborhood has been made less safe by more guns, more ammo, and more collateral damage and death.

Just an opinion.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who is of the opinion that the use of a humvee and other military paraphernalia by law enforcement during a raid is overkill and likely to lead to unintended consequences like turning North Minneapolis into “Little Fallujah,” I say hogwash. I am the “source” and a neighbor to this house. Do you want to know what makes me feel like I am living in downtown Fallujah? Listening to the steady rhythm of law enforcement choppers working a grid in the area over my house on hot summer nights. That’s what MPD did with the aid of state and county resources in approximately the summers of 2004/2005 before the shot spotter technology was brought fully online. This was done to give patrol officers a better idea of where activity was occurring and where to focus patrol efforts. I am not knocking MPD; they were doing the best they could with the resources they had at that time, and I was grateful for those efforts, no matter what form they took. Nevertheless, such strategies don’t exactly add to the cache’ of a neighborhood.

During one of those summers – I can’t remember which - vehicles were being stolen and law enforcement knew they were being chopped someplace near me. It turned out to be a property two houses to the north of the 3851/53 duplex. The chop shop property was raided by MPD, and the individuals there were apprehended. During the raid, when numerous uniformed MPD officers were surrounding the chop shop property with pistols drawn and rifles aimed and a the ready, women from the duplex picked up infants and took toddlers by the hand and walked IN TO THE LINE OF FIRE. Officers ordered the women and children out of the area, and the women, with the children, dawdled for several minutes. Do you think those women had any purpose other than to try to disrupt law enforcement efforts? How much do you think those women really cared about the safety of those infants and toddlers? They were betting (correctly) that every single one of those MPD officers cared a damn sight more.

That is but one example of the womenfolk at the 3851/53 duplex interfering with law enforcement efforts whether it directly concerns activities at the duplex or not. Also, it is not out of the ordinary for as many as 10 or 12 people to be in the front yard of this property causing a disruption and harassing neighbors and pedestrians. A significant show of force was necessary to send a clear message that games would not be tolerated, for everyone’s safety. Law enforcement had no way of knowing how many people they would encounter inside the property, but odds were the numbers would be significant, based on the activity outside on any given day.

You assert that the residents of the duplex can’t be all that tough if they hide inside when a single sheriff’s deputy stops by to serve paper. So what if they do? All that means is that they are practical; they prefer to avoid law enforcement efforts by whatever means are the simplest, easiest and most expedient. Being an essential coward does not rule out the possibility that someone could pull a pistol in a moment of panic. I am fairly certain that law enforcement involved in the raid had more training in the use of weaponry in an urban setting than the people they apprehended. Using sufficient force to secure the premises quickly is the surest path to safety for everyone.

Your concern is that military (if indeed military they were) are not trained to deal with an urban setting. My concern is that every single one of the officers working in North Minneapolis put in a safe, productive shift and then go home to their families, pets, mortgages and TiVos each and every day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Source,

Thank you for your comments, but I think we can agree to disagree. I understand how you must feel, especially since the Minneapolis police have been powerless to rid that neighborhood of these "residents."

Full disclosure: I used to be a school crossing patrol on that corner. It used to be a gem of a block.

That all said, I again ask you to look at the Big Picture. Your comment: "A significant show of force was necessary to send a clear message that games would not be tolerated, for everyone’s safety" is exactly what I'm talking about.

Humvees with firing ports and desert camo should NOT be used just to send a clear message that "games won't be tollerated." A military vehicle should only be called upon when it's necessary for the mission. If a show of force is something the Northside needs, then why don't the MPD or FBI roll around in tanks?

Certainly a tank would scare the hell out of every gangbanger around, but in the end, residents would feel as if they lived in a police state, and anything but a safe residential neighborhood.

Now then, the duplex that was raided was a $hitbox, and the residents were likely scumbags. Your brand of justice has been served and their arrests have been completed. My question is, if you can detach yourself from this case, "Do you want all warrents served with M16s and humvees?"

I answer "No." It is my belief someone innocent will get killed eventually, whether by a stray bullet, or some jumpy agent firing a seven round burst. And police departments across the county have learned they raided the wrong homes, only after killing innocent people inside.

