Police launch investigation over reaction to downtown Minneapolis protest

Reports from Wednesday evening’s downtown Minneapolis protest against the decision of the Dane County District Attorney not to bring charges against a police officer who shot and killed a young man in Madison earlier this year are not very clear at this point, but at some point — for some reason — Minneapolis police started spraying the crowd with “irritant.” The Star Tribune’s Liz Sawyer sheds a little light:  “Between 50 and 100 activists closed down two blocks of downtown Minneapolis Wednesday night before marching to Hennepin County Government Center to protest the March shooting death of biracial youth Tony Robinson by a white police officer in Madison, Wis. … Many protesters in Minneapolis could be seen dousing their eyes with milk in an attempt to counteract the effect of chemical mace being sprayed. A 11-second video posted on Twitter apparently showing an Minneapolis officer spraying a chemical into a bandana-wearing protester’s face quickly went viral. …”

You can watch a video of the march on Nekima Levy-Pounds’ Star Tribune blog. Levy-Pounds blog also raises the news that “… a ten year old boy was pepper sprayed by a Minneapolis police officer during a march through downtown.”

Final Exit found guilty. The AP (via KSTP) reports: “The national right-to-die group Final Exit Network Inc. was convicted Thursday of assisting in the suicide of a Minnesota woman who took her life in 2007 after years of suffering with chronic pain. … Jurors also found the group guilty of a lesser charge of interfering with a death scene. The group faces a maximum fine of $33,000. Sentencing has been set for August. … Prosecutors argued at trial that [Doreen] Dunn didn’t know how to take her life until agents of Final Exit Network provided her with a ‘blueprint’ to do so.”

Home Depot: if we can’t have you, Cottage Grove, no one can. The Pioneer Press’ Bob Shaw reports: “Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey is lashing out at Home Depot — the company he says is crippling city development for the next 15 years. … He said that after leaving the building empty for seven years, Home Depot is demanding a ban on neighboring businesses that sell anything it sells. … Even though the city would own the property, it would have to agree to keep any Home Depot competition out of the entire mall for 15 years.”

A St. Paul executive is missing after Tuesday’s Amtrak crash in Philadelphia. “An Ecolab vice president based in St. Paul is among the passengers unaccounted for after the deadly derailment of an Amtrak train Tuesday night in Pennsylvania,” say the Pioneer Press and AP. “Bob Gildersleeve, vice president of corporate accounts for Ecolab’s institutional business, had a ticket for the train, his father told the Associated Press, and relatives have been unable to get information from Amtrak on his whereabouts.” UPDATE: Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports that Gildersleeve was killed in the crash.

Pioneer Press parent company Digital First Media is no longer for sale, apparently. Romenesko has the memo. UPDATE: Capital New York’s Ken Doctor has a more detailed post, suggesting that DFM may be looking to sell off its papers in clusters, rather than selling the whole company to one buyer.

In other news…

Minneapolis day care Salama Child Care Center raided by Feds over safety concerns [Star Tribune]

Evangelical leaders question Scott Walker’s commitment to the social issues dear to them. [Politico]

Minneapolis Urban League axes its alternative high school following criticism [Star Tribune]

“Minnesota Somalis see chance to lead fight against female genital cutting” [Star Tribune]

Atheists can now perform weddings in Washington County. Is that brimstone we smell? [MPR’s NewsCut]

Ely’s out of Outside magazine’s “Best Towns” bracket [Duluth News Tribune]

Marijuana expensive in North Dakota. Editor unable to resist obvious pun. [Inforum]

Starting this summer, you’ll be able to get the heck out of Wisconsin a lot faster. [AP via KARE]

Your afternoon day brightener: “More than 50 years later, football great Bobby Bell fulfills college dream” [MPR]

There is only one stoplight in Dodge County [Rochester Post Bulletin]

Smelt parade in Duluth this weekend [Duluth News Tribune]

Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2015 - 12:58 pm.

    Night protests again?

    I’m not saying anyone should have been sprayed but when are these people going to learn that having unauthorized demonstrations at night is bad idea for soooooo many reasons.

  2. Submitted by Karen Cole on 05/14/2015 - 01:10 pm.

    No system that works for addressing police misconduct in Mpls.

    If accounts are true about Mace and pepper spray being used yesterday at the Minneapolis protest — and they seem to be – this is a result of a lack of any system that works for addressing police misconduct in the City. The police union has seen to that. The City has paid out millions to settle police misconduct lawsuits. And the police are violating people’s rights.

  3. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 05/14/2015 - 02:52 pm.

    I support this protest…

    and I don’t support police brutality but it seems dumb to bring your kid to a protest that could turn violent.

    And I’d like to know what Paul U means by “these people” and why should protests, authorized or not, only be held during the day? And if we got all protests authorized they’d still have Jim Crow lunch counters in Alabama. I have a guess of what the protesters would think of the term “these people” and who would use that term.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2015 - 03:44 pm.

