Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oct. 2-PAC meeting report: 911 Emergency Center

The meeting was called to order by Larry Ranallo at 6:20. 20 people attending.
Amy Sizer and Laurie Thomas from the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center,  joined us. Ms. Sizer, our  presenter, has been with the MECC for 15 years.
The Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center, located in City Hall, is probably the best known Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in the area, but actually there are 15 other PSAPs in the 9 county area including the University of MN, Hennepin County EMS, North Memorial Ambulance. The MECC works closely with the others. It’s the Minneapolis center that handles most Minneapolis 911 calls and dispatches help for Minneapolis, but it’s the location of the call that determines which Center acts on it. For example, if you call from the freeway, most of the time Hennepin County will take the call, but if the MECC gets a call and feels it should go to (e.g.) U of MN,  the MECC routes the call there. (The caller does not have to call again.)
The staff includes 59 dispatchers (used to be 69), 9 supervisors, 1 operations manager, 1 training and quality manager, 1 training & quality specialist and 4 administrative staff members.
Yes they are hiring.  They look for people who have a background in customer service, but that isn’t a requirement.  Staff receives all in-house training.
Each dispatcher must successfully complete as much as 560 hours of classroom training and 1 on 1 coaching before they are permitted to answer a 911 without direct supervision. This training includes learning basic medical terminology, computer skills, what constitutes good customer service, the geography of the area. Those that go on to dispatcher level take an additional 440 hours of training in classroom and one on one coaching for Police Dispatch or 128 hours for Fire Dispatch.
What happens when a call comes in: Calls are received by call takers and monitored by dispatchers — stations are set up with three monitors so both taker and dispatcher know what’s happening. In smaller agencies, the taker may do the dispatching. The MECC wants the call taker to stay on the phone with you in case your situation is changing and new information needs to be relayed. The call taker monitors information and doesn’t spent time dispatching. The dispatcher can then focus on the dispatch and not worry about the caller hanging up or missing new information.
The MECC has 6 overlapping responsibilities: 1) Answer 911 calls; 2) Answer other 10-digit non-emergency calls. They are trying to move more of those to 311 (but if you’re not sure, call 911 and we’ll figure out where the call should go); 3) Dispatch Police, Fire and EMS; 4) Provide support services to the MPD; 5) Track and report events on the SpotShotter & Bait Vehicle programs; 6) Manage data practices requests and Data Administration.
The MECC’s internal customers include the MPD, the MPRB-PD, MFD, Hennepin EMS, North Memorial EMS. QUESTION: how do you work with  MPRB police?  ANSWER: we don’t dispatch them but do work with them all the time, monitor their data.
Working statistics:  in 2017 the MECC answered 578371 phone calls (over 1,550/day), dispatched 41,985 fire trucks, and dispatched 382,589 police responses. And when the going is tougher, as after the NoMi 2011 tornado, they handled more than 700 calls in the first hour.  Between 2:15 and 5:45 PM that day, they responded to 2023 calls. (This was on a day and at a time when there were only 13 operators, 3 fire dispatchers + 2 MFD captains, 6 police dispatchers and 2 supervisors).
When YOU make a 911 call:
KNOW WHEN to call:  Call for any event that requires  the police, fire dept., or an ambulance.
KNOW WHAT to say: Know your location. People think their phones can be located, but DON’T trust that.  Answer all questions and follow the directions you get from the operator even if it doesn’t make sense to you; the operator is asking because the people responding to your call want and need the answers to those questions. Stay calm, so you can speak slowly and clearly. DO NOT HANG UP until the 911 dispatchers says it is OK to hang up.
The 911 office can handle 21 languages, European, Asian, and African.
Technology: in 1990 fewer than 10% of all calls were from cell phones. Today the number is 70%.
In answer to a question:  Sometimes MECC dispatches when a caller doesn’t (or can’t) give a location. Cellphones do give approximate location within 50 yards, so we may dispatch a squad to circle the area. We may get a call and all we can hear is someone screaming or perhaps we hear nothing. In that case, we go a step further and get information from the phone company, billing address or whatever the company might have. We’ll get as much as we can from the phone and send it over to dispatch.
The next generation is already arriving as Text-to-911 has been implemented state-wide, but there are drawbacks as location is not as accurate so a caller still needs to know her exact location. The next technology upgrade will permit video and data transmission.
The last few years we’ve had gained in-state inter-agency communication protocols, so if someone [out state]  has a flood or other big event, the MECC can go up there and help.
Fire Chief Fruetel recently presented the new van-size Fire Dept response vehicles, staffed by EMTs.  As always, the 911 call-taker will ask  two important questions about people who need medical attention: “Is the person awake?  Is she breathing normally?” Before the new, smaller vehicles were put into service, if the answer was “yes” MECC  would dispatch an ambulance. Now if the answers are “Yes” we’ll start with the van rescue vehicle and let the EMTs  aboardask their questions and decide about the ambulance based on what they find.
Chief Fruetel was quoted as saying that 80% of the runs with the full fire truck, were for non-emergency runs.  (Sprained ankles and such).  Now the rigs are available for dispatch to fires.

