Sept. report, part 2: Courtwatch and Precinct reports

COURTWATCH, Nnamdi Okoronkwo, Minneapolis City Attorney presenting.
UPDATES

  • Kelli Durow (aka Tamera Hoveland) 39 city contacts since 2017, 38 in the Second Pct. Habitual trespassing on or near U of MN.  “Rule 20 Return*” for 8 charges. Further charge 4th degree assault. Now has a Bench Warrant and is on Sign and Release.**
  • Samuel Hasse out of custody.  Has a 10/22 pretrial for 5th degree assault, theft, 4th degree damage to property, tamper vehicle, disorderly conduct.  4 citations were closed and dismissed on 8/13 (for disorderly conduct, trespassing (2), 3rd degree burglary)  Veterans’ Court ordered him to complete treatment for three other citations on 8/17. Review hearing on 9/14.
  • Daniel Heacock – Did not appear for his  08/11/20 hearing for theft and check forgery in the 1st Precinct.  He now has an active Bench Warrant.  Heacock has been found incompetent in the past.
  • Kirk Robledo was discharged from Hennepin County Probation and released to Ramsey County Probation.
  • Michael Zaccardi was released before our July meeting but committed 5th degree assault on 7/13.  His pretrial is scheduled for 10/1.

AWAITING A HEARING

  • Richard  Breen – May, 2020: Richard Breen is out of custody and waiting for a Pretrial, which has been scheduled to 9/30/20 (Restorative Court)
  • Cody Horton has a review hearing (MHC) on 9/24, rescheduled from 8/13 .
  • Christian Klockeman is a repeat trespasser around U of M and has a Felony threat of violence charge 11/11/19.  Hearing on 6 charges was rescheduled for 9/22 (from 7/14/20)
  • Joshua Poplawski was released from the workhouse on 10/30/19.  He had received multiple trespass citations from 11/7/19, mostly in the U of MN area and received a Trespass Violate citation on 2/4/20.  On 12/22/19 a business at 9XX Washington Ave. reported a new trespass; under Rule of 6 (probation violation) he was booked in HCJ; his pretrials and arraignments were  pushed back to 10/1 and 12/9
  • Leslie Wade There were no updates on his hearing on 9/30 for three trespass charges.  He also has a 9/17 hearing in Robbinsdale for Diso. Conduct and a 10/8  hearing, also in Robbinsdale for 4th degree property damage.

NO UPDATES

  • Tanner DeWitt: Convicted of felony receiving stolen property  8/18/19; convicted of receiving stolen property on 9/26/19.  Dept of Correction,  release 9/8/20, probation to 2/5/21.
  • Johnny Hall — amended sentence   07/08/20 to serve 30 days, credit 2 days, serve as EHM — i.e. Electronic Home Monitoring.
  • Paula Heile remains on probation until 7/12/21. No further updates.
  • Miles Shaw was released from DOC on  4/27/20 and will be on parole to 9/25/20.
  • *Rule  20:  Per www.MNCourts.gov:  Rule 20 evaluations occur in criminal cases when there is a belief that a defendant may not be competent to proceed with the case or was not responsible at the time of the alleged offense because of mental illness or developmental disability. [applies to Durow’s situation]
  • **Sign and Release:  Per HCDC Pretrial Detention Reduction document (April, 2020)
  • “Sign-and-Release In 2016, the City of Minneapolis began a Sign-and-Release warrant program for people charged with a misdemeanor by mailed summons but who did not appear in for their court hearing. In these cases, the court is not positive the summons reached the person, so when law enforcement next connects with the person, they are given a date to appear in court. Soon, this program was rolled out to the entire county. After two-and-a-half years of this program, 66% of the people given a new date appeared for court.”

City Attorney Nnamdi Okoronkwo searched the lists over the weekend.  The cases in court now are those dealing with people who hurt people.  Those cases are not eligible for Courtwatch.  Our list will remain the same until the backlog has worked down to livability cases that are handled through Specialty Court assignments. 

CPS Juarez said that Lionel Timms was arrested and charged with assault in the Nicollet Island neighborhood.    This was done in broad daylight, with plenty of witnesses.  The victim is a person who works in the area.   Would the court be interested in impact statements?   Mr. Okoronkwo said he’d check and get back to Nick.  Nick continued that the Nicollet Island Neighborhood Assn, and the local Business Association would be two good places to request statements.  He added that this is another good example of neighbors stepping up to help officers make this arrest.   Neighbors kept eyes on the suspect and were able to ID him to officers at a bus stop.  

Question:  A person on the U campus sees Poplawski on campus almost every day.  Does he have a stable home or is he homeless?  Most of his crimes are trespassing or livability crimes.

CPS Juarez:  He’s currently homeless.  He is generally passive but has gotten aggressive with some of the building managers.

Okoronkwo:  I charge a lot of these cases.   If we don’t have the ability to hold someone,  or even put them into a program, it’s hard to handle them.   Poplawski was part of the “Downtown 100”, a program that was started 10 years ago as part of the Downtown Improvement Program.  The goal was to I.D. chronic offenders — people who continue to commit livability offenses.   The Probation Officer down there did some intense monitoring, working hard to find housing, to help with addictions.  The goals included reducing social services and police calls to the area and to make the streets Downtown feel safer. 

