9/6/2006 Newsletter


  • Great Victory in Philander Jenkins Case
  • Community Demands a Real CRA
  • Alleyway Ordinance Goes Down in Flames
  • Frankie Howard Case--Death in Custody at Ramsey County Workhouse
  • Boudreaux in Court

9/7/06, 10:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
Main Level at Fountain

In a stunning victory, six jury members found Philander Jenkins not guilty today of three charges related to the reporting of an attack and sexual assault he experienced in the Hennepin County Jail in 2003.

Throughout the trial, the misconduct of the jailers, investigators with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA, the state version of the FBI), nurses at Hennepin County Medical Center and the prosecutors themselves was laid bare for all to see.  We learned, for example, that Philander was given a completely inadequate medical examination at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and that basic tests weren't done because--the nurse testified--the instruments to do them weren't handy in the exam room.  While Philander was at HCMC, the jailers ransacked his cell looking for any evidence they had left behind.

During the investigation, a lab tech noted that she found six hairs in Philander's underwear.  Five of the hairs were black fragments that most likely came from Philander.  A sixth hair, however, was long and red-brown--the same color as the hair of the alleged perpetrator.  That hair had a root adequate for DNA testing.  The BCA investigator ordered an old-style DNA test that ensured that the root would be consumed BUT never compared the results to the DNA of the perpetrator.  Instead he ordered that the DNA be compared to Philander's--as if that makes any sense.

The information about the hair evidence was never entered into the computer records of the investigation and prosecutors withheld the information despite repeated requests for all lab reports during discovery.  It was only because of their diligence that attorneys Jill Clark and Jill Waite found this evidence when they demanded the complete lab file directly from the BCA .

Everyone involved in the prosecution of Philander Jenkins should be prosecuted for their role in this corrupt fiasco and the man who raped Philander should go to prison.  Philander's attorneys, Jill Clark and Jill Waite, will hold a press conference tomorrow to reveal how they will pursue this case next.  We realize this is extremely short notice but be there if you can.

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This editor would like to thank members of the community who attended the public hearing of the CRA work group.  You folks have restored my faith in the community and our ability to be heard.

The meeting started out with a description of the recommendations from the CRA working group.  However, it was bit of bait and switch because they presented the original proposed ordinance wording that would require the chief to discipline sustained complaints even though they knew that the author of that wording was already working in the background to bring a watered down version--that does not require the chief to discipline--to the council for a vote. 

Right away, the community called out the work group on that tactic, telling members that they would much rather lose with the original ordinance proposal than win with a proposal that wouldn't address the problem.  Speaker after speaker expressed the same sentiment--so much so that CRA chair Michael Weinbeck, city attorney Peter Ginder and others felt compelled to defend their decision to buckle under and accept the watered down proposal.  A sentinel moment occurred when a man from the audience, white and appearing to be affluent, got up and told the story of how his son and daughter had been beaten by two drunk, off duty cops and how other cops responding to the scene added to the hurt by covering for the drunk cops and arresting and charging his children.  After nearly three years, the CRA sustained his family's complaint BUT the complaint sits on the chief's desk to this day.  His story was a poignant reminder of why the CRA exists and why we need to require the chief to discipline sustained complaints.

One version or another of the proposed ordinance change will end up at the city council sometime in the next few weeks.  We will let you know about any public hearings that are scheduled.  This is shaping up to be quite the showdown and it will be interesting to see if we can keep the good ordinance wording on the table.  Right now, it looks like it might still be alive.

We are happy to report that a proposed ordinance that would criminalize walking through the alleyways was defeated at the September 1st Minneapolis city council meeting on a vote of 10-3.  This repressive ordinance would have allowed police to stop anyone in an alley and make them prove they belonged there (meaning they lived on the same block as the alley).  Had it passed, Minneapolis would have become the first city in the country to make many miles of public space off limits to community members and require community members to present identification to prove they belong.  According to the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU, this ordinance would most certainly would have been declared unconstitutional by the courts and they were prepared to file suit to stop it from taking effect.  Luckily, sensible heads prevailed and this terrible idea never became law.