Oct. 2-PAC report, part 2: regular meeting

The meeting was called to order by Larry Ranallo at 6:20.  20 people attending.
Report from Emilie Quast about moving our day of meeting away from the 2nd Monday.  It did not work out well.  We have MORE conflicts if 2PAC meets on the third Monday of the month, as several neighborhood organizations meet that evening and people who attend those meetings are the people we want to see coming to PAC.
In November, we will meet on the 19th,  the third Monday, but will then return to 2nd Monday starting in January.  If we have a conflict (as for MLK or Presidents days), we have permission to use the Roll Call room at the 2nd Precinct on the Tuesday following the conflicted Monday.
As always an announcement will go out close to the first of the month, stating WHEN we meet, WHERE we meet, and WHO our featured speaker will be.
December meetings will be small groups coming together to work out plans for the December 24 10-hour buffet for first responders.   We need people for various duties from early in December and on through the 24th.  It’s fun to do, and it’s appreciated by the people who need this break from working on this family day.  More volunteers are always welcome and needed.  If you’ve got an idea you’d like to suggest, please come in.  This dinner was started by two neighbors taking a walk past the old precinct building on 12-24 and realizing that the building was full of  people working hard on a day when most of the city was leaving early for a holiday with family.    Good ideas lead to good places.
Our speaker was Amy Sizer from the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center, reported in Part 1 of this month’s summary.
COURTWATCH:  Judi Cole, Hennepin County Atty’s Office, and Sarah Becker, Minneapolis Atty’s Office.
The first announcement is that Sarah Becker has been reassigned to the Fifth Precinct.  We are very sorry to see her leave us, and we know the 5th Precinct is lucky to have her join them.
Sarah relayed that a replacement has been named, but might not be available to start attending right away.
Ronald Bailey had a 10-29 hearing for his 4th degree assault in the 1st Pct.; his most recent mental health examination won’t be available until then.   Samuel Haase  was sentenced (following a guilty plea) on 9-17 for damage to property, and put on probation through 9/19, plus must pay restitution, however he committed a similar offense and has violated probation; a hearing is scheduled for November 19.  Johnny Hall was convicted on 9/17 of 5th degree drug probation and sentenced to 15 months at St. Cloud — this was stayed for 2 years while he serves probation (terms do include that he obtain employment, submit to random drug testing, and taking his prescribed medications). Daniel Heacock remains under civil commitment, which will be reviewed soon to see if that commitment can continue.  Cody Horton has an 11/01 omnibus hearing on his 1st degree burglary (of his tenants) and a sentencing the same day for reckless discharge of a firearm (from his apartment into a neighbor’s apartment).  Joshua Poplawski  had two review hearings scheduled on 11/06, but is now back in custody on a new trespass charge; he refused to come to HOMES court on 10/15  (you’re allowed to refuse one time, but the second time the judge may issue an order to appear).  Robert Schroeder’s charge for loitering with an open bottle was dismissed on 9/11; he remains on probation to 3/20/19.  Alfonso Seals was in custody at the Ramsey County Jail but has been transferred to Hennepin County Jail and had an omnibus hearing on 10/23; he also has an aggravated robbery hearing pending in Dakota County (11/18/16 offense date).  James Zaccardi has an hearing on 11/07/18 which is about receiving in-patient treatment and mental health services; his attorney wants him to continue to receive these services, but since he has about 6 criminal charges which is a presumptive prison sentence, so he might not get into the specialty court.
No updates:  Maxim Chance was convicted on 4-18 and remains on probation.  Paula Heille is continuing the meet the conditions of her probation.  Bryan Holmes remains on probation through 11/16/18.  No updates on Mahad Ismail.  No updates on Curtis Laroque.  Dwayne Miles is waiting for his 1/17/19 Jury trial on 5th degree drug sale and possession.   Michael Zaccardi’s omnibus hearing for 3rd degree assault (in Windom Park) was rescheduled to 10/29 awaiting a new defender.
Ms. Cole also gave us an update on the robbery that happened in early October since it was violent and nearby.  Two people were charged  on the robberies that occurred  the night of Oct. 5-6.  The people who were charged in these robberies are Jonell  Butler and Natalie Box.  Butler was charged with three since he did the actual confrontation: an aggravated assault at  10:37 PM 13th Ave and 4th Street NE,  11:40PM  (4th and 22nd NE), 1:02AM (12 Ave. SE and University) with Box accompanying him.  The last two are robberies, but the person who was shot in the assault remains hospitalized.  Butler also has a robbery charge in North Minneapolis in September.  Butler is on parole from Louisiana.  Box was not involved  in  the Sept. 8 robbery.  She does have an arson charge for setting a fire in a women’s shelter.  The investigators traced Butler through the car, which belonged to his mother.  His bail was set at $800K before they found the Louisiana charge, so he will be held.   FFI:
They will be added to Courtwatch so we can follow them through the system.
STATE OF THE PRECINCT:  Sgt. Nelson gave the summary:     Burglaries generally rise in the Second Precinct at this time of year, especially in Southeast when new students move in and really don’t know each other.  MPD encourages roommates to let each other know their schedules, and above all, to be in the habit of locking doors and securing windows.   If people see opportunity, they’ll take your possessions, especially electronics. CPS Juarez  reported that in response to the predictable rise in crime in the University area, he, with the UMPD and others are creating a group to teach students how to spot crime, how to report crime and how to protect themselves from crime.  Focus will be SE Como, Prospect Park, Marcy-Holmes.  They are also running robbery suppression details in these neighborhoods.
This is also a time of the year when we see snowblowers and bikes taken from garages.  It’s helpful to register your bike with the city, and write down the serial number of your snowblower so if it’s recovered, you can get it back.
Finally, empty your car before you lock it up and walk away.  Don’t leave anything in your car that you want to keep.
Sgt. Nelson continued:  There have been a lot of copper theft, especially on the north side and elsewhere from houses under construction, and from roofs of businesses.  There is a lot of copper in air conditioners, which many businesses keep on the roof.  In winter no one notices, but on the first hot day, they discover the theft when they want to turn on the AC.  It’s a good idea to check occasionally during the winter months to make sure people can’t easily get up there and to spot evidence if they already have.  If someone steals the copper, it will be an expensive repair.
The University just got done with Homecoming and we had an open street on Broadway,  which brought about 13,000 people.  It was COLD!  They sold about 19K tickets but rain and snow cut down on attendance.  The organizers really like that place so we’ll see if there is another next year.
COMING EVENTS:  Our speaker in November is Kimberly Simmonds from 311, who will explain the other half of the Minneapolis call for service system.  311 is the call center that connects you to all non-emergency city services.
2PAC meets in November on the 3rd Monday, November 19, 6PM at 1900 Central Ave NE.  That will be our last “Third Monday”.
In January we return to meeting on the 2nd Monday of the month.  The tentative topic is “What happens when the police get a theft report?”  An officer will take an actual case and lead us through the steps investigators take to reach a level of resolution.

