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2009 Blog Entries

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8-30-09, #10: Who is our neighbor and how do we "do unto them"?

In Chapter 3 of The Minneapolis Story (p. 62), under the heading "Justice as the Golden Rule Not Justice as Gold Rules," the question is raised regarding who is our neighbor as expressed in 7 religious and 2 philosopical versions of the most widely shared spiritual practice, the Golden Rule. One famous writer has suggested that there are three keys to good relationships, whether between individuals or groups: (1) kindness, (2) kindness, and (3) kindness.

So where is the kindness accorded Derryl Jenkins, who has had to have two brain surgeries due to the injuries at the hands of police from the way they "pushed" him, an innocent bystander, out of the way prior to a warrant assault?   Where is the kindness from the City Council, when, after he testified before them, he is made fun of by officials saying he sounds like shambling "Lurch" in the old Adams Family TV show? And where is the kindness accorded the Minneapolis tax payer having to cover the $495,000 awarded to Etheridge Chatham (see our August 26, 2009 column, MPD's 'culture of violence' still prevails. Assault on Derryl Jenkins ...). When city officials make fun of victims of the city, we better understand the city's refusal to maintain proper oversight of both actions and training of those tasked to take action.

Posted   8-31-09, 1:30 a.m.

8-29-09, #9: Minneapolis Police Training Chickens Come Home to Roost. The key for police seeking to achieve public safety is the same for people of color seeking to achieve jobs: training.

Training is the lynch pin everywhere. From day one of our lives, we are in training: learning how to speak with our tongues, to walk with our feet, and to manipulate objects with our hands. On Thursday and Friday, we talked about the training job seekers receive for jobs they are still denied.  

Today we talk about the training police receive that can lead to the denial of justice and freedom to people of color and, next to whites as well. Just as we are not satisfied with job trainers who stand silent as those they train are denied jobs, we are not satisfied with police trainers and those with oversight as they remain silent when those trained to deliver public safety are allowed to deny it to those they are trained to deliver it to.

Two headlines in the Star Tribune bring this to our attention. First, $495,000 settlement in cop's punch of bystander, and then secondly, Gang Strike Force supervisor resigns Minneapolis job.

In the first story, a police squad push an innocent bystander out of their way (he was 52 years old, a holder of a B.S. degree) walking to his mailbox in the hall of his public housing by hitting him in the head with a weapon's butt as they are " preparing to execute a high-risk search warrant." He winds up in the hospital requiring "two brain surgeries because of bleeding in his head caused by a subdural hematoma." That is some "push." He was just awarded $495,000.

It is said that the proof is in the pudding. We conclude from the article that the police are either over trained or undertrained, as too often police seem to think that the "subset" of "African-American males", as the article state its, "who showed the slightest inclination to not obey" a command" can not only be subjected to " force" but that they, the police, "can get away with" it. Given the nearly $14 million dollars awarded in incidents of wrongful injuries and deaths, since 2000, this is only partially true. Often the police officers does. But not the tax payer. One would think that training would be changed, as well as oversight. But, as the Star Tribune points out in a telling subheading: Council, mayor silent. Are these the type of si-called "public servants" we want to elect to oversee our public safety, when they act as if our wallets are their servants?

In the second story, a policeman, a member of the elite Metropolitan Gang Strike Force Unit, comes under pressure and resigns. He had been forced to off-duty status and restricted to his home during office hours. Why? Because he has not only struck a woman who is a Minneapolis Park Police employee, a woman who is not his wife although she is a woman who is the mother of his child, he used police satellite tracking devices to electronically stalk her. Are these the kind of people we want hired in public safety, let alone placed in an "elite" unit?

This elite unit, the Metropolitan Gang Strike Force, was comprised of officers from many city, state and federal public safety agencies. And yet they were so bad, other agencies pulled out it, and the state finally pulled the plug on it. We are sure many of the unit were good cops (and we like and support good cops). But we of the former PCRC (Police Community Relations Council) continually, for five years, not only brought up incidents like these in these two articles, we provided the documentation to prove it. The action of the city and police was to denounce us as crazy and not knowing what we were talking about (despite the documented facts).  

Indeed, we have posted over 5 dozen columns and blog entries since 2003 about such behavior of the police and the refusal of the city to provide proper oversight.

You can't keep truth down forever. And now, it pops up again. Note this line from the second story, "10 or 12 officers had engaged in criminal activity." And herein is the rub. And here is why it comes out: white people are now talking about this. It is now affecting white people. Once police think they can act criminally, they will spread beyond people of color to whites too, or else how can they "feed their habit?" Whites are now losing trust in the police. When people of color understandably lost confidence, it didn't matter. Now that white people are, it matters.  

Now whites too have to ask themselves if they really want to let people like the current Mayor, the current Chief of police, and the current City Council, to continue to be entrusted with overseeing the city's public safety training and application, when they silently let jobs be denied civilians trained for them and when they quietly continue to award large sums of tax payer money for the out of hand actions of police, refusing to insist on either better training or that this type of physical abuse training be stopped (whichever it is).

As whites lose confidence in the police, that means they are also beginning to lose confidence in this Mayor and this City Council that "looks the other way." We are in for a very interesting election year.

This leaves us with several key questions. (1) why do the mayor and council members remain silent? (2) why doesn't the Strib also list in their list of awards in the first article, the $700,000 awarded to Black police officers for racism, discrimination and white police misconduct toward Black police? (3) Why isn't 5 th Congressional District Representative Keith Ellison using some of the $66 million Congress yearly appropriates to each congress person on some of these training issues, training for jobs that are denied civilians and training of police that deny rights to citizens of color? (4) why does the DFL remain not only silent, but continue its role as the political party in control to only take action to maintain its power and not make changes it has the power to make in training that they continually allow to go on that then denies jobs to those trained, not to mention not stepping up to either include better training or to stop existing training on how police can physically abuse the rights of citizens of color, and allowing the continued drain on the taxpayer's public purse because of their refuse to act?

