4/16/2004 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Philander Jenkins Case Update
  • Duy Ngo Case Update
  • Renville, MN Residents Demand Police Chief's Resignation Over Brutality
  • Keith Ellison: Opposition to Confirmation of Stanek as Public Safety Commissioner

PHILANDER JENKINS UPDATE
Two weeks ago, we reported that Hennepin County had filed bogus charges against Philander Jenkins for "falsely" reporting that he was assaulted by staff in the Hennepin County jail. They did this the night before Philander was to go to trial on charges of robbing a cafe. Philander denies these allegations and several witnesses have identified someone else as the perpetrator. You may recall that the news story of the Washington County attorney declining to file charges against their buddies in the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office was released the night before Philander was to go to trial for his first encounter with police--the incident during which Minneapolis police shattered his jaw.

Thanks to fast action on your part, lots of folks showed up in court to stand with Philander and his mother, Brenda. And what a good thing it was that we were there! We were able to put into the hands of Philander's attorney information about the news coverage and the inflammatory statements made by Hennepin County Sheriff Pat McGowan. Philander's attorney used the information to get a continuance to delay the start of the trial because the jury pool would have been tainted by newspaper and TV news stories depicting Philander as a liar.

Jill Clark and Jill Waite are representing Philander for the charges Hennepin County filed against him for reporting his abuse by jail staff. Philander was supposed to be arraigned (plead not guilty) on those charges that same morning. When the Jills came into the courtroom, seems like the Hennepin County prosecutor's jaw dropped. This is the same prosecutor who pursued the last set of bogus charges against Philander--and Jill Clark was able to show how those charges were false. Seems like the HC prosecutor's office has been told to find some way to keep Philander tied up with the legal system to cover for the brutality of the Minneapolis Police and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department but the Jills keep messing with their plans.

Philander's cases--the cafe case and the arraignment on the "false" reporting charges--were in court last week. The county dropped one of the charges in the "false" reporting case right away, since HC jail staff aren't officially "law enforcement" officers (since they must have known that, why did they charge him in the first place?). In the cafe case, the state had to admit Philander didn't rob the cafe. Now they are trying to say he "influenced" the young man who did. They are pursuing "corruption of a minor" charges against Philander, even though they are charging that minor as an adult. Seems the state wants it both ways.

Despite all of this, Philander's attorney in the cafe case was eager to make a deal with the state--a "deal" in which Philander would serve 11 years--for what?? Philander fired that attorney and the Jills have now taken over that case, a fact that made the prosecutor quite upset. She went so far as to say "I don't see anything wrong with his attorney." Well, duh!

Jailhouse Injustice: As you may know, folks who are waiting to go on trial in Hennepin County are housed in the Hennepin County jail. Philander had been moved from the workhouse to the Hennepin County jail on March 30th--the night before he was to go to trial and the night the story came out in the media that the county was charging him for reporting his abuse in the jail. Philander reports that he spent a sleepless night being taunted and harassed in the jail.

When the cases were continued due to the media stories, Judge Daniel Mabley wisely issued an order for Philander to be taken back to the workhouse rather than being housed at the Hennepin County jail. That was on March 31st. A few days later, the Jills happened to be in court on another case for another client when they learned that jail had defied Judge Mabley's order and Philander was still there. On breaks during that trial, they swung into action and Philander got moved that day. Still, this shows how flagrantly the jail flaunts the law and even orders from judges.

We are awaiting word on when Philander will be back in court. We'll let you know, so you can be there, too. Thanks to all who came to court on very little notice last time. Believe me, the court system is well aware of the large number of people watching this case and it has helped to ensure Philander gets at least some measure of justice.


DUY NGO CASE UPDATE
Much has happened in the Duy Ngo case in the last few weeks, much of it confusing but consistent with the tense politics wrapped into this complex case.

On April 3rd, Mary Ann Padua, an activist with a group supporting justice for Duy Ngo, sent out the following email to their list: "2 days ago at 6:00 a.m.(in the morning) two men in suits came to my front door and flashed their badges and pushed their way into my home. They claimed to be Minneapolis Police Detectives and wanted to ask me questions regarding Officer Duy Ngo. I just stepped out of the shower and I was getting my children ready for school. They asked me very inappropriate questions about my personal sexual relationships. These two "Cops" repeated asked me about my sex life and tried to intimidate me into answering these very RUDE questions. They did not give their names nor did they leave business cards. I have since filed a report with the MPD internal affairs unit. The Minneapolis Police Department claim that these two men are not from their police department. Thank goodness my children were present, I am afraid to think of what they would have tried if my children were gone. ALL of us need to be aware of anyone who tries to asks us questions about Duy Ngo or his family. The police are very desperate right now and they will try anything to get even with Officer Duy Ngo. Do not let anyone with badges into your home and do not answer any questions without calling 911 and ask if these are real cops."

A few days later, Mary Ann put out this email: "I just received information from the Minneapolis Police Department that these 2 men who came to my home at 6:00 a.m. were real police officers. They have not yet released their names and badge numbers. Be on alert for more of these illegal tactics. Tell everyone that this is what the Minneapolis Police are resorting to as part of their investigations."

