Excessive-force case grows; recession hits state hard

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably seen Derryl Jenkins’ bruised face; these images are still visible on FOX9’s web page, and they’re ghastly, as Jenkins required seven stitches above his eye after an encounter with the police turned violent on Feb. 19, an encounter that Jenkins alleges was an example of excessive force. Today, a number of local websites are offering a video of the encounter taking from a police cruiser’s dashboard car — the most complete one, clocking in at nine minutes and seven seconds, accompanies Brandt Williams’s coverage of the story on the Minnesota Public Radio’s NewsQ website.

This video has become especially important in the case, as Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan has asked the FBI to review the video; FOX9 reprints Dolan’s written statement: “Some of the actions of responding officers, specifically the kicking of the suspect, give me concern; because of this, I am asking for an outside review by the FBI.” Police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia, in an interview with Elizabeth Dunbar of the Associated Press, seems somewhat more sanguine about the event, saying that force “doesn’t look good, but sometimes it is necessary, unfortunately,” and he suggests that people’s concerns about whether the use of force was excessive are based in their unfamiliarity with what it looks like.

But in Brandt Williams’s story, retired Minnesota police of Mike Quinn reviews the video and isn’t certain the amount of force is justified: “You’ve got a guy who’s down on the ground — passive resistance. He’s not fighting back. He’s not punching or kicking at anybody,” MPR quotes Quinn as saying. “Clearly there’s multiple punches being thrown by the officers, and kicks. From what I can see and just from the video, I would say somebody needs to investigate this because that appears to be completely out of line.

Apparently, Minnesota has been especially hard-hit by the recession, as G. Scott Thomas and Chris Newmarker of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal detail. They cite an analysis by their parent company that put Minnesota near the bottom of states recovering from the recession. Jana Shortal of KARE11, in the meanwhile, reminds us that even when the economy rebounds, it takes a while for businesses to begin rehiring. Shortal ends with these words: “Until Americans go back to work, it will be hard to even think that the down-turn is turning around.” On the plus side, we can probably expect that some people will be able to pick up money here and there by singing Depression-era hobo ballads in the street.

The constant refrain in health care reform criticism is that the government could not provide the quality or efficiency of care that the private sector does. We’ll overlook the fact that this presupposes that on the table is a reform plan that involves the government taking over health care, rather than health care insurance. There isn’t, but, of course, the discussion regarding health care reform has been marked by a disconcerting absence of facts, so let us look instead to an example of health care that is genuinely operated by the government: the Department of Veteran Affairs medical care. Minnesota Public Radio’s Lorna Benson talks to doctors in the Minneapolis VA system and finds that they view it as a “model of efficiency,” citing, among other examples, the VA’s state-of-the-art electronic filing system, its extensive system of quality measurement, and some built-in benefits that simplify cost-cutting.

Checking in with Tim Pawlenty (who, along with Michele Bachmann, has become grist for the Keith Olbemann scorn mill) the governor continues to beat the drum of his opposition to Obama’s health care reform, as demonstrated in a transcript from an interview with Greta Van Susteren on FOX in response to a rather pointed question from the “On the Record” host: “How do you do it? And why didn’t you do it the last eight years, if it’s such a serious problem?” Pawlenty waffles on the answer to the second part of the question, and peppers in a series of little tweaks to the health care system, but the oddest moment in the interview came when Pawlenty, unprompted, suddenly said “Brett Favre may still come to Minnesota, Greta.

This again? Yep, as summed up in a headline from FOX’s Jay Glazer: “The vibe at Vikings camp: Favre could come back.” The Pioneer Press’ Sean Jensen has more details, reminding us that, whatever the scuttlebut among Viking’s players, it is coach Brad Childress who makes the decision, and on July 29, Childress had this to say about a Favre signing: “There’s not a chance, from my standpoint.” There seems to be no comment from Favre himself, who, one presumes, is instead wandering through the streets, looking for children so he can offer them candy and then snatch it away when they are about to enjoy it.

Karen Youso of the Star Tribune reports on an untapped market: Apparently 70,000 of Somali-Americans in Minnesota who have a yen for camel milk, which is a traditional drink in East Africa but almost impossible to obtain here; perhaps the milk might also be a popular item at the State Fair. The story details fledgling attempts to meet this demand but is most interesting for its vivid description of the difficulties of milking a camel: “It’s done mostly by hand, on large, often uncooperative animals that can deliver a killer kick sideways.” Additionally, according to a source in the story, camels don’t just spontaneously give milk, but only provide it for the animal’s offspring. “The baby has to latch on and start sucking,” the source tells us, and then the milk can be taken from the remaining teats. How is the milk? Sweeter than cow’s milk, apparently, with, according to the story, “a killer kick.” Cue sad trombone music.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 08/18/2009 - 04:04 pm.

    Speaking of man crushes, when was the last time a Glean writer didn’t reference Keith Olbermann in a post. I’ll become a high brau member when I see O’Reilly’s show referenced.

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