Posted August 30, 2:35 a.m.

8-28-09, #8: Trainers or plunderers? Demonstrating for jobs for people or money for selves?

Yesterday we applauded the demonstration to draw attention to the plight of minority jobs and the efforts of those who train African Americans for jobs to obtain funding for jobs. We support the battle seeking the end of discrimination in economic development, especially that by the city and its contractors who openly violate City compliance laws by not hiring minority workers and contractors.

Oh oh. It turns out their concern was money for their budgets that paid them, not jobs for those they trained. It turns out that money set aside for them has not been released by the State of Minnesota, and if not released by September 1, it goes back to the general treasury where, as one observe has put it, these hustlers can't plunder it.  

To "send a message" to the Department of Transportation in an effort to get it released, the demonstrators blocked traffic. We believe they would have a better chance if they admitted the truth reported in the columlns listed at the end of this blog entry and started there.

In May of this year, Insight published a story about Louis King of OIC saying he had federal funds to create 1,000 jobs in the African American community. Last week Louis King had to admit he did not have the funds, that they had not been released. And so the demonstration was held about the funds for the leaders, not funds for jobs. As listed below, we will continue to advocate for jobs for workers, not funds for "leaders".

This is what happens when the Governor of Minnesota and the Department of Transportation get tired of playing the games of the Mayor of Minneapolis and his allies that want to use government funding for themselves but not for the community. The state understandably doesn't want to take the blame for that. What is not understood is why the city and its minions think they can get away with their posturing.

Our "leaders" spend much time training African Americans for jobs but little in standing up for their being hired to use their newly acquired skills. A lot of young men were expecting to get jobs. They will be disappointed, at the hands of Black "leaders." As seen below, we have written about the economic stimulus and its potential to help our community. It is the right cause with the wrong people in charge, as they plunder and tear asunder. We first published about this in The Corrupt and Racist Construction Contract System, Chapter 9 of our book, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, in 2002. We have continued updating this shame in our columns since then. Why haven't the "leaders" used the facts in the book and columns to plead their case for jobs? That is the best way to get funds for their organizations.

We first published a roundup of columns in the Minnenapolis Spokesman Recorder in our Blog entry #21 of July 31, 2008 (Star Tribune...Denying Discrimination and Disinforming About the Black Community). That list is reproduced and updated below. It is with these that we urge Black leaders today, and those interested in "planning" for the communities of color, to start: advocating   for jobs rather than seeking funds to plunderor or to recycle among nonprofits, neither of which profit the community. Here is that updated list of selected columns, 2005-2009:

4-20-2005: Black share of $5 billion construction: Zero. What can be done to reverse "Blacks need not apply" for the coming great construction boom?

7-13-2005: Where is The Plan for Black's share of jobs, development?

6-07-2006: Hallelujah! Good Times Are Here Again! "Best Effort". False alarm.

5-09-2007: Blacks remain barred from big-money projects

7-04-2007: Where's The Jobs Plan? Minneapolis Kremlin initiates retaliation

8-08-2007: Where is the jobs plan for Blacks for the bridge cleanup and re-construction?

1-23-08: Who will challenge discrimination in this city?

3-5-08: Response to a Challenge Baseball Authority Responds

6-4-08: Stadiums go up while compliance system breaks down

2-18-09: Where's the plan to ensure Blacks benefit from economic stimulus? Now's the time to ask your representatives.

2-25-09: With stimulus funds coming, where's the plan for inclusion?

7-15-09: Mismanagement forced re-bid of Marquette and 2nd Avenue Project. Cover-up keeps city council in the dark.

We urge the Black leadership of the Twin Cities to begin with these columns if they are to be truly successful in obtaining jobs for our community and, in the process, funding for their organizations. Right now they have it backwards. We suggest they turn around and get it right.

Posted 8-28-09, 11:10 p.m.

08-27-09, #7: In Minneapolis, training doesn't equal jobs for the trained, only the trainers (we are a city of over employed trainers with an "army" of underemployed, underutilized trained workers).

Readers of this web page know of our proposed solutions regarding ending discrimination against minorities in general and, in particular our battle seeking the end of discrimination in economic development , especially that by the city and its contractors who openly violate City compliance laws by not hiring minority workers and contractors. So we understand the frustration and anger of the Rev. Jerry McAffee led 20 demonstrators who, with 6 SUVs, shut down Olson Highway (Mn Hwy #55) leading into downtown Minneapolis. One arrest was made. Threats were received from backed up white motorists. And the mayor's office has been inundated with calls from angry commuters being late for jobs that themselves may be tenuous. Absent was OIC leader Lewis King and his "100 Hard Hats", who had promised to be there. Why did not King, with a military background, not leave authorization for the deployment of his 100 Hard Hats in support of Rev. McAffee?  

The demonstration also has symbolic value: it is two blocks from the new baseball stadium that failed to follow compliance in the hiring of minority workers and contractors, and four blocks from the possible location on Glenwood Avenue of a new Vikings stadium (who will they hire), and near Heritage Park (the Holman project we have written about) that displaced Black residents for new housing for whites.  

We understand the anger of motorists regarding tactics that make them late for work. Our question to them is why they are not angry that their officials use tactics that don't allow minorities work at all.

What's next? Rumor has it that a second demonstration will soon shut down the highway leading into Minneapolis from the South. This demonstration will coincide with the opening of both the Viking and Gopher football seasons (remember the Gophers didn't hire minorities to build their new stadium either).

Posted August 27, 2009, 5:12 p.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

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and for the columns. Please cite for blog entries and solution papers.

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