Atrocities -  Police urinated on Little Earth resident (269 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
 
From: Madam D (MadamD) DelphiPlus Member Icon1/30/03 8:30 AM 
To: All  (1 of 7) 
 1513.1 

I am so upset I am speechless....We are organizing...Debbra

 

Posted on Thu, Jan. 30, 2003

story:PUB_DESC
MINNEAPOLIS: Officers facing brutality inquiry

Pioneer Press

Minneapolis police are investigating whether two of their own urinated on an intoxicated man and then left him and a female companion alone in a parking lot in freezing temperatures.

American Indian leaders announced the complaint at a Wednesday afternoon news conference in the back parking lot of the Little Earth Housing complex on Cedar Avenue South, where the alleged incident occurred late Friday night and early Saturday.

Police Chief Robert Olson said Wednesday that the department received the complaint Sunday and that the internal affairs office was conducting an investigation.

"At the minimum, for anyone to abandon a vulnerable person in a parking lot in zero temperatures is a very grievous thing," he said. "I'm just sick about it."

About 150 people, including two City Council members, Dean Zimmermann and Robert Lilligren, attended the news conference.

"What happened in our community would never take place at Hennepin and Lake or Edina or Bloomington," said American Indian activist Clyde Bellecourt.

Olson said his department has taken extra steps in recent years to build better relationships with the American Indian community. Upon hearing of the incident, he immediately called for a meeting with leaders to reassure them that he would investigate and take action if necessary.

"After all this forward momentum, it takes this to wipe out all the gains," he said.

Two witnesses who live near the parking lot heard a loud screeching noise late Friday and looked out their windows. They saw a police car pulling into the lot and one or two officers dragging an intoxicated man and woman from the car, police and community leaders said.

The witnesses saw the officers "manhandle" the man, then leave him on the ground and speed away, Bellecourt said. The witnesses went out to check on the man, identified by Bellecourt as Ronald Lee Johnson, 32, and it appeared someone had urinated on him, he said. Johnson declined to comment.

The witnesses called Little Earth Housing security, which are off-duty Minneapolis police officers. The officers confirmed that Johnson had urine all over his coat, face and hair, Olson said.

Johnson was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

The witnesses did not get the names of the officers, but noticed that their squad car had markings indicating it was from the city's 5th Precinct, which comprises southwest Minneapolis.

"If somebody in this precinct or even in the whole city did something like that, I'd like to be a part of catching that person," said 5th Precinct Inspector Don Harris. "That's totally inappropriate behavior."


Amy Mayron can be reached at amayron@pioneer press.com or (612) 338-6872.
 
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From: Madam D (MadamD) DelphiPlus Member Icon1/30/03 3:42 PM 
To: All  (2 of 7) 
 1513.2 in reply to 1513.1 
Minneapolis police to investigate Indians' claim of brutality
Chris Graves and Howie Padilla
Star Tribune
Published Jan. 30, 2003
 
 

Community leaders called Wednesday for the firing of two unknown Minneapolis police officers who witnesses said manhandled an American Indian man before leaving him and a woman outside in freezing temperatures.

Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson, who said he was "very concerned," met with leaders from the Indian community Tuesday and said the department is investigating the allegations.

Two residents of the Little Earth housing complex in south Minneapolis have told community leaders and police investigators that they saw two officers drag the man and woman from the back seat of a marked squad car late Friday night. Those witnesses said they saw officers assault the man in a parking lot before leaving him unconscious after midnight. The temperature was 2 above.

Robert Lilligren speaks to a crowd of approximately 100 supporters at the Little Earth housing complex
Judy Griesedieck
Star Tribune

"They left them out to freeze," said Ellie Webster, executive director of Little Earth Community Partnership.

She also said that off-duty officers who took the man to a hospital later told a Little Earth security supervisor that someone had urinated on the man's upper torso and head.

The man and woman are homeless and were believed to have been drunk Friday night, community leaders said.

Police and community leaders still don't know many details, including the identity of the officers and one of the victims.

Groups join together in  protest
Groups join together in protest
Judy Griesedieck
Star Tribune

No matter what the investigation finds, the allegation has already created damage, Olson said.

"This is terrible," he said. "We are very, very, very concerned about this. We have launched a full-scale investigation to find out what happened."

The charges are similar to those a decade ago when two Indian men who were drunk were stuffed into the trunk of a Minneapolis squad car to be taken to a detoxification center. In 1995, Charles Lone Eagle and John Boney were awarded $100,000 each by a Hennepin County jury after jurors found that officers Michael Lardy and Marvin Schumer violated their human and civil rights.