The program is still running but given the pandemic, it’s more difficult to hold people.  Trespass is a gross misdemeanor if you accumulate a number of charges, so the lawyers can ask for a longer term, like 90 days or more, time needed  for a person to get some benefit from a program.  Holly Ihrke pointed out that if they can be sentenced to the workhouse, they can get the full chemical dependency treatment, but it takes 180 days to get through the whole process.
STATE OF THE PRECINCT:
Emilie spotted a list of crimes in the Star Tribune — a list of nine incidents in Marcy Holmes over a very short time.  There was also a list on the SafeU alert,

Inspector Loining said that patrols have been stepped up, in coordination with the UMPD.  He made the point that these incidents are not random.   These people search the area looking for victims.   There’s nothing “random” about which person they choose.   It’s going to be the one they’re sure they can assault/rob/carjack or whatever–easier targets.  There is always an uptick of crime when students return to campus but this is unusually large, triggered partly by the pandemic, by the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, and more.  

MPD staffing has been in the news. So far, the Second Precinct has remained stable.   The numbers go up and down but not by much. The Second Precinct officers are making sure they are a strong presence, throughout the Precinct. 

The Second Precinct is pushing crime prevention and personal safety tactics.    Walk in numbers on well-lit streets.   Put your phone away, but know how to call 911 on it. 

CPS Nick Juarez added that the MPD needs the community to be the eyes and ears for the police.  Report suspicious behavior, always. 

Don’t think that the robberies in Marcy Holmes and in NE are random — they are planned!   These are bad people who have a plan of action.   They spot a target, go into the action they’ve planned, and quickly head for the car with a confederate behind the wheel, waiting for them near an exit route like Lowry or East Hennepin. These robberies are over in less than 3 minutes.
It’s important for us to plan also.  As soon as you I.D. a potential threat, you must be prepared to act!  Carry a flashlight or a personal alarm (130-140 decibels, from Dick’s Sporting Goods or online).  Be prepared to create a distraction. They surprised you so you want to surprise them back. In a couple of incidents the victim screamed and others came to assist her and scared the robbers away.  Drawing attention to yourself can be helpful.

One very important thing:  if you believe you are being followed, call 911 immediately — don’t wait and hope you’re wrong.  You can tell 911 there have been robberies in your neighborhood and you think you might be a target. Do you know what button you have to push on your phone to call 911 — find out!

“This is a real life threat.  There are bad guys out there right now, committing robberies.   You have to be aware of that, and you have to have a plan when you go out.”
QQ:  What’s happening in the rest of the Precinct?Inspector Loining:  The Second Precinct is a beautiful place to live and work, we all know that.   But we are busy!   There is a reason we’re employed.  He listed a few other spots that need close attention.  Check the crime maps FFI
QQ: Parties as students are coming back.   At what point do we get to call the police or 911 or someone about social distancing!   Parties are afternoons, early evenings, this isn’t a noise issue.  It’s a public health issue.
Inspector Loining:  So far, what the CPS’s and officers can do is remind and inform.   MPD is working with UMPD, with the Greek Council and with others to inform and re-inform.   Unless they get a direct order, the MPD can’t issue a citation. 

QQ:  What can we in SE Como and other places do to raise awareness in young people.   “Don’t do dumb things” is a difficult lesson to teach. 

Inspector Loining related that, working with the Greek Council on crime prevention, he had to say that if someone has had too much to drink or whatever, don’t just put them out on the sidewalk.  Send someone with them.   Take them home. Take care of them. Keep them safe. 

Nick added that he doesn’t want people to think that he or the Inspector think the people who get robbed are just “not aware” — Some of the people who’ve been assaulted have just gotten out of an Uber.  A couple of victims were carrying groceries from the car into the house.   These are times you might want to take an extra second to look around, see if anyone is watching you.  If you’re in your vehicle, the doors should be locked.  Sitting around and waiting for someone with the radio on?  Lock your car doors.
Finally, Nick pointed out that last year at this time, the Second Precinct was very busy with much more serious crime including a murder.  It has eased back from that level.

This year, there is a lot going on in social media: some of it is correct, some is misleading and some is false.   That’s why the MPD puts out alerts and announcements — to lay out what’s true.

Emilie:  Last year, I joined Nick and Rashid on a safety walk around Van Cleve Park.  They provided me with handouts to use as an introduction, and I watched as they approached the first people we met on our walk.  Then I followed their lead.  I strongly encourage people who are concerned about their neighborhood, to ask for a safety walk and join it.   You will learn a lot, and frankly, it was fun!

Last question about the tent city in Logan Park.   A neighbor is concerned about safety in her neighborhood and her park with all the campers there.   Rashid replied that he and Luther Kreuger are aware of resident concerns.   They are keeping track of incidents, which so far include overdoses, some reports of violence and other issues.  Unfortunately this is not a MPD project.   It’s under the purview of the Park Board Police.   They have set up a site that explains how the encampment came to exist, who authorized it, whom to call with concerns.  BUT, the MPD is still supporting you, the residents.  If you see suspicious activity, we still want you to call 911!  MPD wants to know about it.

QQ: is 911 going to go to MPRBPD or MPD?
Rashid:  it depends on what it is and where it is, but we want to know about it.   Something that is park-related will be answered by MPRBPD.   If it’s criminal activity MPD will respond. 

One place to see how criminal activity  is rising near or away from parks is to use the interactive crime maps, which you can find here:  https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=576634548ffc4304bf9df0fb2b802f8d
RAIDSonline.com holds stats for cities across the U.S.  For Minneapolis RAIDS  takes you to the dashboard that includes the above map, plus 5 other search categories: new crime statistics, stop statistics, use of force, shots fired, officer involved shooting.  check http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/police/statistics/
Emilie Quast, Board memberMPD Second Precinct Advisory CommitteeMinneapolis MN 55418

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