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Posts about Public safety

Student sues police officer, saying he knocked her unconscious

Posted by: Libor Jany Updated: April 17, 2015 - 10:08 AM

UPDATE: Police spokesman John Elder said in an email that he could not comment on pending litigation, but that "every allegation that is received by this department receives the most thorough investigation possible to determine the facts in each and every case."

Police union chief John Delmonico defended Barze, saying that use of force is justified in cases like this, where “it appears that she obstructed him doing his job.”

He continued: "If she obstructed the police officer we can use force and in the event of use-of-force...as long as he got her medical attention...then he did what he was supposed to do."

“It’s too bad with these civil suits that these allegations come out and they’re public and everybody wants to jump to conclusions that the cop did something bad, Delmonico said. “I believe that in the end, officer Barze will be absolved of any wrongdoing.”


ORIGINAL POST: A 23-year-old woman sued a Minneapolis police officer and the city on Wednesday, claiming that her civil rights were violated when the officer punched her during an arrest last June for failing to pay a taxi fare and left her “lying unconscious and bleeding in the street.”

The woman, Madelyn R. Milton, of Maple Grove, filed the lawsuit in federal district court Wednesday through her attorney, Robert Bennett, of Minneapolis. The suit maintains that the officer, Tyrone Barze Jr., used excessive force when he punched Milton in the face and knocked her unconscious as she tried to record him arresting several of her friends.

Bennett said Wednesday that the case revolves around “the repetitive conduct of an officer who is really the kind of officer that Mayor Hodges talked about in her open letter to the communities of Minneapolis last October, who violates the public trust and who acts this way with impunity,” referring to comments Hodges made last fall vowing to root out cops who abuse their power.

The city attorney’s office, which represents officers in civil cases, and a police spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit asserts that on June 1, 2014, Milton, a second-year doctoral student in physical therapy at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, and a group of friends were returning by taxi from a night out when they started arguing with the cabdriver over a fare.

Barze arrived on the scene after the driver called police and ordered the group to pay the fare, according to the suit. When two of Milton's friends pulled out their cell phones to record the encounter, the suit alleges, he knocked their phones away and placed them under arrest.

Milton claims that Barze confiscated her phone after she too started recording him and when she “took a step or two after Barze” to get it back, he turned and punched her in the face, “knocking her to the ground, where she struck the back of her head and she lay unconscious and bleeding in the street.”

She suffered a traumatic brain injury when she hit her head on the street, according to the suit, which is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

"As he has done several times in the past in efforts to cover up his unconstitutional misconduct, Barze falsely reported that Milton struck him multiple times in the back, among other false statements and exaggerations in his supplement," the suit read. Obstruction charges against Milton were later dismissed, her attorney said.

“These are medical students for crying out loud, this isn’t the Crips and the Bloods," Bennett said. "And he shouldn’t do it to the Crips or the Bloods either.”

Barze, a seven-year veteran of the force, has been named in at least four pending or past suits, including one in which he’s accused of "unreasonably" pepper spraying the general manager of a popular Uptown bar, a case the city settled out of court for $34,000.

He has also been accused of using a “neck restraint” to control a combative high school student, causing the teenager to lose consciousness, and applying excessive force when arresting an outreach worker outside a North Side Cub Foods and then threatening to shoot witnesses to the incident.

Death of man found in Willard-Hay ruled a homicide

Posted by: Libor Jany Updated: April 15, 2015 - 5:53 PM

The Hennepin County medical examiner's office ruled today that the death earlier this week of a 31-year-old man in the Willard-Hay neighborhood was a homicide.

The man, 31-year-old Marcus Tyrone Hunter, of St. Louis Park, died Monday of a gunshot wound to the chest, in front of a house in the 2300 block of Russell Avenue North, authorities said.

His body was found slumped over in a vehicle outside the house by officers responding to a shots fired call in the area shortly after 2 p.m. Authorities were not immediately able to determine when the crime took place.

Police spokesman John Elder declined to release additional information Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation.

The slaying, the city's eighth of the year, capped a bloody week in Minneapolis with with three homicides and numerous non-fatal shootings.

Crystal man pleads guilty to shooting Minneapolis officer

Posted by: Libor Jany Updated: April 15, 2015 - 4:41 PM

A man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to shooting a Minneapolis police officer earlier this year, as part of a plea bargain that will send him to prison for more than 13 years.

Andrew Neal, 43, of Crystal, pleaded guilty to two felony counts – first-degree assault on a peace officer and burglary – in connection with the shooting of officer Jordan Davis, who was shot in the shoulder after responding to a domestic violence call. Davis said he expected to return to his job in several weeks.

A few hours before his trial was to begin Tuesday, Neal entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors that calls for him to serve 161 months in prison for the assault charge, to run concurrently with a 111-month sentence for the burglary charge. Under the deal, Neal, a former police informant with a lengthy criminal history, will have to serve at least two thirds of the sentence, authorities said.

Prosecutors said that on Feb. 21, the defendant shot Davis with a 9-millimeter handgun as he walked back to his squad car outside an apartment building in the Jordan neighborhood, although Neal’s attorney questioned whether his client knew he was targeting a police officer.

The incident, which came amid a rash of shootings nationwide of police officers, sparked an eight-hour manhunt that extended across the city. When he was taken into custody, prosecutors said Neal thanked the arresting officers for not shooting him.