Sept. 2-PAC report, part 1: MPD Sex Crimes Investigations Unit

The meeting was called to order by Emilie Quast at 6:12; 10 attenders.

Our speaker this month was Lt. Nick Torborg, who leads the Sex Crimes Unit for the MPD.  Lt. Torborg has been with the MPD 23 years.  He actually got his college degree in Biology;  a ride-along with a friend revealed that policing is a way of helping people.  After several years other units, he got moved  to his current job.

This unit includes 7 investigators, who hold the rank of Sergeant, and also has three subunits: Predatory Offender Registration Unit, Sex Trafficking Unit, and Missing Juvenile Unit, all these are also led by sergeants.

The crimes usually investigated are Criminal Sexual Conduct/Rape (CSCR), Indecent exposure. Stalking, Interference with privacy (peeping toms), Child pornography, Luring, Solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct (CSCM), Beastiality, Nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images.
The Predatory Offender Registration Unit is the unit that tracks registered offenders.  Homeless registered offenders are required to appear before this unit once a week. An issue is that many of the people who are reporting to the unit are periodically or chronically homeless.  In consequence, the unit verifies that their clients are actually living where they say they are living, that they are keeping all the terms of their conditional release. Investigators do make unscheduled visits to their clients at home to verify that all is as it should be.

The Sex Trafficking Unit is led by Sgt. Grant Snyder, who spoke to 2PAC in April, 2016.   [Notes on Snyder’s presentation are in our Courtwatch Archives.  Enter “Grant Snyder” in the search box on the right side of the screen — eq]  Sgt. Snyder is a locally and nationally respected expert in this field.

QUESTION ABOUT INCREASED ACTIVITY DURING THE SUPERBOWL:  The unit will be fighting with  three pronged approach.  There will be many more people on the street, watching for illegal activity. There are already many more people scouring the media, looking for evidence of planned activity.  There will be more closely-focused coordination among official agencies.  This unit already conducts Guardian Angel operations on a regular basis. [Background information on this organization of many local and national organizations can be found here:   Note that faith organizations are part of this operation. — eq]

The third unit in the SCU is the Missing Juvenile Unit, which may seem like a strange fit, but it was discovered that too many juveniles who have left home are being sexually exploited, so  this is the unit very likely to find them.  The unit already is a direct connect between a juvenile and the social services she or he needs.

Lt. Torborg assures us he likes “information calls” — if possible, he wants a cop to interview you while your information is fresh but getting an officer to your door might be a lower priority than other calls, especially “person at risk.”   A lot of things that are reported are not actually a crime, but may be a suggestion that something more serious is behind the activity.  There is a lot of activity, and the unit is very limited by short staffing.  The unit, with only 7 investigators, reported a total number of cases January through August this year at 693 (100 cases per investigator).  Of these 387 were  CSC/Rape, 165 were Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor (CSCM),  20 were stalking, 39 were index, 6 were peeping toms, and 21 were reports of luring or enticing minors.
The national statistical reports are grim:  there is one sexual assault in the U.S. every 98 seconds; 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be a victim in their lifetimes; females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely to be a victim of a sexual assault than the general population; 66% of all rape victims know their assailants (but it’s Lt. Torborg’s experience that 90% is likely).  Note that while there are 7 assigned investigators, for various reasons (including giving court testimony, attending  mandatory training sessions, and more) they’re lucky to have 5 people in the office on any day.  For the same reason, many investigations stop on Fridays and are picked up on Mondays.

QUESTION about child porn.  They’re getting cases all the time.   The FBI is continuously  monitoring media for porn videos and images; it tracks the source of the porn.  If it’s in Mpls this dept. will be notified for closer investigation.

Luring: the  issue is tied to entice a child to “come for a ride”.  By law, unless they solicit a minor of a crime it is not a law, and the police can only ask  kids for what they understand.

Another big issue is non-consensual dissemination of “private” photos. As of last year, new state law made this a gross misdemeanor or felony, but there are stipulations like the victim  must be identifiable.
In Lt. Torberg‘s view, homicide is awful, but rape is worse in many ways.  Counseling people is difficult because you must not blame the victim — remember we all make mistakes.  Young people are not likely to be aware how much intoxication puts them at risk.  Accepting a drink from someone you don’t know or even leaving a drink unattended when you turn your back may lead to assault.  People have told him that they have zero recollection of an incident — a good indicator that their drink had been tampered.  This is more difficult to prove because the most common drugs used are metabolized very quickly and won’t show up on a drug profile.  If drugging is suspected, his department hopes for bar videos to catch the incident.  These have been very helpful.
Working with the Attorneys Offices:  It’s the attorney’s duty to require evidence that will prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.  They will coach the officers to find the evidence they need to bring the case to trial.
Lt. Torborg has seen that some victims get a measure of satisfaction just from the act of reporting an incident, even in a case the department can’t take to court.  The evidence, especially the DNA, remains on file indefinitely, and if a suspect is brought to trial  in another case, that DNA will be brought forward and will be submitted to the court.  If matching DNA is reported on  several reports, that may lead to a closer watch on a suspect.
One aspect of this department’s work give Lt. Torborg great satisfaction:  while all crimes are serious to the victims and to the police, some seem to lead to a pattern of “second” chances for the criminals.  When the SCU gets a conviction, that criminal will be off the street for a very long time.

