April report, part 2: Courtwatch and State of the Precinct

COURTWATCH:  Nnamdi Okoronkso, HCAO reporting

Joshua Poplawski was picked up on April 6 for trespassing on the U of MN campus.  This time he’s being held for a competency evaluation per Rule of 20 guidelines*, because he is not likely to show up on his own for that evaluation.

If Poplawski is found incompetent, Atty. Okoronkwo believes there will be a push for civil commitment.   The HCAO knows he will continue to trespass, placing himself in danger.   It’s been noted that in the time since Okoronkwo has been watching this list, several habitual trespassers have been assaulted or died from various causes.    Current HCAO interactions with Mr. Poplawski have not triggered a change of behavior and the bottom line is that this person is putting himself in danger by continuing to trespass.  He also uses a lot of resources without affecting his behavior.  

Atty Okronkwo related that Heidi Johnston, a former HCAO attorney who presented 2-PAC  Courtwatch cases several years ago, is very familiar with Joshua’s history and is working for solutions that will move him off his present trajectory.


STATE OF THE PRECINCT:

Jory Wiebrand, a serial rapist who preyed on women in Southeast and near Northeast Minneapolis for years, was given a sentence in late March to almost 46 years.  He may receive conditional release after he’s served 2/3 of his sentence, but conditional release means “under close supervision”.   He will be required to register as a predatory sexual offender, will be on conditional release for the remainder of his life, and is ordered to pay restitution to the victims.**

In the two weeks preceding April 12, Pct 2 had 29 violent crimes total which was less than 13% of the city data.   So far this year, 2nd Precinct officers have responded to 9417 calls for service.  Of these, 15 calls resulted in use of force which is 0.16%

Dinkytown remains the site of much of the 2nd Pct crime, including one murder on March 28.   Marcy Holmes is still the most active area, especially in the Dinkytown neighborhood, but it’s also creeping up along Broadway and NE University. 

Expanding on that, CPS Juarez reported that we’ve seen 10 robberies and 2 carjackings.   One thing that stood out was that the robberies are happening in the daytime, between noon and 3 o’clock.   For a long time, robbery time was around bar-closing, but that dynamic has changed for a variety of reasons.  

One thing they’re seeing is that people are just handing over their phone when someone asks to make a call or something, and the bad guy just takes off with it. 

There was a homicide in Dinkytown, in the street between the Chateau and the pizza place.   There were many observers and it was very traumatic for many people.  Officers found 12 casings on the ground, so there were a LOT of shots fired, not just two people exchanging one shot, each.  

This has been the pattern for this year, starting with the New Year’s house party on 15th Ave SE, and continuing in SE Como where multiple shots were fired at a house.

Calling 911 and 311:

In response to a flurry of comments on NextDoor, I asked two people who reported they’d called 911 and gotten case numbers.   Sadly, both incidents were closed without action:   Case #1 –  the report did not have enough suspect information for officers to follow.  Victims could not identify the possible male suspects.   Case #2 – there is no police report on file because the original call was about a driver who was yelling at cars.  

CPS Nick Juarez offered suggestions for making a 911/311 call that will get action. 

Be descriptive:   SAY what you are seeing that made you call 911.  

If there’s a car involved, tell the color, license plate number, make, model and any other information that will point to the right car. 

If there’s an individual out there:  male or female, race, size, clothing, anything distinctive in any way
When you are making a police report, you are telling a story.  Everyone the police interview is telling that story from their point of view. 

For example:   you can’t just say, “My bike was stolen.”     The officers need to know where you left the bike, what color and model it is, was it locked, what kind of lock, did you find pieces of the lock or of the bike on the ground, and anything else that will tell the officers what to look for.

The reason for all that detail is that it is the depth of detail that moves the report up the priority scale.   The report about someone yelling at cars, gave no indication that anyone was in danger or might be in danger of harm.   DO follow up with a second call if the situation changes.   If the guy shouting at cars starts throwing rocks at cars or at people, phone again!   (“I just called in about ‘that’ but now this guy is doing ‘this'” — that raises the priority of the call.)

The call takers are typing your words into the computer report, and the more description that appears on that report, the more officers have to work on.  Additionally, the call takers are assessing whom they should send:  EMT, Squad, Fire??

Juarez offered that everyone reacts differently to stress, but this is the time you have to take a breath and just focus on what you are seeing, tell your story so the operator can completely visualize that situation from your description. 

We have a lot of security cameras out there, but a suspect needs to be looking at the camera when it snaps.  Officers can take a recognizable photo around to other residents on a street, but again, that only works if someone knows the person.  If the suspect is someone who drove in from a suburb, that photo might not help much.   And, we don’t use facial recognition software.

*https://www.revisor.mn.gov/court_rules/cr/id/20/
 **https://www.startribune.com/serial-rapist-sentenced-to-nearly-46-years-in-prison-for-preying-on-women-in-minneapolis/600039194/

Coming in May:   we’ve heard about changes in 911 service, and will get an update on May 10.   Join us at 6PM by Zoom to hear the news at 911.


Emilie Quast, board member

MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council

Minneapolis MN, 55418

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