Stunt Driving control, Dinkytown 5/4 invasion, Gang arrests by RICO

The meeting was called to order on May 8 at 6:38, 7  attenders. This was an abbreviated meeting. 

We started with a request for response from our MPD and Attorney attenders on the Star Tribune article about Coon Rapids new ordinance cracking down on bad driving behaviors, including people driving “burnouts” or doughnuts and similar stunts, people hanging out of car windows to get high-fives from bystanders and bystanders videotaping the stunts that are now offenses.

Question:  What’s your reaction to the new Coon Rapids ordinance?

Lt Nelson opened:   Hopefully, once C.R. starts charging people, word will get out.   They have been charging people with some lower level offenses.  

Here in the 2nd Precinct, we are preparing [for the stunt drivers] and have put in orders to have the steel plates put out by the Stonearch Bridge and “dragon teeth” installed to cut off 6th and Main.   They will be placed without cutting off too much access to the steam plant, so that people working there will still have access.  Those impediments will stay in place through Halloween.

This year we’re addressing these issues by starting with what we did last year.   As new issues come up, we’ll address them. 

QQ from the chat:  Won’t these events just move to another place?   You’d be just chasing them from place to place.

Lt. Nelson:  A lot of the promoters have been identified and are being followed on social media.  Authorities have created a metro-wide task force to follow events on social media, identify the leaders, and watch for promotions.  This task force includes people from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, the State Troopers and others.

Atty. Okoronkwo.   Charging people is sometimes going to be difficult.  If someone is just a passenger in a car, a charge might be difficult.   It’ll be better to go after the drivers and  the promoters.    Additionally, he’d like to see a couple of changes to the law which would make a difference.  We don’t use forfeiture the way we could.  The city used to use forfeiture for DWI cases and prostitution cases (especially when the prostitutes were driven in from other cities, for example.   The 3rd conviction would result in forfeiture.  That stopped in 2019.   [EQ: see]   Stunt driving events have led to at least 4 people killed, 2 in the Second Precinct.   People in the City Attorney’s office are trying to sift out what we’d need for a state-wide bill.

Comment from HCAO Haglund:  it’s hard to get a 3rd degree charge elevated to the felony level which would move the charge from MplsAO to the HCAO.

Comment:  Courts in several states have determined that a vehicle can be considered a lethal weapon, but it seems to be going state by state and prosecution needs to prove intent.  Is that relevant?? 

Atty Okoronkwo :  Right now [In Minneapolis] the most you can charge is reckless driving, which is not an enhanceable charge.   Reckless driving is not going to move to the felony level.  Third degree riot is our best tool right now, but the charge has to meet certain criteria.   We don’t have the teeth in place, right now.

HCAO Haglund:  There’s also the question of premeditation, which is hard to charge against someone driving.  Someone might throw it into the argument just to see if it sticks, but…  if the Bench says “no” then the Bench said “no”.

Atty Okoronkwo:  When we charge a case, we [build the case] so the charge can go forward.

Lt. Nelson gave a summary of the events in Dinkytown May 4-7

On Thursday night [May 4], some 50 older youth (ages16-22)  drove to Dinkytown, converging on Burrito Loco.   They picked a few people, surrounded them and began punching them.   They were throwing rocks at people and throwing drinks at people.  

The two videos she reported on are from social media: 

  • A Thursday video shows a young man thrown down and stomped in front of the Tobacco store.  Lt Nelson talked to the young man’s  uncle on the 8th and learned that he does have a broken nose but had not lost any teeth and didn’t suffer a broken jaw, ribs, or shoulder blades.
  • The second video is from either Friday or Saturday.  A young woman is surrounded by attackers who aim “karate” or “rockette” kicks at her head.

The 2nd Precinct and UMPD have put a plan together, starting with traffic control.  That was in place on Saturday night and Sunday, which helped keep the juveniles away.  

Question:  Arrests?  10 arrests.  2 were booked and the rest were cited for curfew  violation and [word unclear] “fleeing the police on foot”???

One of the people identified on Thursday came back on Friday carrying an aluminum bat.  He also  had commercial fireworks on him  [a mortar]  That’s significant because a week before, people at the Holiday on Central Ave. had activated a gas pump and were pumping gas into trash barrels and on the ground.   They were throwing fireworks at the gas,  apparently trying to ignite it.

QQ: Where are these people from?

Car tags were traced by address:  8 are Minneapolis cars and 35 are not registered at a Minneapolis address.  The out of town cars are from Rochester, St. Paul, Columbia Heights, Eden Prairie, Edina, Woodbury, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park.  One car is registered in Illinois.

CPS Ali pointed out that these people find each other on social media.   The motivation is to gain status on social media.  The more dangerous the stunt, the higher you are in terms of getting noticed, attracting followers, getting recognition.   It’s no single site, videos are posted on Instagram, Twitter, TicToc — sites that have no filter, no rules. They do NOT appear on Facebook.  The biggest danger is that other kids will see what one person did, and try to outdo it.    CPS Ali pointed out that if the group of kids (who were filmed attempting to start a fire at a gas pump) had succeeded in blowing up that gas station, that would have become a new trend to top. 

The Star Tribune covered a neighborhood meeting of officials and concerned residents which met University Baptist Church.  See tiny URL:

QQ:  Moving on to a better topic, the Star Tribune carried a story that  Federal Prosecutors have brought charges against 45 people, members of two gangs in Minneapolis.   See the full print story here:    Asked about the significance of this story, Atty Okoronkwo pointed out that the prosecutors charging these cases are very, very good.  Their successful prosecution rate is about 90%   

EQ: I hope we’ll hear more about this as our attorneys learn more.    FYI, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is explained here in a 9-page article from the Labor Law Journal

FROM THE MPD CRIME DASHBOARD – 2nd Precinct stats for April 10-May 8: 

NIBRS Crime Metrics20232022
   Incl.Domestic Ag.A.53
Burglary, B&E2031
Property Damage6368
Larceny Theft132237
M.V. Theft9262
    Incl. carjacking11
Sex offenses99
Stolen Prop. offenses22
Weapon law viol’s.59
Shots fired calls2024
    N.B. No shot-spotter in the 2nd Pct.0
Gunshot wound vics14

EQ:  I believe the rise in assault reflects the Dinkytown invasion.

The video

Emilie Quast, Member

MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s