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04-10-09, Blog #3: Minneapolis settles law suit with the Mill City Five, causing more questions to be raised than answered.
The headline: Minneapolis pays settlement to black officers in discrimination suit.
What happened? And why? And why was $1.265 million left on the table? What about the long history of discrimination in the MPD, of which the incidents with these five was detailed in over 40 pages? What about their "legal prayer," their request in their law suit for legal receivership, that the MPD be placed under judicial supervision, just as what happened to the fire department 1972 - 1999 (longest in the federal court system?
FYI: due to Fire Department violations, a special oversight committee was also appointed to serve, from 1979-2000. Twice — 1992 and 1996 — sanctions were imposed on the City of Minneapolis for a total of $1 million. I served on that special committee. Stay tuned.
Posted Saturday, 4-11-09, 1:21 a.m.
04-05-09, Blog #2: "Why, in an information age, they attempt such cover-ups, mystifies us. The truth will out."
We asked the question above 3 years ago, in our column of August 2, 2006: In the death of Fong Lee, Justice is Demanded (reproduced in 2009 Blog #1).
Why, three years later, does the City of Minneapolis and its police department continue to attempt to maintain a closed society? Do they fear an open one? Why do they fear transparency and tolerance of responses? Why does Minneapolis consider itself a "state" that has to maintain "state secrets" when its function is to protect and represent the voters, not dictate to and deceive them? Why do the city and the city's police department continue to worship their sense of being the keepers of their own authority rather than keepers of political freedom and human rights, the true authority? When City Councilpersons are told by the city attorney they can't talk about these issues, we suggest that we have moved further away from representative government and closer to tyranny, and must again ask, who is watching the watchers?
Last week, we posted our Blog Entry of March 31, 2009: The revealing of the truth: nearly three years in the making, as we commented on the story by Reporter David Hanners in the 3-31-09 Pioneer Press, The final moments of Fong Lee, which had this damning subtitle: "Contrary to what Minneapolis police have claimed, Fong Lee didn't have a gun in his right hand when a patrolman chased him and then shot him eight times."
Hanners and the Pioneer Press followed that up with the front page story for April 5, 2009: Is the shooting of Fong Lee at the hands of a cop a story of valor, or deception? Police records are in conflict and raise specter of a plant. The story notes that the chief told the family and the Police Community Relation Council that Lee's finger prints were on the gun when the police lab reports there were non finger prints on the gun.
This reminds us of our December 20, 2006 Column #26: When the facts disappear, Minneapolis-style, and our end of 2006 column, Our Review of 2006 in Minneapolis.
We find it ironic that in the column before the one on Fong Lee, our column heading for July 19, 2006, was The Continued Big Lies: Minneapolis at its Worst.
We wrote in 2006 of the direct actions by the mayor to keep the gaps and widen them (Column #1) and of how the mayor and the police continued to harass our young men, shoot our unarmed men (Columns #1, #7, #9) and yet not fire at armed whites firing at them (Column #26).
And so, we have been treated to great journalism over the past month from the Pioneer Press regarding the gunning down of Fong Lee three years ago, as we read in these Pioneer Press stories: Expert: Video shows teen was unarmed just before Minneapolis cop gunned him down (Pioneer Press, March 30, 2009), and Lawsuit: Minneapolis cops planted pistol on teen after they gunned him down (March 20, 2009).
Too many in the community are blaming the police, which is obvious, but ignore the puppet masters pulling the strings behind the scene: the Mayor and City Council who hired this Chief (with only one voting against). The liars or enablers of liars are the Mayor and the City Council. Calling for the Chief's resignation puts the call in his hands: he won't do it. Secondly, it ignores the real decision makers, who back the Chief: the Mayor and City Council. If voters have any sense this year, they won't vote for any of them.
How can you vote for officials more interested in their perks of authority than rights of citizens who elected them to represent them? If Dolan is made the scape goat, the Mayor and City Council are let off the hook. We had called for a federal receivership over of the police department in the pasts. The PCRC was to make that unnecessary. The city and police chief fought the PCRC. When the mayor says about the chief that his "faith unshaken," as the Pioneer Press reports that the Mayor is " pleased with the direction the city and the department is taking,"how can we can have faith in the Mayor, the City Council, or the Chief?
What the Mayor and City Council have done, as we will see over the coming year, is set up the tax payers to have to pay millions in the several pending law suits due to their arrogance and refusal to honor the oaths of their office. In our 2003 book, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, we wrote that unrest, disturbance, etc., "is "the price Minneapolis is willing to pay for the status quo," i.e., no change. Are the taxpayers ready to confidently pay millions as a result of these suits as the price to maintain the status quo?
Posted April 6, 2009, 4:55 a.m.
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. 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.
Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for the columns. Please cite www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for blog entries and solution papers.
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