Thursday, June 3, 2021

More Lying in Minneapolis

Today, the City of Minneapolis moved in to clear George Floyd Square at 4:30 a.m., saying it was doing so at the behest of "the community." Since 4:30 a.m. is clearly when you do things that the community supports, right?

It was odd seeing the story play out through the day and get zero national attention from anyone outside of the Twin Cities, given the usual focus on all things George Floyd. Though I guess the New York Times has finally picked it up now.

I'm sure there will be more from other commentators soon, now that people from "the community" have put a lot of it back together. I live in Saint Paul and have been watching this happen from a short distance.

Here's another story, from the Star Tribune, related to last year's uprising, that is both local and national and has not gotten much attention.

Michael Cooper, a retired Illinois cop of some kind, was working security for CNN on May 30, 2020, near the 5th Precinct at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. He had two guns on him, plus his permit to carry and press credentials.

Despite this, he was arrested by two Minnesota State Troopers and held for almost 20 hours for violating the curfew that was in effect at the time and for illegally possessing a gun.

Cooper — who is, you guessed it, Black — was the only one arrested from the CNN crew at the time. The other members of the crew were white. He is suing the State Patrol for at least $500,000 for violating his civil rights.

All of that is bad enough, but this is the part that is making me write this. According to the Star Tribune story,

[Trooper Kelly] contended that he searched Cooper and found no media credential. Once aware that Cooper was armed, Kelly explained that the arrest was made "being that we had no way to prove that the male was employed by CNN (no credentials), active duty law enforcement or a conceal carry permit holder"...

Contrast that with Cooper's version of what happened:

As darkness set in, Cooper directed a CNN broadcast crew away from nearby tear gas and rubber bullets being fired by law enforcement. A rubber bullet hit one crew member and sent him to the ground in pain. Tear gas soon followed.

Cooper approached law enforcement, showed his media credential while seeking help for him and his crew to leave the immediate area. He repeated that he was a member of the media "but was ignored."

Troopers ordered him to kneel, then lie down and place his arms straight out, with his palms upward. A compliant Cooper was grabbed by Trooper Kelly and cuffed behind his back while knocking his media credential from his hand.

Cooper identified himself as law enforcement and explained that he was armed. Kelly disarmed Cooper and left him handcuffed and prone for several minutes. All the while, the suit read, "the troopers did not arrest any of the white members of the broadcast team, who initially remained nearby."

Captain Doe [the other trooper Cooper is suing] ignored Cooper's media credential while falsely claiming that he was violating curfew. A handcuffed Cooper waited another 45 minutes before being taken to jail.

What reason would Cooper have had to not produce the credentials and permit that he had on his person, when he's being arrested? Would CNN have sent him out without such a thing? That makes no sense.

This seems like a clear case of active-duty police lying to cover their butts.

It makes me think of this blockbuster story from the Minnesota Reformer (which has gotten no attention in other local media!) on whether the Minneapolis Police Department (or the Mayor's office) has been paying a PR firm to fight the City Council on defunding the police... This ties back to today's guerilla deconstruction of George Floyd Square, which also involved furtive payments.

What a way to run a city.

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