Sept. 2-PAC report, part 2: regular meeting

STATE OF THE PRECINCT:  Sgt. David Hansen reported that students are just coming back to the U, and have more free time early in the year.  The Precinct and UMPD are running saturation details over the weekends, especially in Dinkytown and Stadium Village.  Patrols are watching for people they spot walking down the street focused on their phones with no idea of who  is around them; officers are trying to raise awareness, teach some street smarts. Officers are spending lots of time on robbery; detached garages are targets. Crime statistics for July are here   which is the most recent compilation available online. QUESTION:  How do you divide the area up with UMPD?  There is a division of labor:  the U of MN PD is more hands on, on the campus.  MPD meets with the University Off Camus Living Dept., and works directly with students who live off campus, but there is a lot of overlap and shared responsibility between the two independent forces.
COURTWATCH:  COURTWATCH:  Judi Cole from Hennepin County Attorney’s Office presented updates to our list:
 Richard Breen had a pretrial hearing on 9/14 for his loitering charge.
 Cody Corbin is in custody on $20K bail for a felony violation of no-contact order and has
an October 5 hearing.
 Jason Enrico was sentenced to 13 months on July 14 th for felony check forgery. His
sentence was stayed for 3 years (that is a stay of execution with conditions) and he
immediately furloughed to treatment.
 Hussein Farah has an omnibus hearing on 9-15 and is in custody on $10,000 bail for
felony charges of 5 th degree drug possession and 5 th degree criminal sexual conduct.
 Kevin Foster was convicted of felony 1st degree damage to property on June 5 th and
received a stay of imposition. He will be on supervised probation until 6.5.20.
 Johnny Hall has two outstanding warrants from February for 5 th degree controlled
substance cases.
 Steven Haney has a sentencing on one 1 st degree controlled substance case and a jury
trial scheduled on another 1 st degree controlled substance case; both on 11/6.
 Daniel Heacock has warrants on two misdemeanor thefts and has a review of
competency on 11-7- 17 on his felony check forgery.
 Paula Heille has a jury trial on 10/9 for a felony 5 th degree controlled substance charge.
Bryan Holmes had a HOMES Court hearing on Sept 12 for loitering with open bottle
charges and a pre-trial on 10-11 for two similar charges out of the 1 st Precinct.
 Mahad Ismail was convicted on 7/19 for giving false information to an officer; warrant
issued on 8/31 for failure to appear at the ACF.
 Curtis Laroque's GM theft sentence from 11/4/16 was amended on 6/14/17 after a
probation violation hearing to 365 days at the workhouse, 305 days stayed for 2 years.
 Kenneth Nelson has a jury trial scheduled on 10/9 for a controlled substance case and
two other controlled substances are continued for appearances on the same date (two
Minneapolis cases and one Edina).
 Dae Nisell was convicted on 6/23 for violation of a restraining order and has an 18
month stayed sentence with 3 years of probation.
 Joshua Poplawski is in custody on a probation violation for 5 th degree controlled
substance conviction. He is held without bail with a hearing scheduled for 9/14.
 Robert Schroeder has a bench warrant for failure to appear on a public urination charge.
 Michael Zaccardi was three misdemeanor charges; two tampering with motor vehicle
and one theft. He also has a felony 1 st degree damage to property.
No change:  Johnny Hall has been missing since February and has not turned up.   Ashley Sage is compliant with her probation for a 5th degree controlled substance conviction and is making regular court review hearings.
NEW BUSINESS: Emilie reminded attenders that our October meeting always conflicts with Indigenous People’s Day, which is a holiday for city employees.  Did attenders want to postpone until the following Tuesday or meet on  a different Monday in October.  Hennepin Cty. Atty Judi Cole commented that she will not be on holiday and is happy to come.  Attenders voted to meet on our regular second Monday, October 9.
No further business;  meeting was adjourned at 7:40.

Our presenter on October 9 will be a representative from Restorative Justice.  We had a presentation from them about 3 years ago so this will be an update for some of us and all new info from others.  In November we’ll hear about the MPD Implicit Bias training program for police officers and others.

August 2-PAC: Meeting report

The meeting was called to order at 6:12 by Chair Larry Ranallo, 12 people attending.

Our speaker, Kristen Houlton Sukura is the Executive Director of the Sexual Violence Center, in Minneapolis.  SVC supports people living in Hennepin, Carver and Scott Counties, who have been affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives, from their personal past to the present.  They do not turn away people outside these counties, but will  find an advocacy center closer to where people live, because those offices are likely to know more about local support services for victims of assault.  Please know that  SVC is eager to get its name out and its story told.  Everyone knows that if your house is on fire, you call 911 for help.  Not enough people know there is a number they can call if they or a loved one has been a victim of sexual assault.  (SVC 24-hour support line: 612.871.5111 or 952.448.5425)

To begin, there is a good overview of services the SVC provides on its website:   The following page defines common terms used in this discussion:

To set a few parameters, it is true that most adult victims identify as female and most assaults are perpetuated by people who identify as male but that is not always the case at all. The SVC is against all forms of assault; it doesn’t matter who the aggressor is.  It is also true that 8 out of 10 sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement.  The following graphic shows the imbalance:
People have many reasons for not reporting.  Since most of the victims know their perpetrators, it’s evident they are in some kind of a relationship with them, including marriage, family or another close relationship.  The perpetrator is a person they trust, and may love.  They do not want that person to go to jail, but they do want the assaults to stop.   In other cases, the perpetrator has some sort of hold over them and it may actually be unsafe for a victim to report the assaults to authorities.   Another fact emphasized by the SVC is that more people are harmed by an assault than the victim. An assault has a lasting impart on the friends and family who love the victim, something that is not acknowledged enough by the community.  These impacts all need to be addressed, but victims, their family and their friends rarely know how to talk about it, or don’t have anyone they can talk with about the situation.  As a consequence, they are likely to bury their feelings.  This does not make the impact go away.

SVC services are based on one belief:  if a crime  comes into your life, you have a right to be believed, to have someone stand with you. People who can’t find the support they need to deal with the trauma often struggle to heal, feeling  “People don’t believe me”.    SVC  advocates work hard to overcome this barrier to healing.  They want to work with more law enforcement and other agencies  so that more people feel comfortable accessing the support and social services they need.  Advocates also want other agencies, including law enforcement agencies, to learn to refer victims to SVC advocates.