After initially telling her the officers who came to her home weren't Minneapolis police, Deputy Chief Sharon Lubinski later told her that, in fact, the officers were part of the MPD. She characterized the visit to Mary Ann's home at 6:00 a.m. at a "legitimate contact" and said the cops came there at 6:00 a.m. because they had found Mary Ann not home during previous visits (which begs the question of how many times the cops had come to her home prior). Lubinski identified the "visiting" cops as Sgt. Falcon and Sgt. Wagner.

The thing to remember is that Mary Ann is a very visible member of the Duy Ngo support group. She organized the support ralley for Duy Ngo at the Mpls Community College and Tech Institute where Ngo is a graduate of their nursing/medic program and she is a student leader. The group has been out front supporters of Chief McManus. The officers who abruptly "visited" her home tried to intimate that she had an affair with Ngo, which is a physical impossibility and did not happen. She babysits for their family and is a close friend of the couple. This was an ugly attempt to smear and intimidate a member of Ngo's support team and drive wedges in their movement.

In the next major shakeup, the Star Tribune reported on April 10th that the St. Paul police department was taken off the investigation of the case, despite Chief McManus' insistence that the case be investigated by an outside agency. The reasons are unclear. The change was made while McManus is out of town because his wife just had a baby (he returns on April 20th) and while Sharon Lubinski was acting chief. This leaves the investigation in the hands of Deputy Chiefs Tim Dolan and Lubinski, and Inspector Don Harris. After over a year of MPD stalling on the case, does anyone think this is the "dream team" for this investigation? In that same article, the Strib reported that the city has hired an outside attorney to possibly go after McManus for allegedly using profanity and "threaten[ing] political payback" against the three cops he had previously suspended.

A somewhat buried article on the kstp.com website may give us the real insight on what all of this is about. Apparently Storlie was promised that he would not be investigated in the Ngo case. What gives? Why would he ever be given such a ridiculous promise? The story:

Questions about Ngo investigation
Updated: 03-26-2004 12:28:54 PM

MINNEAPOLIS - New information may show that former Minneapolis police Chief Robert Olson might have misled the public about the shooting of undercover officer Duy Ngo shooting.

Officer Charles Storlie accidentally shot Ngo during a drug bust. About a month after his deposition, he e-mailed a superior saying he read a newspaper quote from Olson that there was still an investigation into his shooting Ngo.

According to Storlie, he was told the city attorney said there was not an investigation by the Minneapolis police department. His superior e-mailed him back, saying Olson had the facts. The e-mail said Storlie should ignore the paper's story and he was not the subject of an investigation.

Current Chief Bill McManus was aware of the promise.

"I have heard that he may have been, but I've not been formally told that," McManus said.

Storlie and Olson could not be reached for comment.


SMALL TOWN FOLKS DON'T LIKE POLICE BRUTALITY EITHER
Associated Press
Renville residents demand police chief's resignation
Wed, 14 Apr 2004

RENVILLE, Minn. -- Citizens are calling on Renville's police chief to resign.

The citizens presented a 248-name petition earlier this week to the Renville City Council that asks Police Chief Ben Dehmlow to resign immediately.

At Monday's meeting, petition organizers charged that Dehmlow and his department are too aggressive in how they apply law enforcement, Mayor Quentin Rath said.

Those asking for the chief's resignation also cited what they said was negative publicity generated for the town. Those who spoke in defense of the chief and his department credited it with efforts to keep the community safe and secure, and with strong professionalism.

The mayor said council members will be holding their evaluation of Dehmlow at an April 21 meeting. An unknown number of the signatures on the petition are from people who are not residents of the city.


We received the following from Rep. Keith Ellison regarding the possible confirmation of Rich Stanek as Public Safety Commissioner.

TODAY--PRESS CONFERENCE TO OPPOSE CONFIRMATION OF STANEK

Press Conference
April 16, 2004 (TODAY!)
10:00 a.m. Sharp
Be there at 9:45 a.m.
Minneapolis Urban League
2100 Plymouth Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55411

Issue: the Confirmation of Richard Stanek and his use of the term "Nigger"

I received a copy of a deposition transcript styled Freeman v. Officer Richard Stanek et al. Freeman sued Stanek for police brutality. The transcript states in part:

Q: Have you ever made any comments that were negative about people because of their race?
A: Yes.
Q: And have you ever done that when you were on duty?
A: Yes.
Q: And have you ever done that when you were talking to other police officers?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you recall when the most recent time you did that was?
A: Yes.
Q: When was that? And what happened on that occasion?
A: . . . a Hispanic couple . . . asked me what kind of neighborhood the area of Broadway and Penn Avenues North was. . . I told them in my opinion a high crime area. . . .
Q: Have you ever used the word in quotes, "nigger"?
A: Yes.
Q: And approximately how many occasions have you used that one?
A: I don't recall a specific number.

As you may know, Rich Stanek is a former state legislator from MapleGrove, and now he's up for Commissioner of Public Safety. The Senate crime prevention committee will take up the issue of whether it will recommend him for confirmation by the full Senate very soon.

Commissioner Stanek was one the primary proponents of HF#1, the law that put a special mark of the driver's licenses of certain immigrants. He was one of the primary opponents of former Rep. Greg Gray's bill regarding Racial Profiling.

If the Pawlenty Administration wants Stanek, then it should be with the full understanding of his history. As commissioer he was represent the entire state of Minnesota, not simply his former House district. Please attend the press conference and share you views.

Keith Ellison 651-296-5486
rep.keith.ellison@house.mn


Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


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