The officers said they put the men in the trunk as the quickest way to get them medical attention.

The new allegations come as community members try to resolve who will speak in federal mediation sessions that are aimed at improving relations with police. More specifically, Olson has also met in recent weeks with Indian leaders who are concerned about how crimes against Indians have been investigated.

"We've got good things going and then wham, this happens," Olson said. "It's just disheartening."

Clyde Bellecourt, who appeared Wednesday with more than 100 community members at a news conference, called the new allegations "the worst thing you could do to someone."

Community activist Spike Moss, who also attended the news conference, agreed.

"What was done was not human, not professional," he said. "It was not godly."

City Council Members Robert Lilligren and Dean Zimmermann apologized to the Indian community during the news conference.

"I can tell you this is not an isolated incident," Zimmerman said. "On my desk, I've got a stack of reports an inch thick of complaints against police."

Details murky

On Monday, investigators began trying to identify the officers involved in the allegations, Olson said. He said they also are trying to find the man and woman to interview them.

Webster said the man who they believe was the victim was highly intoxicated Friday and can't remember the incident. Community leaders didn't identify the man, who they said was at the Wednesday news conference.

It remained unclear Wednesday how or where the man and woman came into contact with the police.

Bellecourt said community leaders have confirmed the chain of events that started in the parking lot in the 2400 block of Ogema Place through witnesses, two off-duty Minneapolis police officers working in the housing complex and hospital staff members.

Webster said a resident told her that she saw two officers in a squad car pull into the parking lot and drag a man and a woman from the back seat. The resident called her mother at 11:47 p.m. Friday and told her about the incident, which was going on as she was on the phone.

Webster declined to identify the resident, saying she was frightened and requested anonymity. But Webster said the resident called a dispatcher at the Little Earth housing development at 12:11 a.m. Saturday to report the incident. She feared calling 911.

"She didn't know what to do," Webster said. "When you call 911, the police come."

Two other Minneapolis officers, who were working off-duty but in uniform, responded to the housing complex call a short time later and took the man to Hennepin County Medical Center.

Larry Leventhal, who is representing the man believed to be the victim, said his client hadn't suffered permanent injuries, but Leventhal said he hadn't yet read medical reports.

Although the man's shirt and pants have been washed, Leventhal has the man's jacket, shoelaces and headband.

"We've talked to some DNA testing experts," Leventhal said. "We are hopeful that it will give some indication that urine was present and when the officers who did this are located, there may be a match."

It's not clear that anybody saw who may have urinated on the man.

The woman who was dragged out of the squad car spent the night in a station wagon that she found unlocked, Webster said. She declined offers of overnight shelter and apparently left Saturday morning.

Police Lt. Rick Thomas declined to identify the two off-duty officers who took the man to the hospital, citing the investigation. Those officers followed appropriate procedures, he said.

Off-duty officers are hired by the Little Earth housing complex on the eastern border of the Phillips neighborhood to provide extra policing and security. Officers answer calls from Minneapolis police dispatchers about crimes in the area as well as those from a dispatcher at the complex.

Webster said she has been pleased with the officers who work off-duty at the housing complex and emphasized that the off-duty officers did nothing wrong.

Those at the news conference said they don't believe that all officers are bad, but that there are a few who have the mentality that it is all right to abuse minorities.

"There always have to be a few bad eggs," Webster said. "But those few sure make life miserable for all of us."

Rally planned

Bellecourt and Moss vowed to rally community members to march against police brutality next Thursday. Some marchers will start from the North Side while others will start from the South Side, converging at City Hall. The "March of Pain and Shame" will begin at 10 a.m. and end at noon, Bellecourt said.

Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the police federation, said he could not comment on the allegations because he has not seen the facts of the case.

Mayor R.T. Rybak's spokeswoman said he referred all questions to Olson.

Olson said he hopes that bridges built have not been destroyed by the allegations. He said the consensus among those at Tuesday's meeting was that it is important to continue efforts.

"We took a step forward and this has taken us 10, 20 steps back," he said. "But you still go on. You don't just stop. You regroup and go forward."

-- Chris Graves is at cgraves@startribune.com.-- Howie Padilla is at hpadilla@startribune.com

 

 
From: Cherokee21 DelphiPlus Member Icon1/30/03 7:06 PM 
To: Madam D (MadamD) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (3 of 7) 
 1513.3 in reply to 1513.2 
Deb:

What can I do to help?
I don't eman to take aways from any race suffering, but if these folks were, the incident would be all over CNN.

