I am a Southside resident and witnessed the beginning of the incident covered in the front page story. There is incorrect information in the story. It appears that your eye witness, saw only part of the incident and, based on partial information, drew incorrect conclusions.
woman in question walked in front of my car when I was at the intersection of
31st Street and Bloomington Avenue. If I had not stopped to turn, she would have
walked into my vehicle. As I turned onto Bloomington, I was stopped behind a police
car at a light. She rushed in a crazed manner to the police car, which was directly
in front of me, and threw the entire top half of her body into the driver’s
side window. She started attacking the cop. I continued to watch her unprovoked
attack unfold, as I was afraid to try passing the cop car on the right, in the
event she would throw herself in my car’s way again.
The cop tried to restrain her, to which she became more belligerent. Finally,
he was able to push her and himself out of the vehicle. She continued to attack
him, and I noted he focused on restraint, not violence, despite her looming size.
By the time I was able to pass, he had her pinned on the street, in front of the
I was impressed at how the officer handled the difficult situation. I think John
Tribbett should have done more research before allowing an eyewitness to draw
The author of the story, John Tribbett, responds:
First, I want to thank you for writing and expressing your views about the portion
of the incident you witnessed. It is vital for a community paper to provide
a forum for citizens, journalists and public servants to engage in an open forum
about events important for all players. And certainly allegations of police
abuse, a long-standing and ongoing problem for the citizens of Minneapolis,
is an important issue.
Your take on the incident brings up a predicament we all face when dealing with
this issue—this is the predicament of perspective. I have no doubt what
you described in your letter is what you witnessed and that the conclusion you
drew from it is legitimate. You saw a woman approaching in a “crazed manner”
who appeared to assault the officer for no reason. To you it seemed the officer
then did what was necessary to subdue her in an effort to protect him and the
public. You were “impressed” by his actions.
If we were to get a detailed report from every witness on hand that day we would
get as many differing perceptions of events as there were perspectives. Each
one would differ somewhat based on what was seen and by what the viewer brought
to the event: that is, each person’s view of the role of police in Minneapolis
and of the conduct we expect and have come to expect from them.
With due respect, your perspective failed to take into account that the woman
was screaming for help—and for the police—while running from a reported
incidence of domestic violence. And because you left the scene, your perspective
didn’t include seeing the woman’s head as it smashed through the
I would also like to point out the perspectives in the story weren’t the
result of only one “eyewitness,” but several. Two of these were
named sources in the article. In addition, there were at least two other individuals
who retold the events they saw, but refused to give me their names for fear
of police reprisal. Other witnesses on hand verified other portions of the events.
at least two local television stations reported the incident reiterating many
of the same details and conclusions as the article.
All of this is not to say your perspective is incorrect, though it is incomplete.
It is important to understand how the officer based on your account probably
perceived the event. It is also important to understand the difficulties and
split-second decisions the police have to make—their job is at times an
From their, and your perspective, they did what they had to do. But from the
perspective of many of the citizens of Minneapolis who witnessed the events
that day, they did a lot more than they needed to.
Editor’s note: The police report for the incident reads as follows:
“Suspect tried to come through the driver’s side of the squad car
with officer inside. Officer fought with suspect. After suspect was handcuffed,
suspect head-butted rear window of quad, breaking it. Suspect was transported
to HCMC and placed on a health and welfare hold.”