On Tuesday afternoon, the 11th-floor courtroom was crammed with more than 60 police officers – “I don’t think we need those guys today, ”one attorney quipped, as a bailiff walked past – in a show of support for Davis, who sat in the front row with his family. Several feet away, two members of Neal’s family sobbed softly as the sentence was read.

During his victim impact statement, Davis called Neal a “drain on society” and said he and his fellow officers were there “to celebrate your absence from society.”

“Congratulations on going back to prison, where you belong,” he continued. “We’ll be waiting for you to slip up again and pull you right back where you belong, right back in prison.”

Neal gave mostly one-word answers to the judge's questions, but when given an opportunity to speak before being sentenced he apologized to Davis and his family.

Prosecutors dropped a domestic assault charge after Neal's former girlfriend stopped cooperating with authorities, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Minneapolis kicks off road construction season

Posted by: Updated: April 14, 2015 - 2:22 PM

By Jessica Lee

Star Tribune

The city of Minneapolis is embarking on a busy road construction season, rebuilding, repaving or sealing more than 50 miles of roadway.

With Minnesota Vikings stadium construction and other projects underway, downtown Minneapolis will be the focus of much of the roadwork.

Along with street reconstruction and resurfacing work, utility crews will be working on underground lines and mains, city officials say.

The city has mapped downtown street projects to help motorists navigate the area during the construction season.

Maps are available here.

Here are some details by the city:

2015 street construction by the numbers

Resurfacing projects               30.38 miles
Reconstruction projects          3.28 miles
Seal coating projects              20.20 miles
Total                                       53.86 miles

2015 street construction at a glance

Downtown projects – There will be a lot of construction on downtown streets this season. In many cases, the work is being performed by utilities working on buried lines.

Nicollet Mall – The entire mall will soon be reconstructed. Before that work gets underway, crews will be updating utility lines beneath the roadway.

6th Street south – This project, led by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, is converting 6th Street to two-way traffic from 11th Avenue South to Park Avenue. 

LaSalle Avenue  – Starting in April, crews will reconstruct LaSalle Avenue from Eighth Street to 12th Street South.

Hennepin-Lyndale corridor– The Minnesota Department of Transportation will redeck bridges that connect the Hennepin-Lyndale corridor to Interstate 94 and Interstate 394. City crews will also be replacing and renovating a sanitary sewer line located alongside the Lowry Hill Tunnel and underneath the Loring Bike Trail in preparation for the roadway work next year, when the corridor itself will be reconstructed.

Other major street projects:

26th Avenue North – The two-year project involves improving the entire length of this North Side street. Two sections of 26th Avenue will be renovated this year: one from Theodore Wirth Parkway to West Broadway Avenue, and the other from Lyndale Avenue North to Second Street North.

Minnehaha Avenue/Nawadaha Boulevard – This is another two-year project. The work, led by Hennepin County, will involve reconstructing Minnehaha Avenue from 38th Street East to Nawadaha Boulevard this year, and from Lake Street to 38th Street East next year. 

Minnehaha Avenue – Separate from the County-led project, the City of Minneapolis will be reconstructing a two-block section of Minnehaha Avenue, between 24th Street East and 26th Street East.

Eighth Street SE – The roadway will be reconstructed east of 15th Avenue SE to the dead end. 
24th Street East and Snelling Avenue – This fall, crews will reconstruct Snelling Avenue between 22nd Street East and 24th Street East. One block of 24th Street will also be reconstructed. Before that street work begins, A storm surge chamber will be added to eliminate storm water geysers in the area. 

Street resurfacing – More than 30 miles of City streets will be resurfaced throughout Minneapolis this season including 29 miles in the Powderhorn West and Penn/McKinley neighborhoods. 

St. Anthony Parkway Bridge – Crews will begin dismantling and replacing the St. Anthony Parkway Bridge, which spans a rail yard in Northeast Minneapolis.   

Burnham Road Bridge – Deck support structure will be reconstructed on this bridge in the Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood.

11th Avenue South Bridge – Crews will repair and resurface this bridge, which crosses 4th Street South in Downtown East.

Seal coating – Streets that are in good shape can be seal coated to prolong the life of the driving surface. City crews plan to sealcoat more than 20 miles of roadway in Minneapolis.

Parkways – Public Works and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board collaborate regarding pavement management, and maintenance and construction of the parkway system.  A little more than a mile of roadway on Cedar Lake Parkway and West River Parkway will be resurfaced by City crews in 2015, and another 2.14 miles will be seal coated.

Jessica Lee is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.

Authorities identify woman found fatally shot in south Minneapolis

Posted by: Libor Jany Updated: April 13, 2015 - 11:48 PM

Authorities have identified the woman who was found shot and mortally wounded Saturday afternoon in south Minneapolis as 21-year-old Ayan Abdi Abdulahi.

Abdulahi, of Bloomington, died of a single gunshot wound to the head, the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office said in a news release Sunday night. She was found sometime after 2 p.m. by officers responding to a shots fired call at a duplex on the 2400 block of Portland Avenue.

Neighbors said a resident came upon the body after he awoke from a nap and called police. Abdulahi was pronounced dead at the scene.

The killing was the city’s seventh homicide of the year. No arrest has been made.

Police have not offered a motive for the slaying, but neighbors and a person familiar with the investigation said it stemmed from a domestic dispute.


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