Every victim of sexual assault in MN has a right to go to a hospital and receive free medical care.   SVC works with 11 hospitals, including 7 in Hennepin County, to make sure people get the care they need.  SVC only does not work with University Hospitals because the U has the Aurora Center, another advocacy center, on campus.

What happens at the hospital?    A specially trained nurse will be paged at the same time the SVC advocate is paged. The victim will be examined for evidence that could be used in a trial.  The victim has the right to receive some medical care for free.  They will be offered treatment to ward off STIs, assessed for HIV exposure, and offered Plan B contraceptives   We urge people to go to the hospital as soon as possible.  It is possible to collect evidence even 5 days after the assault, but 72 hours is how much time you have for an assessment of risk of HIV exposure.  After that time, the victims may not be able to get the evidence collected.  Victims should know that even if they do not have health insurance, SVC advocates and hospital staff are very experienced at figuring out how to get the patient the service they need.  SVC advocates  do not tell people what to do, but do always suggest going to the hospital after assault.  Victims are not always sure they are ready to talk to someone but the SVC advocates will stay with them as long as they are wanted.

Data from Hennepin County indicates that 50% of people who go to the hospital after sexual assault  file a police report at that time.  Others may decide to do it later.  Nationwide,  of 100 rapes  25% get reported to the police.  This is a crime that is still in the shadows because of under-reporting due to cultural and social norms.  Reporting is something  SVC wants more victims/survivors to choose.  Even though some people may never want to report,  SVC wants the process to be as safe and supportive as possible.  SVC advocates work hard with their partners in law enforcement to help them work with and to support victims of criminal sexual conduct.

Evidence samples taken at the hospital exam are labeled “Do not Test” until the victim files a police report.  Different locations allow different amounts of time, but typically evidence will be held by the hospital while a victim decides whether to report for a minimum of 30 days.  At that point the victim will get a call asking if they want the tests held longer.  Anniversary dates seem to trigger decision making. There is a statute of limitations which depends on the level of the offense, so that is also a varying window.  Tests are done by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, not by the local police lab. Once a police report is made, the evidence goes  to the BCA for testing. The BCA produces a report that goes back to the police department that is handling the victim’s case, and investigators in that department will determine if the case should be referred to the County Attorney for charging.  In many cases, there just may not be enough evidence to present to a jury. Often  a message comes back   “We believe that this thing happened to you.  We believe you.  But with the evidence we can find, we’re not confident of convincing a jury. ”

Another impacting fact is there often is no evidence of physical forcing because there has been no physical force.  85% of the victims know their aggressor and the aggressors take advantage of that.  The incident may have involved drugs;  60% of the victims in Hennepin County who accessed a forensic exam after the assault were inebriated at the time of the assault.  A lawyer hopes for credible witness  testimony, but with a high degree of inebriation,  memory may not be perfect.
City Attorney Sarah Becker commented that 50% of the cases are charged for “less than” the initial complaint suggests the charge should be.  She pointed out that delayed reporting is a factor because bruising or tearing  have healed.

SVC advocates see their function as offering peer counseling, not therapy.  SVC advocates work to support many victims who struggle to believe it was not their fault they were targeted.

Advocates are largely protected from subpoena and unlikely to to called to testify in court. This is particularly important  when someone is afraid to report assault because they are undocumented, because they were working as a sex worker  at the time of the assault, because  they are under age, because  they were drunk, the SVC advocate is a safe person to talk to.   They won’t have to share their story.    By statute SVC staff are called “counselors”,  but use the term “Advocate” because they do more than counseling.

SVC staff work in several ways including over the phone.  They can work in person providing 10 sessions free of charge.  They provide services not available from therapists and counselors such as help obtaining restraining orders, finding funding for needed medical services, support with navigating the system.  Advocates work creatively to meet the needs of victims who come to them, trying different approaches.  They’ve discovered that having police interview a victim at the SVC office is more comfortable for some victims than going to a police unit would be.   Advocates will do anything they can that helps people feel supported.  One service that has worked well is for an advocate to offer phone counseling anonymously, asking victims to please not tell their name, the assailant’s name, and so on.  Just getting people to talk is the best way to build the kind of trust that is necessary to help people move on to the next step, whatever that may be.  If a caller says, “I’m not going to report this.” the counselor can say to them, “I believe you.  I’m not going to force you …. Let’s talk this through.  I want to talk to you and tell you what your options are and how to be safe.”  Ms Sukura is comfortable saying “Our model works.  People are terrified because they don’t know what to do, and that’s because no one ever talks about it.”

SVC offers its services in several unusual places, including prisons and half-way houses, in schools  with students  age 12-17 — an age when transportation and after school responsibilities make it tough for high school  students to get to the center.  Moreover, young people people are very nervous about the effect this is going to have on their parents.  Beyond being hurt themselves, they don’t want to hurt their parents.  This is another high value service SVC provides :  working  with friends and family members.  An assault is not just on one person but on everyone who cares about that person. They have had calls where someone may say, “This isn’t about me.  It’s my niece.  She told me and I don’t know what do do about this.”

 At the other end of life, some people do not talk  until years later.  SVC gets calls from nursing homes.  Sometimes it is about something that happened there, but sometimes it’s about something that happened 50 or 60 years earlier.  One woman commented that she could  see how this affected her through her whole life, but there was no one to talk to.

SVC organizes support groups because in groups you see that others are as affected as you are.  One pair that stands out in her memory was unlikely: a 16 year old and a 60 year old man.  What they had in common was the violence of the  assault, each one did understand that issue  better than anyone else in the room.