Tim

 

 
From: Madam D (MadamD) DelphiPlus Member Icon1/31/03 10:35 AM 
To: All  (4 of 7) 
 1513.4 in reply to 1513.2 
Police union: Indians' allegations of brutality untrue
Howie Padilla and Terry Collins
Star Tribune
Published Jan. 31, 2003
 
 

Police did not use excessive force, and evidence will show that officers did not urinate on an American Indian man in south Minneapolis, the head of the Minneapolis police officers' union said Thursday.

Community leaders called a news conference Wednesday to say that witnesses saw two officers, whose identities were unknown, manhandle an Indian man before leaving him and a woman outside in freezing weather last week.

After hearing news reports of the allegations, the officers who were involved contacted the Police Officers Federation on Thursday morning, federation president Sgt. John Delmonico said Thursday night at a news conference with Police Chief Robert Olson at police headquarters.

"These are terrible allegations and I think the first thing we need to determine is if these things did happen, before we hang these cops out to dry," Delmonico said.

Delmonico, Olson
Marlin Levison
Star Tribune

Indian activist Clyde Bellecourt called Delmonico's comments "typical."

"We stand by everything that we said," Bellecourt said late Thursday. "We believe there's a coverup going on. I believe that 100 percent. The facts are out there."

The officers who came forward gave statements to Internal Affairs investigators Thursday, waiving a contract provision that allows them a five-day waiting period before talking, Olson said. They have been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, he said.

The officers' names were not released under provisions of privacy regulations that govern Internal Affairs investigations, Olson said.

The incident occurred about 11:45 p.m. last Friday at the Little Earth housing complex in the 2500 block of Ogema Place, Ellie Webster, executive director of Little Earth Community Partnership, said Wednesday.

Police were notified of the allegations Sunday morning. The investigation began Monday. Two residents of the complex told community leaders and police investigators that they saw officers drag the man and woman from a marked squad car. Witnesses said they saw officers assault the man in a parking lot before leaving him unconscious after midnight. Temperatures reached a low of 2 degrees above zero that night.

Two other officers, off duty and working security for Little Earth, took the man to Hennepin County Medical Center.

Those officers told a Little Earth security supervisor that someone had urinated on the man's upper torso and head, although it remained unclear Thursday whether either witness saw who may have urinated on the man.

Delmonico said the officers who came forward said they responded to a call and took the man and woman to the Little Earth housing complex because that's where the couple said they lived. The couple were standing when the officers left, he said.

Based on what the officers said, the investigation will come down to whether the officers made the right decision in leaving the couple in the parking lot, he said.

"We're all given a lot of discretion, we all make judgment calls everyday," he said. "I believe with the facts they had and the dealings they had with these people, they made the correct judgment."

The man and woman are homeless and were believed to have been drunk Friday night, Webster said. Investigators and community leaders have not been able to identify or find the woman, who declined offers of shelter that night and instead slept in a station wagon she found unlocked.

Council Member Dean Zimmermann, who lives a block east of the Little Earth complex, located on the east side of the Phillips neighborhood, called Delmonico's comments "incredulous."

"How he can continue to say that all of this never happened is just flabbergasting to me," Zimmermann said. "It's kind've amazing that all of these dozens of people can just out of nowhere come up with these stories to explain the bruises and cuts they receive from the police.

"It's fascinating how the police can continue to give us this line over and over again," he said.

Zimmermann said he believes the problem is a few bad cops who give others a bad name.

"Why do they want to protect them when it is making their job a lot harder?" he said. "Why they continue to protect them escapes me."

It is not surprising that the officers came forward, said Tony Looking Elk, co-chairman of the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors. But he wonders why it took so long to find them and why there seemed to be no record of the call.

The accusations are similar to those a decade ago when two Indian men who were drunk were stuffed into the trunk of a Minneapolis squad car to be taken to a detoxification center.

In 1995, Charles Lone Eagle and John Boney were awarded $100,000 each by a Hennepin County jury after jurors found that officers Michael Lardy and Marvin Schumer violated their human and civil rights.

Larry Leventhal, who is representing the man left in the parking lot, identified his client as Ronald Johnson. Johnson spoke with the Police Department Internal Affairs investigators Thursday, he said. Johnson didn't suffer permanant injuries, Leventhal said.

Although Johnson's shirt and pants had been washed, his jacket, shoe laces and headband were being held for possible DNA testing, Leventhal said.

"I know what the cops told me. I know what evidence is there," Delmonico said. If anyone made false reports to police, he said, "I think that they need to held accountable."

