After serving a term for murder, Kagalee Babu Brown left prison in 2011 and worked to turn his life around. Brown opened a printing shop with his fiancée, Katie Dupay, and had become recognized as a leader in the north Minneapolis business community.
But on Dec. 12, 2016, police raided Brown and Dupay's home and found two loaded guns, a potential violation of his probation. Brown, 42, has been locked up since, despite Dupay paying bail. On Friday, the Minneapolis NAACP will rally to demand he be freed and that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman drop the charges.
Dupay believes her fiancé is unfairly targeted. "The system is comfortable with charging him ... because he's a black man," Dupay said. "If you met him today, he's a teddy bear."
Freeman said in a statement that the case was charged "based on the evidence."
In April 1993, K.B. Brown was 18 when he gunned down Roynell Willis in south Minneapolis, according to court records. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
He served about 18 years, and on his release moved into a halfway house and got a job at Chipotle, Dupay said. In May 2014, the couple decided to open Wolfpack Promotionals, which they ran out of the basement of their northeast Minneapolis home.
Soon after they opened a shop, Dupay worried about her safety and decided to get a permit to carry a gun. Businesswomen in neighboring stores were being harassed, she said.
Dupay said they were told by Brown's probation officer that having a gun in their home would not be in violation of his parole if she owned the weapon and he didn't touch it.
The field services manager for Hennepin County Corrections, John Ekholm, said felons on probation "must not be found in the presence of a firearm" and that people are told to remove weapons from their homes before an offender moves in.
In the past two years, Brown's standing grew in the business community. Last May, Wolfpack Promotionals moved to the North Side. Brown sits on the boards for the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, the Neighborhood Economic Opportunity Network, and is board co-chair of the Main Street Alliance Minnesota, which advocates for small businesses on public policy issues.
On Dec. 10, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges posted a photo on her Facebook page of Brown and others winning an award from Take Action Minnesota for their efforts organizing giving more sick time to city workers.
Two days later, police broke down Brown and Dupay's door in an early morning raid. A confidential informant told police they would find a semiautomatic handgun in their home, according to criminal charges. Cops found two loaded guns on top of a dresser "in plain view," one matching the gun the informant said would be there. Each gun had an extra loaded magazine and a holster.
According to the criminal complaint, Brown told police that he knew the guns were in the home, but they belonged to Dupay. He said he and Dupay went to a gun range to shoot them, and helped her load and clean the weapons.
Dupay says that's twisting what he said. She said the guns were out because she was getting ready for work. They went to a gun range, Dupay said, but Brown sat in the car as she practiced using her weapon. When she needed help loading and cleaning the guns, he found a YouTube video for her, Dupay said. She has not been charged with a crime.
Two days after he was arrested, a Hennepin County judge set Brown's bail at $500, which Dupay paid. But the state Department of Corrections stepped in and took Brown to the Lino Lakes prison.
DOC spokeswoman Sarah Fitzgerald said Brown is being held on allegations he violated his release conditions. The DOC will hold a hearing for him on the violation only after Hennepin County has resolved the criminal case against him.