That brings up a very important concept: if someone discloses to you, they trust you.  It’s a  sacred trust.
QUESTION:  Reports suggest that 15% of the victims are male.  Is that average?  ANSWER:.   SVC may be reporting a higher percentage of male victims because they work in the prisons.  Male victims  tend to not want to call us. It’s very hard to get men to talk in front of other men.  If you look on the SVC  website,  you’ll see that we have male- identified advocates, trans-gender advocates, language and culturally specific support services and advocates.  Our job is to get victims to the support they need, even if it isn’t directly from SVC.  SVC also works  with Isuroon, a Somali women’s empowerment organization to better support refugees; they have learned that 25% of refugees report having suffered sexual violence.   Refugees are  survivors of many things; we want them  to know we offer support here.
Ms. Sukura left copies of a Sexual  Violence Center  poster.  If you would like a copy, please contact Emilie (

STATE OF THE PRECINCT: Sgt. Jeff Carter presented the current incident summary of crime in the Second Precinct, all numbers are year to date:  Sexual Assault is down by over 17%, reporting 37 in 2017 in comparison with 45 last year.  Robbery is down over 26% with 65 incidents in 2017 vs 88 last year; aggravated assault is up slightly with 85 incidents this year but 84 last year; aggravated domestic assaults are up 5.7% with 37 this year and 35 last year.

Second Precinct officers made several outstanding arrests including  a 2nd degree assault on pizza delivery person who parked in someone else’s spot.   The AP, who pulled a knife on the delivery person, was located and arrested.  A 1st degree domestic assault resulted in arrest of the ex-boyfriend who hit his former girlfriend in the head with a bat and cut her with a knife.  A Burglary of Dwelling victim came home and found 2 suspects in his apartment.  They left when he confronted them but he called 911 when he spotted them returning to the apartment complex.  Three  were arrested.  Officers stopped a speeding vehicle at Central and University on 8-11.  The driver appeared impaired and was asked to step out of the vehicle, and when she did, suspected narcotics fell from her lap; two suspects were arrested.

Sgt. Carter also gave a report on the Second Precinct Community Response Team performance to date:  34 guns seized, almost $160K drug money seized; 10 vehicles seized;  41 felony complaints were charged; 79 felony/gross misdemeanor charged; 30 community complaint address related search warrants acted on; the total number of search warrants or court orders signed or served is 119
Counterfeit money is being passed again in NE Minneapolis.

Sgt. Carter is always interested in reports on suspicious activity, especially drug activity, and knows people do know when something seems wrong.  Typically this is when you see many people entering an address or meeting with a car in the street and leaving quickly over the course of a day.  He asks Second Precinct residents that, if they see this kind of activity, do NOT call 911.  Instead, call the Precinct and leave a message for Sgt Carter 612.673.5702.

COURTWATCH.  Sarah Becker reported our watch list:  Cody Corbin received a stay of imposition; Jason Enrico was convicted of forgery and sentenced to 13 months, stayed 3 years, so on probation until 7/20/20; Steven Haney trial was postponed until after our meeting; Daniel Heacock  has arraignment scheduled for 8/23/17; Paula Heille has a jury trial on 10/9/17; Mahad Ismail  was convicted and sentenced to 365 days in workhouse, 335 stayed for 2 years and is on probation until 7/29/19; Curtis Laroque was convicted in November of 2016 but that sentence was amended on 6/14/17 to 365 days at the workhouse, 305 days stayed for 2 years, on probation to 11/4/18; Kenneth Nelson has 3 open felony cases with a jury trail 10/9 17 (Impact statements requested).  A probation violation warrant was issued for Joshua Poplawski on 7/31 and a hearing scheduled for 8/17 (Impact statements requested); a bench warrant for failure to appear was issued for Robert Schroeder on 7/12; Michael Zaccardi has a hearing on 8/22, and is potentially going to Mental Health Court.

No updates on Kevin Foster,  Johnny Hall, Dae Nisell, Ashley Sage (doing well on her drug court plan!)

IMPACT STATEMENTS REQUESTED:  Kenneth Nelson has had 32 city-wide arrests since 1995 with 12 convictions  and has a trial coming up 10-9.  He currently has 3 open felony cases.  Joshua Michael Poplawskihas 2 trespass offenses and a probation violation hearing on a burglary offense, all in the 3rd Precinct but he is now spending a lot of time around Stadium Village as well as on Franklin.   Reminder: our home page has a guideline: How to write an impact statement.  Go to  and click on the button at the top that says “Impact Statements”  — the guidelines will appear on the message area of the page.

Ms Becker nominated three for addition to our watch list:  1) Hussein Farah sexually assaulted two women the same day in one apartment building AND had PCP while operating a motor vehicle (traffic stop at 5th and University Ave SE).  He has been arrested 6 times in 3 years in the 2nd Pct for traffic, burglary, assault.   2) Richard Breen, offense was consuming in public and has had10 city-wide arrests since 2014, 4 in the 2nd Pct, for public consumption, trespass, criminal conduct.  3) Bryan Holmes has 17 arrests in the 2nd Pct since 2013, for trespass, public consumption.    Motion was made and approved to add these three to our list.

General announcement:  Susan Webb has moved to another MPD position which takes her out of the Second Precinct.  For the time being Nick Juarez is working solo.

Meeting was adjourned (about) 7:20

July meeting report: Hate crimes and discrimination investigations in Mpls.

The meeting was called to order at 6:07 by Chair Larry Ranallo with 20 attenders.

Our speakers this month were Velma Korbel, Director of the Minneapolis Dept. of Civil Rights, and Kristin Johnson, Investigator in the Complaint Investigations Division of the Dept.  As the City is expanding services to residents, it is also expanding the means residents have to request these services.  Our well known and heavily used 311 contact is now a means of reporting hate crimes and discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and other, and these crimes may be reported by targets or by witnesses.

Ms. Korbel related that the “Hate Crimes Hotline” is an extension of the 311 line service, which was launched with limited services and hours in 2003, but has been expanding ever since. People in Minneapolis dial 311 for direct access while people who are outside the city proper or who can’t  use that line for any reason (TTY callers, for example)  can call 612.673.3000.