Again, humvees and M16s are not what changes people and neighborhoods...

Using military grade weapons may prove to be inappropriate in this case. The charges Johnny will eventually publish should prove whether the humvee was needed. If it's counterfeiting, terrorism or drugs, well that's one thing.

Anything else is open for clear debate.

Folwell Neighbor said...

Anonymous 1:13pm:
You make some good points, but I think the police/FBI/et cetera (hereby called "police") need to have these advanced weapons.
The police need to make it clear that they will win anything. Police state? I see what you mean, that is a concern. On the other hand, you don't want these drug dealers carrying around advanced weapons, and have the cops walking around with a 9mm and a Smart Car.
Sure, that would save cost, but the gangbangers would laugh at them, probably shoot them, and in the end things would be worse.
Perhaps the Humvee is a bit much, but this apparently is a federal issue, so yeah, I can see them bringing stuff like that in.
For for common warrants, I actually wouldn't mind having a few SUVs roll up, and a handful of police in bullet-proof vests and helmets surrounding the place. That would send a clear message that YOU BETTER PAY YOUR F#CKING PARKING TICKETS. Just kidding, you know what I mean.

To really clean things up, I don't think tanks are needed, I think better techniques need to be used. I think a few dozen unmarked squad cars circling the area would be great. Ever seen how many seized vehicles go up at auction? Why not use them in rotation as unmarked squads. That would scare the crap out of drug dealers and such, since you'd never know if that rusty old Caprice is a client or a cop. Next month it would be a Grand Prix, next month a Corolla...
Make people scared to break the law, and law-abiding people won't be scared. Well, at least that the goal.

Anonymous said...

You can’t separate the universal from the particular, to use the jargon of my college philosophy professor. The residents of this property have demonstrated that they have no problem interfering with law enforcement in some pretty risky ways. In the example I cited, what if one or more of those being apprehended had “made a break for it?” Law enforcement would have let that person go rather than endanger the lives of the women and small children. In the alternative, if any of those apprehended had started shooting, one or more of the officers involved in the arrest would have almost certainly sought to protect the women and children, at the cost of their own lives, if necessary.

So, given the history with the residents of this property, how would you have arranged this particular police action so that (a) no intimidating police state paraphernalia was used (b) officers were as safe as possible during the exercise of their duty and (c) interference by others (with a track record of interference) was minimized or eliminated. I still think that a certain “shock and awe” component was necessary to pacify those who might otherwise seek to interfere with law enforcement.

Secondly, what makes a humvee so abhorrent? I don’t know enough about how a humvee is typically accoutered straight from the manufacturer to render an opinion as to whether this particular humvee is “uparmored” or not, but when I see photos of humvees in use in Iraq or Afghanistan, they have machine guns mounted on top, which this one doesn’t. To me, the humvee is a heavy duty, secure, personnel carrier. Would it make a difference if law enforcement commissioned production of a streamlined model with white-wall tires to make it look more friendly and clad in titanium to make it lighter to improve fuel economy?

Likewise, MPD and Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies wear flak jackets and helmets when executing high risk warrants – does it matter if those items are one color or another? And, while at least one person was wearing military style garb, I can’t clearly identify an M-16 in any of the photos. Your eyes are better than mine if you can. If an M-16 was in use, how do you know that it wasn’t loaded with rubber bullets? Do you think that neither MPD nor Hennepin County have M-16s or similar weapons? I bet they do. We both know that it isn’t the incidental characteristics, such as color, of a flak jacket, helmet or humvee that makes these items police-state-like, it is the existing of these things at all. And if the existence of these things, per se, is the issue, then law enforcement should forego all personal armor and weaponry and ride bycicles in order to avoid the encroachment of the police state. Never mind that gang-banging thugs have caused more fatalities in NoMi this year than law enforcement.

If someone isn’t griping about police states and Little Falluja, they are griping about the civil liberties encroachments caused by cameras and technology like shot spotter. Well, Big Brother isn’t eating crackers in my bed, nor is the MPD using tanks as patrol vehicles.