The article states that Mr. Howard was acting erratically and notes that he flooded his jail cell by clogging his toilet.  Inmates sometimes do this to avoid being Tased and beaten by the guards.  We can't say for certain if this is what happened in this case but you should know that everything is not always as it seems.

Workhouse Inmate Dies in St. Paul
Randy Furst
September 04, 2006

A St. Paul man who died on Saturday at the Ramsey County workhouse was behaving erratically before his death, flooding his cell and trying to cut himself, authorities said Sunday.

The Ramsey County medical examiner's office identified him Sunday as Frankie Howard, 44.

"After he had been restrained, Howard went unconscious and that's when emergency services was called," said Maplewood police Lt. Dave Kvam.

Kvam declined to comment on whether Howard was being restrained at the time he lost consciousness. But Carol Roberts, director of the county's community corrections program, said that Howard had calmed down by the time he passed out.

Howard, who lived in the 100 block of Front Street in St. Paul, had been ordered to the workhouse for seven days on a charge of contempt of court, but had received two days credit, Kvam said. Details about the court case were not available Sunday.

Howard entered the workhouse on Thursday, Kvam said. On Saturday morning, he began to act erratically and was moved from a dormitory setting to a cell, Roberts said.

There was a nurse at the workhouse, but because of his behavior, she was unable to treat him, she said.

Howard flooded his cell by clogging his toilet, Kvam said, and broke apart a food tray, using the shards to try to cut himself, according to Roberts.

When corrections officers tried to prevent him from hurting himself, they were scratched, she said. The officers were taken to the hospital to be treated for scratches and exposure to fluids, she said.

A call was made to Regions Hospital to have him taken there, but the hospital recommended he be brought in by police, she said. After the nonemergency police call was made, Howard passed out. Then an emergency call was placed. Workhouse staff and ambulance personnel were unable to revive him.

Kvam said police got a call about a disorderly inmate at about 10:42 a.m., and a second call that he was unconscious and not breathing. He was pronounced dead about 11:20 a.m. at the workhouse.

Roberts said there was nothing to suggest that Howard was handled improperly. She said she'd know more after a report was finished Tuesday. Kvam said he was waiting the results of an autopsy and did not know the cause of death.

Frankie Howard grew up in Trezevant, Tenn., getting as far as the 12th grade, although he did not graduate, said Larry Howard, an older brother, from Harris, Tenn.

He worked in an ammunition plant in Milan, Tenn., for about eight years and moved to St. Paul with a cousin about eight or nine years ago to find a job, Larry Howard said.

"He's a good person. He got along with everybody," Larry Howard said. "He would help you do anything if he could ... I was shocked. We are still wondering what happened."


Boudreaux had a bad vehicle accident, caused by a truck.

In court, the trucking company's fancy lawyer was questioning Boudreaux. "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'?" asked the lawyer

Boudreaux responded, "Mais, Let me told you what happened.  Me, I had jus loaded my favorite mule, Bessie, into da . . . "

"I didn't ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted.

"Just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine!'?"

Boudreaux said, "Mais, me, I had jus got Bessie into da trailer and I was driving down da road . . "

The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client.  I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to answer the question."

By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Boudreaux's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule, Bessie".

Boudreaux thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Mais Cher as I was saying, me, I had jus loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into da trailer and was driving her down da highway when dis huge semi-truck and trailer ran da stop sign and smacked my truck right in da side."

"Me, I was throwd into one ditch and Bessie was throwd into da udder. I was hurting, me, real bad and didn't want to move at tall. But, me, I could herd ole Bessie moanin and groanin. Me, I knew she was in some kind o' terrible shape just by her groans."

"Shortly after da accident, a Highway Patrolman, he came on da scene. He herd Bessie moanin' and groanin' so, him, he went over ta her. After he took himself a look at her, he took out his gun and shot her between da eyes."

"Den da Patrolman came cross da road, gun in hand, and looked at me, and said 'How are you feeling?'"

"Now what da hell would you say?"

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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