While there has always been some level of hate crime in Minneapolis, authorities have noticed an increase starting in Sept and October of 2016 when the political race fueled a lot of talk about building a wall, deporting people, and other divisive issues.   There was a further rise when U.S. borders were closed to some people.  As controversy became more heated, some cities took a stand declaring themselves “inclusive” and separating law enforcement activity from immigration and customs enforcement activity through use of non-cooperation clauses. Cities enforcing non-cooperation between their police forces and immigration officials include Seattle, NYC, Albuquerque, and more.  Minneapolis is part of this movement.

The Civil Rights Department of Minneapolis, the St. Paul Department of Human Rights, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and the FBI joined forces to coordinate the programs and outreach services offered by each agency.  There was a need for one number to call where reports would be screened to determine what department or service would best meet the immediate concern; 311 was an obvious resource.  311 is also a way for service providers to gather information about hate and bias crimes. Resources were added to the Department’s budget to coordinate the City’s response and handle information regarding hate crimes and discrimination, and to work with community and enforcement partners. Kristin leads this work in the Department.

People needed to know this expanded service exists so one of the first things they developed was a simple poster,  Go to and scroll past “HATE CRIMES HOTLINE” to see a printable PDF. Updates to the page making the information more accessible are pending.

QUESTION:  Does hate speech = a hate crime?

Korbel:  No, speech is protected by the First Amendment. There is hateful speech, but no agreed-upon definition.  There is confusion because last year’s political speech often mentioned “hate speech” which put that in people’s minds but the fact is, there is no definition of hate speech.  We welcome discourse of any kind, but while we may not like it, we can’t stop it.

QUESTION: 311 operators, including the supervisor seem confused about hate crimes.

Korbel: If you called the 311 operators, not to report a crime but to ask about hate speech, you need to remember 311 operators are NOT there to explain things, define terms, or to speak directly about a caller’s concerns.  Their job is limited to forwarding calls to the appropriate service center where staff trained in the caller’s issues are waiting to listen to and to evaluate a callers concerns and to begin working with and for the caller.  311’s job begins with receiving your call and ends when the operator has forwarded your call.

QUESTION: There is a question of context.  Speech at work can create an atmosphere that interrupts your ability to work.

Korbel:  Most work places have policies in place that outline what is and isn’t permitted in the work place and how violations will be handled.  Managers should be trained to handle these issues. Issues and events in one place may be handled very differently from a similar situation at a different organization.

Board member Dorothy Bode reminded people that the Minneapolis Public Schools is a separate jurisdiction and has its own hotline.


Johnson:  You may always contact the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR), St. Paul Department of Human Rights, or Minnesota Department of Human Rights to report unlawful discrimination, including a hostile working environment. A hostile work environment may be created through the harassment of an individual based on a protected characteristic (as defined in the Mpls Civil Rights Ordinance, Section 139.40(b)) that negatively affects that employee’s performance or job opportunities and is known by and not prevented or corrected by the employer. This is an example of an instance where one individual’s expressions of prejudice toward another individual may be unlawful, when the same exchanges on a public street may constitute protected speech.

Johnson: Minneapolis ordinance bans discrimination based on “race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, including sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, marital status, or status with regard to public assistance or familial status.”  Property damage, assault, and stalking are crimes per state law, no matter what the motive, but if bias (discrimination)  is determined to have been a motive of a crime, that judgment will give the complaint an enhanced status.  For example, if a person commits an assault, that is a crime.  If, during the assault they call someone a name (based on race, gender, etc.) the sentence for that crime may be increased on that basis.

Data collection so far suggests that many episodes are based on race issues.  Data also suggest that many incidents are under-reported.  Data collection does show context which may figure in later outreach programs.  With regard to most speech questions received to date, one example is that you may still paint a Swastika on your own property, but you may still not paint one on someone else’s property without their permission or on public property.

Johnson: some complaints may be sent to the MN Dept of Human Rights or other agencies, depending on the type of crime and the location.  The Mpls Civil Rights personnel will always look at it first.

The Dept of Civil Rights is developing relationships with other resources to better respond to complaints. It’s a work in progress. Please call Kristin at 612 673 2087 with any questions about the hotline or the implicated laws.


In Minneapolis:  Minneapolis Dept. of Civil Rights, (612) 673-3012.

In St. Paul, St. Paul Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, (651) 266-8966.

Elsewhere in the state, Minnesota Department of Human Rights, (651) 296-5663.


STATE OF THE PRECINCT:   Inspector  Loining reported that violent crime in the 2nd Precinct is down by 7.6% led by Robbery, down 32.47%  from 77 incidents in 2016 to 52 in YTD in 2017.  Criminal Sexual Conduct is up from 29 to 31 incidents in the same period and Aggravated Assault if up from 64 to 75 incidents in the same period.

Burglary is down by 11.29% but  auto theft is up by over 39%.

Current “Hot Crime Issues” in the 2nd Precinct are 1) reducing violent crimes by monitoring reports to determine focus zones for increased patrol, 2) reducing theft from motor vehicles by reminding folks to remove valuables from their cars or at least keep them locked in the trunk, 3) auto theft, alerting owners to the danger of warming up vehicles in the winter and to reduce theft of mopeds by securing light two wheelers with locks and chains, and 4) to reduce burglary of garages by reminding folks to lock their garages.  Officers will leave a hang tag on obviously unsecured garages which offers help and outlines the reasons to lock up.

Successful policing reports including two July 6 search warrants in NE Mpls,which uncovered one marijuana growing operation (one party booked) and a recovery of a shotgun and almost $10,000.   The Property Crimes Unit has been assigned 189 cases for investigation so far in 2017.  Of these, 144 have led to a charge.

