First Amendment Fair Comment And Criticism, blog post by
Tommy Bardney, the latest victim of "thug on thug" North Minneapolis homicide, had some rough edges but like they say about so many of the criminally-inclined homicide victims in this neighborhood, "He was just starting to get his life together."
The sad thing is it's not a cliche in this case...
An in-depth perusal of his Facebook page (Tommy Boy Bardney) shows a man with a difficult past who, in the last few years, seemed to be coming to a realization that he was either going to make positive moves to lead a productive life or he was headed for a long stretch in prison, if he even lived that long.
Maybe it was the last stretch Tommy did in prison which gave him an epiphany about the direction of his life. Maybe Rosie Lee, his wife for the last four years and the mother of his seven children, achieved some insights herself when she attended the De Novo program after a check forgery conviction and maybe she told Tommy about the need to get his life together. If I had to guess, though, I think it had something to do with those seven children all reportedly by the same woman.
On Tommy's Facebook page, which wasn't used with great frequency but did have more than a handful of photos, there are images of his children which say as much about the photographer as they do about the subject of the photo. Tommy loved his children. He had seven of them so, well, that's a lot of love. Something motivated him to attempt getting his act together and I'm guessing it was the children.
But his relationship with Rosie Lee or Rosie Bardney was, er, complicated. He had a long trail of domestic violence incidents and incarcerations. Linked here is one of the criminal complaints against Bardney, which discusses an incident on October 10, 2010, where Bardney was in a vehicle with his wife and stopped the car to beat her until she had numerous lacerations and a bloody nose. The complaint notes they shared five children in common; the count is now reportedly up to seven.
At the time of the murder, Bardney was seated in a vehicle with his wife when an unknown assassin came up and popped him, reportedly. I'd be looking for an assassin who thought he was helping or defending Rosie Bardney a/k/a Rosie Lee. If my theory is right (and I've been wrong before, even about my speculation with this very case) then I bet the police are going to solve this one really soon.
At the time of the domestic violence incident, Bardney's address was listed as 422 Bryant Ave. N., Apartment #2. There is, as near as I can determine, no such address. This happens a little too often with Hennepin County criminal complaints and the jail roster, too. I assume there should be another digit in that address and it's probably on the 4200 block of Bryant Ave. N.
Lately, he was trying to be a better person. He was going to school and he was proud of it. The photo at the top of this page is apparently the one that was distributed at his memorial. The pride is evident in his face as he holds his GED. How many men can swallow their pride and, after so many years and so many children, go back and get their GED?
In the 2011-2012 school year, he was apparently a student at National American University. He took a picture of his student ID and proudly posted it on Facebook.
National American University is a nontraditional college which offers many courses online, here is a link to their website. In regard to this step in his life, Tommy wrote, "u know a g had to make a change some time n life."
Unfortunately, he wasn't making changes nearly fast enough. The photo below is labeled "smoke dat shit."
And what can be said about the company he was keeping? The photo below (one of a series of four similar photos) is captioned as follows:
Left to right, KillerKo, me, Sterling, Blue.
The photo below is similar, but the guy on the far right wasn't in the previous photo. Check out the crude tattoo and what appears to be a wrist band from being out "clubbing."
It is unknown what, if any, gang affiliation Bardny had. There is a series of four photos where he makes a very deliberate series of hand signs, as follows.
The first and last photo may be the same photo, only cropped a bit. I've looked closely at the two photos and they are a bit different (compare the width of the door frame in the background) but I've concluded the differences are due to cropping. Bardney seems to be spelling something out in gang sign language but I am not, um...picking up what he's laying down.
As I've mentioned, Tommy liked his weed. And when it came to post-blunt munchies, the man knew what he liked:
Tommy wrote, "yes! yes! yes! nice jumbo shrimp after a fat blunt, u just can't top it!" I have to admit that shrimp looks pretty good to me right now, too.
Here's another photo depicting the sweet life of a thug.
Ah, a picture of a giant glass of champagne. You just can't top it. This particular image was posted to Facebook by Bardney's wife but appears in his profile because it was tagged. Tommy's hairstyle and his beard are different in this photo, so it probably depicts a different era. Also, note the reflection on the photo near the elbows. This seems to be an image of another image, the original image being a photo. It's probably from that not-so-long-ago time before almost everybody started using digital photography.
There are two odd and eerie moments on his Facebook profile. One of those moments is his last status update, as follows:
March 26: Today is not my, but it's mandatory that I embark on this journey.
Yes, there is a missing word. I assume the word was something like "choice."
On that date, Bardney was facing something hard in his life. Something he knew would be a test of his character. A story in the Star Tribune says Bardney had just returned from Mississippi. Based on information from Facebook, Bardney and his wife are both from Yazoo City, Mississippi. Looking at the time frame, I would think Tommy Bardney was contemplating the long journey to Minnesota (where the last and hardest part of winter was still upon us) to reconcile with his wife and see his children.
There's another very odd moment in the Facebook profile. All the other images are routine images of family and friends, except for the photo of shrimp cooking and some miscellaneous online images associated with music; Trey Songz by ChapterV.
But then there's one more image.
About this image, Bardney wrote:
"first thought is what?"
A conversation about the photo went like this:
Blackdiamond Bardney: Hell idk
Tommy Boy Bardney: first feeling is what?
Blackdiamond Bardney: nunthing lol
Tommy Boy Bardney: good answer...not, lol, wats sis, im sittin here wit our cuzn mane bbqing and blown good.
(JNS translation: Good answer. NOT!!! What's up, sis, I'm sitting here with our cousin Mane having barbeque and I'm good and wasted)
Blackdiamond Bardney: mane tht sound gud as hell...wish i was thr
Tommy Boy Bardney: u will be 1 day
Blackdiamond Bardney: yup lol
The image appears to be a split in half fast food beverage cup sitting in the shadow of a vehicle near a street curb. The street is worn and needs paving. Oversized cobble stones (I think) are showing through the wear.
But what else do you see? I see a big predatory fish with a red and white eye and fangs. I see the angel of death hovering near Bardney. I see what may have been the last thing Bardney saw before he was killed, a paved street near a vehicle.
Clearly, Bardney was struck by the image. He saw something in the shadows. And he shared the image on Facebook and it is utterly unlike the other images on his profile, which ends with words about a difficult undertaking. The image is eerie.
Of course, the second thing I think is, "Don't stand there taking a picture, go pick up the litter."
The murder of Tommy Bardney remains unsolved.