When the facts disappear, Minneapolis-style


Around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 9, along the 3500 and 3600 blocks of Bryant Avenue North were awakened by gunshots. What started out as the dispersing of young blacks turned into an ambush by neo-Nazi gunmen who opened fire on both police and blacks.

For days, residents waited for news coverage. As of the writing of this column, all major news outlets have declined to report this terrorist activity that will live in infamy in the black community.

Why infamy? Because of the nullification and reversal of how police respond to blacks by shooting them. We have asked police to respond with maximum restraint until they are sure instead of shooting first and finding suspects unarmed later. Despite these white neo-Nazis firing on them, the police did not return fire.

Undisputed facts: On Dec. 9, when White neo-Nazis fired on black youth and police officers, the police response was no use of guns. On Dec. 14, at the regular meeting of the Police Community Relations Council (PCRC), Police Chief Tim Dolan was asked by me, in my role as co-chair, pursuant to Article 2.28 of the Federal Mediation Agreement, if any critical incidents, including but not limited to public unrest, had taken place.

Interim chief’s response: No use of truth. To our shock and dismay, he said there were no critical incidents to report, even though Deputy Chief Allen had been at the ambush scene.

More amazing facts/smoking guns: Senior black officers (sergeant and above) were not made aware of this ambush that started with young black folk being told in this incident to get out of the neighborhood. After police stormed the house on the 3600 block of Bryant Avenue North, the suspects fired on the police and African American citizens, shouted racial epithets, and displayed their defiance by threatening to kill police and African American citizens.

Yet, no shooting response. And no follow-up media reports.

Thus, another disturbing smoking gun: The decision of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and all major media in this town to not report this attack of white neo-Nazis on young blacks and the police. According to a reporter at the Star Tribune, the interim chief, when asked four days later about this ambush shooting incident, said it was false as no such incident had taken place, stating that this columnist didn’t know what he was talking about.

But truth will out, as in this confirming smoking gun: Complaint #06344581, issued by the Hennepin County Attorney’s office on Dec. 11, charging two white neo-Nazi gunmen with terrorist and felony acts.

Part of the coverup was the deployment of supervisors from the Second Precinct rather than the African American commander in whose Fourth Precinct the incident took place. And so, four days later, the African American commander had not yet been informed about this attack in his precinct.

In fact, this incident had been so closed down that, on the early morning of Dec. 9, just six hours after the ambush, at the roll call of the Fourth Precinct, there was no information provided about the ambush attack. We have been absolutely startled by the coverup and by the desperate attempt to suppress the threat now posed against police and African American citizens.

Despite the danger and risk to the department’s own officers, the chief does not seem concerned about them. But we in this column are, just as we are certainly concerned about the African American community and the threat against its safety.

But sympathies for these neo-Nazis has won out.

Why a day of infamy? Because the Strib and police want to maintain the myth that only blacks are a danger to the peace, that white neo-Nazi guns don’t really exist, as both paper and police obscure and distort rather than inform and report. It appears that this department needs to be placed in federal receivership after all.

Massaging the numbers at the Minneapolis Police Department

In Thursday’s edition of the Star Tribune, page B4, an interesting chart above the fold, titled “Ethnic Diversity Among Minneapolis Police,” claims that there are 145 sworn minority members who are officers of the police department: 61 Blacks, 37 Hispanics, 24 American Indians and 23 Asians.

Like others in our community, we on the PCRC are puzzled why the quote of Interim Chief Dolan is a couple of months old. We also would like to know where 61 Black police officers are. We can’t find that many.

An informative exercise at our January PCRC meeting will be to match a picture for all 145 officers of color. That should be very revealing, particularly given the number of Black officers that have left the department in the last six months.

If you get a chance, go back and take a look at the chart. Why do the police and the Strib work so hard to continue to lower their credibility? Federal receivership should be the order of the day.

Ron Edwarts hosts “Black Focus” 5-6 p.m. Sundays on Channel 17, MTN-TV. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his watchdog role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between-columns web log at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.