      Ya know those big protests where 10,000 people march…

      from uptown downtown or from the Cathedral to the Capital? They get a parade permit and 4 cops escort them without any mace. This was essentially an unpermitted march or parade. Fine, but you take your chances when you take your chances. Things like candle light vigils are fine at night, but marches that take over city streets in the dark invite problems for a variety of reasons, that’s kind of obvious isn’t it? Sure, it’s a free country, march at night if you want… but it’s not very smart. “These people” are the people who are protesting, did you have someone else in mind?

      The Jim Crow reference is a little grandiose. MLK went to great lengths to avoid violent confrontations, he didn’t ignore the risks. But hey, when your complaint is rampant police brutality springing surprise protests on the cops at night makes all the sense in the world. Whatever.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/14/2015 - 04:29 pm.

        “You take your chances”

        I’m not sure those “chances” should include being pepper sprayed by the police.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2015 - 04:50 pm.

          Yeah, the problem with life…

          YOU don’t get to pick and choose the consequences of your actions… that’s why they call it: “taking a chance”. If you could cross off all the consequences that you don’t like in life… you wouldn’t really be taking any chances now would you?

          I’m not saying anyone should’ve been maced but clearly, like or not, when you are confronted by police that’s a chance you’re taking. We don’t give them all that gear just for show.

          • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 05/15/2015 - 06:43 am.

            …and why do we give them all that gear?

            Tasing that guy in the skyway for not talking to them, pepper spraying these protesters for insulting them, going into that house in Milwaukee armed and then killing a psychotic guy because he was afraid of losing his weapon. He calls for backup, goes in without a weapon, the guy gets subdued but maybe the cop takes a couple extra punches. No need for killing until the over-armed cop escalated it.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/15/2015 - 09:28 am.

            “I’m not saying anyone should’ve been maced”

            And that should end the discussion right there.

            Why was there a confrontation with the police in the first place? Did the protesters do anything that merited the use of mace? Was there anything that merited a police confrontation? We should not have to worry if the police are going to attack us if we are somewhere we have every right to be.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/14/2015 - 05:10 pm.

        King George

        This country really went off the rails with all that rebellion and Boston tea Party stuff. Amazing but true, they never got King George’s permission.

      • Submitted by Karen Cole on 05/14/2015 - 07:36 pm.

        MLK and protests

        MLK put people in harm’s way, knowing some would get hurt. And they did. Photos of children getting run down with fire hoses. And police dogs attacking people. Those pictures broadcast around the country is part of what made progress happen. MLK took a chance.

      • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 05/15/2015 - 06:38 am.

        So, bottom line is…

        You have to get permission from the people you are protesting against before you protest. Maybe you should put together a manual of acceptable protest procedures since you seem to have a list. Then we could distribute it to all those groups supporting oppressed members of society.

        “But hey, when your complaint is rampant police brutality springing surprise protests on the cops at night makes all the sense in the world.” It does, doesn’t it. It showed the cops for what they are too often: thin-skinned over-armed bullies.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2015 - 04:38 pm.

    Systems of accountability

    Yes. For one thing we need civilian review boards with teeth in every city or county depending on what the numbers are. Police fight this tooth and nail and usually win one or another but they simply cannot be trusted “police” themselves or each other.

    We also need to walk back upstream and undue all the policy decisions of the last 3 decades that led to escalation training rather than containment and de-escalation training. Trainers keep claiming that control and safety are the same thing but they’re not. Police policies of escalating force in order to establish or maintain control can actually increase the dangers.

    I remember back in the mid to late 80s when Bouza was the MPLS chief and Anarchist took over Lake and Hennepin for one night. Cops were lined up with shields and riots clubs (those long thick clubs) ready to pounce. Bouza and the mayor decided to just leave it alone and sent all but a 6 or 8 cops home. By morning the protest was over and street was clear. Fifteen years later those protesters would be met with mace and arrests.

    Finally, we need to recognize the institutional racism inherent in all these laws and ordinance enforcement’s that bring cops into constant adversarial contact with people of color. When a white guy wants to carry a gun with a silencer for personal defense politicians practically trip over each other tying to make it legal. Meanwhile a switchblade will get a black guy killed. White guys want to buy and resell Vikings tickets so we legalize scalping… but then we choke a black guy to death for selling cigarettes on the street without a license. And so it goes. You criminalize all these minor violation and technical trespasses and then send a militarized police force into these communities with orders to strictly enforce the law… what do you expect?

    • Submitted by Sue Halligan on 05/15/2015 - 02:50 pm.

      Where Is Tony Bouza When We Need Him?

      Yeah, I remember that guy. He was cool, and so was his wife. A lot of the disorder in the streets today is due to police force overreaction.

  5. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/14/2015 - 05:22 pm.

    Evangelical Voters

    Evangelicals are giving Gov. Walker a raw deal. Since Reagan ran in 1980, economic conservatives have been telling social conservatives what they want to hear at election time, and giving them absolutely nothing afterward. It’s been working that way for decades, why hold Walker to a different standard?

    When Sam Brownback was a Senator, he made verbal hay over the moral stench emanating from Hollywood. His voters ate it up. He had a chance to do something about it when the Telecommunications Act was before the Senate. He could have raked Hollywood over the coals. But of course “Hollywood” is actually large media corporations, so Sam voted for the Telecommunications Act. He knew social conservatives only care about rhetoric, not results. Nothing has changed.

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