Looking Elk said there is a challenge in the Police Federation's words.

"The challenge is to see if that attitude is used internally," he said.

Olson said that he was worried that, no matter the outcome of the investigation, "there's already been a lot of damage done regardless of what happened."

"We're going to follow this up, investigate and not leave any stone unturned," he said. "We're going to get to the truth, whatever that truth is."

-- Howie Padilla is at hpadilla@startribune.com.-- Terry Collins is at tcollins@startribune.com.

 

 
From: Madam D (MadamD) DelphiPlus Member Icon1/31/03 10:44 AM 
To: Cherokee21 DelphiPlus Member Icon  (5 of 7) 
 1513.5 in reply to 1513.3 

hey you could send e-mails to the following people. And the council person for that ward is very well respected in the Ind community His name is Dean Zimmerman, Green Pary. A person who for years worked in the INd community before running. For what it is worth, the witness to the whole thing was off-duty police (mpls) on duty at the housing complex...debbra

Dean Zimmerman  612 673-2206

Mayor R.T. Rybak
350 South Fifth Street
Room 331 City Hall
Minneapolis MN, 55415
phone: 612-673-2100
Fax: 612-673-2305
R.T.Rybak@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson
350 South Fifth Street
Room 130 City Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55415
612-673-2853 phone
Robert.k.olson@ci.minneapolis.mn.us



Edited 1/31/2003 10:47:24 AM ET by Madam D (MADAMD)
 

 
From: Cherokee21 DelphiPlus Member Icon1/31/03 2:27 PM 
To: Madam D (MadamD) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (6 of 7) 
 1513.6 in reply to 1513.5 
debbra:

Snet an e-mail to each one. thanks and make sure you keep me posted on this.

tim

 

 
From: Cherokee21 DelphiPlus Member Icon1/31/03 2:32 PM 
To: Madam D (MadamD) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (7 of 7) 
 1513.7 in reply to 1513.2 
Police union chief blasts allegations of brutality
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2003

The head of the Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers' union on Thursday vehemently denied allegations of police brutality, suggesting accounts of a beating of an American Indian man and women were false.

At a news conference, Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation, blasted media attention of the incident, which was reported by Indian leaders a day earlier. He said evidence will show that the two police officers involved did not assault or urinate on anyone, as has been suggested.

"We will do whatever we have to cooperate to prove this did not happen," Delmonico said.

But those words were tempered by police chief Robert Olson, who also spoke at the conference. He was quick to point out that the police department hasn't arrived at any conclusion and said a pending investigation will determine what will happen, if anything, to the accused officers.

"If if any fact any of these allegations are true, they are very, very serious and will result in disciplinary action," he said. "There's no question about that."

The comments came in response to a news conference held on Wednesday to air the complaints of police brutality. According to those who spoke, two police officers, whose identity was unknown at the time, last Friday night dropped the man and woman off at a housing complex in Minneapolis, beat the man and possibly urinated on him. After a resident called 911, two off-duty police officers, who happened to be near the complex, took the man and woman to a hospital.

Delmonico said the two officers -- whom he described as "pretty stressed out" -- came to him after seeing the media reports. They denied abandoning the man and woman in the cold, he said. The temperature that night reached a low of two degrees above zero.

"They got them out of their squad car," he said. "They were standing when they left."

Indian leaders on Wednesday said the man and woman were homeless and intoxicated, which the police officials confirmed. When asked why they were taken to the housing complex, Delmonico said the officers were told they lived there.

Both officers are cooperating with the ongoing investigation, according to Delmonico and Olson, who wouldn't release the names. Olson said both have been suspended with pay and were assigned to home duty.

Even if the beating allegations are untrue, Olson said the officers may have abused their "discretion" by leaving the man and women in the cold. "At the very least, if in fact a person, an officer, in zero degree weather dumped out a person who is a vulnerable person . . . and left them laying in the snow in that parking lot," he said, "that is wrong."

Police brutality against Indians made waves in Minneapolis a decade ago, when two men were awarded $100,000 after being stuffed in the trunk of a squad car. Two officers were found to have violated the civil and human rights of Charles Lone Eagle and John Boney.

Leaving intoxicated individuals in the freezing cold, which can lead to death, is a practice that has been reported by Natives in Alaska and Canada. In Saskatchewan, Canada, tribal leaders and members have long made those accusations against police but they were rejected as false until a Native man came forward with his personal account.

The incident resulted in the conviction of two white police officers in Saskatoon, who admitted leaving the man in the cold. The conviction is on appeal.

 

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