Jan. 2021 Meeting, part 2: Crime and Courtwatch

Our speaker this month was Leah Kaiser, who leads the Hennepin County Justice Behavioral Health Initiative.    You’ll find a report on her presentation in Part 1 of this report. 

If you have any questions about anything Ms Kaiser discussed or about this part of the report, send them to me e-quas@tc.umn.edu  and I’ll get an answer back to you.

PRECINCT REPORT:   CPS Nicholas Juarez and Rashid Ali bringing updates.
On 12/23 and 12/26, someone fired shots into a house on the 2500 block of SE Como.   On the first report, 5 to 7 shots were fired directly at the door of this duplex. In the second incident, shots were fired at the same residence, at a neighboring residence, and at a vehicle.  There is no public report of the reasons for those shots.  Officers gathered 15 or 20 casings from the scene.   The tenant has asked to be released from the lease. 

On January 1 at 3AM, three people attending a large New Year party were wounded by shots fired.  All are expected to survive.   The victims and their friends refused to cooperate with officers.  The  person doing the damage is a black male, 5’5″ with shoulder length braids.    This is a problem property.   Several days later, officers had to go in for another noisy party complaint, and this was followed by a third noisy party complaint.  The property owner is not responding to requests for information.
Nick reported that auto theft is rising.   Between January 1 and 7, we had 13 auto thefts, 10 of them were cars left idling or with the keys in the car, so very preventable.   Additionally, theft from motor vehicles and theft of catalytic converters drive the numbers in the Second Precinct.   Target cars are Honda CVV, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Cross Trek and Hyundais.  Some of these vehicles can be retrofitted with a converter lock.   See your auto-repair garage for more information.
In the two weeks since we met, the Second Precinct recorded an additional 16 violent crimes and 140 property crimes, 86 of them involving motor vehicles.   Catalytic converter thieves are now moving up Stinson Boulevard, apparently, as well as into SE Como.    Despite all that, the 2nd Precinct remains the precinct reporting the least number of crime incidents in the city.   We need to start hearing those sawz-alls.

   COURTWATCH:  Nnamdi Okoronkwo, City Attorney and Holly Ihrke, P.O.  relayed how the change to Courtwatch is coming along.  (Their meeting, joining reps. from Hennepin County was scheduled for the next day.)   The City Attorney’s office does not support the Chronic Offenders lists any more.   Atty. Okoronkwo has been instructed to assist the Precincts in following some of the more troublesome offenders.     

Atty Okoronkwo had posted updates on three people from the previous list.
Samuel Haasse is now in Vet’s Court, which offers more supervision.   The Attorney believes that the closer supervision drives the personal accountability he sees developing. This is a service that is provided because of the client’s service to the country [building on a point of pride, perhaps].   Haasse has a review hearing later in January.   The hope of the specialty court program is to reduce recidivism. 

Jeffrey Breene is now in Restorative Court, a different specialty court.  He is not picking up more cases, either. 

Joshua Poplawski is another person on this list.   P.O. Ihrke had invited Poplawski’s probation officer to this meeting, but that person didn’t show up.  Atty Okoronkwo had talked to the P.O. and heard they were trying to get Popawski a bed.   The problem is that if he isn’t in jail, he’s not likely to get to his bed, or that they’ve kicked him out due to behavioral issues.   They’re still working for him, based on a belief that he will respond to close supervision.  He was still active in the U of MN area in November and December.   Atty. referred to Leah Kaier’s presentation, suggesting that a police response to this client is not necessarily the best response.   If Poplawski has been frightening people, however, police response may be called for.Atty. Okoronkwo wants to leave Poplawski on the list, as a “gap case”: not mentally ill enough to require civil commitment, but still picking up cases.

Kelli Durow is another gap case, but  has been found incompetent before, which means you can’t move forward with a treatment plan. 

Michael Zaccardi – P.O. Ihrke reported that he is in pre-trial and IS in compliance with probation — he’s doing the best he’s ever done on probation.  His pre-trial is for a felony case; we’ll get a report next month.
Meetings will be held this month with a few stakeholders to decide how to better align Courtwatch with community concerns.
CPS Nick Juarez pointed out that when Courtwatch was organized, one in each precinct, the Second Precinct was notable because the others all had Part 1 crime.   The Second focused on theft and livability crime, because that is what we had here [and we want to return to that status, I think].

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