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Twin Town High (vol. 8)
Bloody Incident in Mpls
Wednesday 22 September @ 14:47:15
Cops smashed windshield with woman’s face, witnesses say
by John Tribbett
The police car’s rear windshield was shattered and the side was painted in a wide swath of fresh blood. A few feet away, a crowd gathered just outside the yellow “police line do not cross” tape circling the street at 31st and Bloomington. They stood in small groups with frowning faces.
Last Friday morning, my trip to the post office was interrupted with the all-too
familiar South Minneapolis crime scene.
“They just pushed her head right through the back windshield!” a
woman said as she shook her head rapidly back and forth, her voice rising. She
waved her hands in the air and pointed at the police car parked in the middle
of Bloomington Ave.
Blood was smeared across the police car, its window shattered. Parallel to,
and facing the opposite direction, was a second police car. Behind it sat an
Soon enough, the ambulance drove off, leaving a few cops lingering around. One
was interviewing a witness while a few stray television reporters were trying
to convince people to go on camera. I walked over to the group standing in front
of Hairtime Barbershop to ask what had happened. Several in the crowd didn’t
want to talk to me. Some of them did.
“I was rolling hair,” said Denise Franklin, a stylist at the shop.
“And somebody said there is a lady running down the street and hollering
for the police.”
“I could hear her hollering, ‘Police! Police!’ and by the
time I got outside he had her down. I got real close—he didn’t even
seem to mind. He was pushing her head down in the concrete. He had his knee
on her back and he was punching her.”
“He was getting frustrated and screaming, ‘put your hands behind
your back’ and she was putting up a fight. I told her, ‘honey put
your hands behind your back. Please! Or they are going to kill you.’”
to reports, the woman had been involved in an altercation with a man several
blocks from the scene. In the ensuing fracas a car crashed into a backyard damaging
a fence and a picnic table. From there the woman ran down the street yelling
for help. When she reached the corner of 31st and Bloomington, she spotted a
squad car heading in the direction of the crash.
When she reached the car, police claimed the woman tried to jump in the window
and reach for the officer’s gun.
“The cops are saying she tried to grab his gun. How are you going to reach
across and grab the gun?” said DeJuan Reid, a barber at the shop while
he trimmed a client’s beard. Outside, the last squad car had just pulled
away and traffic was getting back to normal.
Inside the barbershop, Franklin and Reid were breaking down what had just transpired
saw the cop punch her head at least two times and the middle of her upper back
one time. They were struggling around and then he got her laid out on the back
of the car. I heard a boom but I didn’t see the impact. I saw her head
go up and then down,” Reid continued.
“She had a white shirt on and the top half was covered in blood. There
was blood running from her head. She was resisting arrest—I understand
the man had to do what he had to do—but he didn’t have to use excessive
force hitting her like that. I don’t know what police procedure is, but
he sure missed a step.”
Police claimed that, after the woman allegedly attempted to take the officers
gun, they were forced to subdue her. During the struggle they said she put her
own head through the windshield.
Witnesses at the scene said it was just the opposite. While trying to get the
woman in the rear seat the officer suddenly smashed her head through the rear
windshield. And that wasn’t the end of it.
“Then the woman cop came up and escorted her into the car. She was face
down on her stomach and she punched her three or four times,” Reid said.
As the morning slipped away the story was retold to barber Kevin Berkley, who
had just arrived for a late morning appointment. No one was shocked at the details.
People were angry, but it was the anger of resignation. All inside the barbershop,
except myself, were African-American.
As a hair clipper buzzed, stories and advice on how to deal with the police
shot back and forth. Never pull over unless there are other people around and
it is on a street with lots of light. Keep your I.D. in the visor so they don’t
think you are reaching for a gun. Don’t go out at night.
turned to frustration with the neighborhood. Despite a myriad of new businesses,
the area around Lake St. and Bloomington Ave. is still blighted with prostitution,
violence, and drug dealing.
“I like the neighborhood. I grew up over here. But it has just gotten
increasingly worse. Now I live in Brooklyn Park. I saw all of the change—generally
all that change was from sugar to shit—the place got bad,” Berkley
said. He doesn’t always feel safe in the area.
“When I leave the shop I lock up and look both ways, jump in the truck
and split. The police around this particular area are crooked. I don’t
come into the neighborhood late at night. They are the gang-bangers—the
most dangerous element in the neighborhood,” he continued. “They
know who is running things in these neighborhoods, but instead they bust somebody
with $20 in their pocket. You catch hell from the people in the street. You
catch hell from the cops. You can’t get nothing in the middle—it’s
hard to live here.”
The discussion is not without empathy for the police—everyone knows this
is a hard area to patrol.
“There is always something going on around here. These cops have got a
lot to contend with but every situation is not the same. This lady was obviously
terrified. After all of this goes on—then he started asking about what
happened. They just think she’s a crackhead. Beat her up and put her in
the car,” Reid said.
“But it doesn’t matter if you are on drugs—you are a human
being,” Franklin added from the backroom. “This isn’t the
1800’s. This isn’t the slave days. It doesn’t matter what
color your skin is.”
“I don’t trust them. I told my client this is why I don’t
call the police, because you never know what their frame of mind is. You might
be the next victim—the one to get it,” she said as she paused and
looked up from the hair she was unrolling.
“The funny thing is—she was running and seeking help and she got
beat up for it.” ||
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