The Second Precinct has gained 5 new officers.  All will be on foot beats for the next six months (standard procedure): 2 on East Hennepin and 3 in the Stadium Village area which includes the light rail station.  Other personnel changes:  Sgt. Beth Mota has transferred to the Juvenile Unit.  Sgt. Chris Patino has joined  2nd Pct Property Crimes, and Sgt. Darin Waletzki is now in the 2nd Pct

COURTWATCH:  Sarah Becker, City Atty.  and Judi Cole Hennepin Cty Atty.:  Cody Corbin failed to appear on 7/5 and a bench warrant was issued; he is free on $5000 bond and his next court date is 8/2.  Jason Enrico had an omnibus hearing scheduled on 7/14.  Kevin Foster was convicted on June 5;  a stay of imposition was issued and he is on probation until 6.5.2020.  Steven Haney is facing 2 narcotics cases; he posted a $100,000 bond on March 1; his house will be in foreclosure at the end of July. Daniel Heacock is now out of custody and waiting for a competency hearing.  Paula Heille failed to appear on 5/10 and a bench warrant was issued.  Mahad Ismail is now in prison and has a pretrial on July 19.  Kenneth Nelson has a 9/19/17 hearing coming up, and one complaint against him has a jury trial date.  Sharkina Nickens was convicted of burglaries and is now in prison.  Her other complaints have not been resolved.  Dae  Nisell was convicted on 6/23 for violation of restraining order and was sentenced to the MN Correctional Facility in St. Cloud (18 months stayed 3 years); he is on probation to 6.23.20.  Ryan Pilarski has completed probation on June 13.  Joshua Poplawski has a pretrial on trespass in the 3rd Pct scheduled for 7/12; probation violation hearing  on 7.24.  Ashley Sage seems to be meeting her agreement.  Robert Schroeder has a July 12 pretrial.  Michael Zaccardi has a felony level damage complaint with a 7.21 omnibus hearing.

No updates:Johnny Hall has not yet responded to his February bench warrant.  Curtis Laroq remains on probation to 11/4/18 and there have been no updates.

Removed: Canty, Nickens, Moen, Pilarski

Reminders:  do you want attorneys to attend your National Night Out?  Contact Jean M Heyer (, or go to heep://

It’s a chance to ask questions you may have been curious about and didn’t know who/how/where to find the answers — plus they’re nice people.

With no New or Old Business, the meeting was adjourned.

June meeting notes, part 1: Report from Aurora Center, victim support center.

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 PM by Chair, Larry Ranallo.  19 people attended.

Leading off a series of reports on support services available in Minneapolis to  victims of assault, Bronte Stewart-New, Legal Advocacy Coordinator described the menu of services available  from  the Aurora Center, University of Minnesota.

The Aurora Center  currently has 67 full time staff.  Many volunteer first and then are offered jobs at  the center.  Ms Stewart-New volunteered 4 years and was hired early in 2017.

The first step toward reducing the incidence of inappropriate sexual events on campus is to define terms.  The U of MN  distinguishes harassment, assault, relationship violence, harm, stalking, and consent.

Harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances that are presented as a condition of employment or academic advancement, or which have the effect of interfering with an individual’s performance,  or which create a hostile or offensive environment in any University event.

Sexual assault is actual, attempted or threatened sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent.  This includes but is not limited to intercourse. Rape is sexual intercourse without  freely given consent.

Relationship violence is causing physical harm, or threats of physical harm that rise in a personal, intimate relationship.

Harm means engaging in conduct that endangers OR threatens to endanger the physical and/or mental health, safety or welfare of another person and includes (but is not limited to) threatening, stalking, harassing, intimidating, or assaulting.

Stalking is behavior directed at a specific person that is unwanted and which would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  At the U of MN, the focus is on the impact on the targeted person, not  the intent of the doer.

Per U of MN official policy, consent is informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to engage in sexual activity, expressed in clear and unambiguous words or actions.

Prevalence of  assault reported by U of MN enrolled students, not limited to assault while enrolled: in 2015 the Center conducted a Health and Safety self-reporting survey.  34% of students contacted responded to the survey.

1)  24% reported being sexually assaulted.  The breakdown was 11% of all males and 32 % of all females
2) 19% reported domestic violence.  The breakdown was 12% of all males and 23% of all females.

3) Student perpetrators were 11% (again, this is self-reporting)

When the survey limited to reports of assault during enrollment, the picture changes slightly:

1) 6% of males reported post enrollment assault
2) 23% of females reported assault since enrollment
3) 34% of GLBT or gender-non-conforming students reported assault since enrollment.
These reports parallel similar reports from other  universities in percentage of reported assault.  In every category, the numbers were higher for students of color than for others.  BRONTE:  THIS DOES NOT JIBE WITH THE STATEMENT TWO SENTENCES DOWN: “12.8% white”
Additionally, the number of disabled students reporting assault were almost twice the number of students who do not consider themselves disabled, 21% v. 11%

Finally, when the report is sorted by race/ethnicity, another picture emerges, as 7% of reporters were Asian, 11.1% were Pacific Islander, 11;5% were black or African American, 12.8% white, 14.9% Hispanic, but 21.7% were Native American or Alaska Native.

Once a person decides to seek help, Aurora provides immediate and long term assistance on many levels.  There is a 24/7/365 help line staffed by volunteers with staff backup.  Aurora provides crisis counseling, support groups, and a substantial menu of advocacy services, not limited to dealing with academic impact, helping with housing, assisting with medical care, supporting a victim during police interviews, and helping with legal matters like obtaining restraining orders and other legal affairs.

Advocacy is the broadest service.  Advocacy begins with immediate emotional support to sexual assault victims, which is continued as long as necessary.  An advocate’s goals are to help the client avoid re-victimization (insuring fair treatment), to coordinate local  campus and community resources and programs.  The Aurora program is completely free to the client and completely confidential.  Advocates do not make decisions for a client, but carefully lay out options so the client is able to mindfully make his or her own fully informed decisions.

People affiliated with the University have  two first level options, but services may flow from one to the other.

First: Seek Support, don’t report.  Support is available through the Aurora Center (612.626.9111), through Boynton Mental Health Services (which also has a 24-hour crisis line at 612.301.4673) or from student Counseling Services.

Second: Report.  The Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action office is the strongest place to find help for violation of Title IX clauses,  Another place is to get help from the police (Emergency is a 911 call and non-emergency is 612.624.COPS 624.2677)