A little background: In August, a Minneapolis cop was shot and killed
an older black woman, and the other cops on the scene then shot and
killed her. Not long after that, a 19 year old black kid was shot by
Minneapolis cops. He wasn't shot, but it caused a real big stir here.
The week after that, an 11 year old boy, an innocent bystander, was shot
in the arm by police in a botched drug bust in North Minneapolis. North
Minneapolis has a heavy concentration of black residents, and they went nuts.
A riot broke out, and news crews were assaulted. The mob damaged camera crew vans,
and all hell broke loose. I've been interviewed by local TV about this whole thing.
There's more, this is just the bare bones, but it all happened in August.
The problems have been going on for a long, long time, and a federal mediator
has stepped in.
She has been in the Department of Justice for more than 30 years, so she's not one of Ashcroft's flunkies.
She will be back on Friday to continue. She can't force federal mediation, though -- the mayor and city
council have to agree, and they don't seem to want it. If they turn down mediation, the scene here will
probably start to get ugly again.
Since then, I've had people coming forward asking me to help tell their
and this is the latest one (BTW, since there are photos being run with this article,
I didn't mention in the text that this is happening to a black family here).
If people knew what really happens here, Minneapolis would lose its progressive
image overnight. This is one of the most overtly racially prejudiced cities in the country,
and there are lots of horrifying stories coming out of here.
She says she moved to Minneapolis from Cincinnati for her children's
survival. She brought her family to Minneapolis to start a business, get
a better education for her children, and to get away from a brutal police force.
Charon Dow, a single mother of five, says, "The whole point of me moving
from Cincinnati was because I heard this was a place where you have better
opportunities for a single parent, and for starting a business, and education is a lot
better here. Little did we know all this was going to happen."
"All this" was a nightmare that started on February 15th of this year,
and has no end in sight. Ms Dow's family, and especially her eight year
old son Mallik, will never be the same.
On that evening in February, Dow says, "We had just finished eating
dinner. My daughter (Aeriel's) friend was here. After we watched a movie,
at about 6:30, they walked Aeriel's friend to the bus stop. As my son
(Mallik) was crossing the street to the bus stop, he was struck by a
vehicle. They said it came out of nowhere. They stated-they being the
other four children who were there-that the streets were clear and well
lighted because it was still daylight.
"The truck caught him by both legs, and it broke his right lower leg..."
Dow's daughter, Aeriel, continues: "A car just came from out of
nowhere. He was speeding. So he hit (Mallik), but he kept on going; he didn't
stop. So everyone else had to flag him down, like cars that were behind
him that (had seen) what happened. They had to flag him down, beep him
down, stuff like that to get him to pull over and stop.
"So I pulled him (Mallik) out the street because there was more cars
coming, no one was bothering to stop it. Then when the police came, they
were like, 'Why did you move him out of the street?'
Aeriel explained to the officer that there was traffic coming from both
ways, and that it was dangerous for Mallik to be laying out in traffic.
Aeriel says, "They told me I shouldn't have done that."
"Then I called my mom. A lady that saw what had happened let me use her
cell phone while she went to get the man (the hit and run driver)
because he was still going...When my mom came, the police told the man to
leave when he came back to the scene. But he didn't leave. He went to
bring his car, saying that he did stop right away."
Charon Dow says that while paramedics were splinting Mallik's leg, the
police were talking to the driver and they were "catering to this guy.
They were standing there, like to them, everything's fine. They weren't
with my child, seeing if he was okay.
"They didn't cite the driver. I went over and asked who it was that hit
my child. Those police officers ignored me. I asked three times; they
ignored me. My daughter was the one who told me who the driver was."
Dow says she then approached the driver and asked for his license. "The
police officer told me not to ask him that...He told me that if I asked
one more time he was going to take me to jail." At that time, Ms Dow
says that the officer took her by the arm and led her away from the
driver of the truck. "He told me 'If you continue to act like that, we won't
give you your information.'
"I snatched away from the officer and went over to John Brodin (the hit
and run driver), and asked him again to see his license. He was laughing,
and standing there slouched over, not able to hold himself up. His eyes were
glassy; they were red. He had the appearance of a person under the influence.
Due to my medical assistant training, that's what it looked like to me.
"By this time, he's (the driver) saying that it didn't matter, he would
his information. He was smirking, like it was a joke to him. So I started to look
at his license, and a police officer comes over, snatches it out of my hand,
gives it back to him and tells him that he could leave.
"When I told the officers that I wanted a blood alcohol test done on
this man, they told me I did not have the right to ask that."
It took about two weeks for Charon Dow to learn that John Brodin was an
off duty Minneapolis police officer. And Aeriel Dow says she recognized
the officers on duty. "They were in squad car 430. They come visit my
school sometimes and talk to my class."
In the meantime, Mallik was confined to a hospital bed, on a morphine
drip. His injury was so severe, Dow says, that it was days before the
swelling in his fractured leg had gone down enough for the injury to be
treated and for Mallik to be fitted with a cast. When he was released,
he was given a prescription for Tylenol with codeine, which raised concerns
with Ms. Dow that Mallik ran the risk of addiction to those pain medications.
While Mallik was lying in a hospital bed, his eighth birthday passed.
At the scene of the incident, the police had given Dow a card with some
information they had written. "They gave me false numbers. As soon as I
came home from the hospital when my son was admitted, I tried to track
down a police report as soon as possible, so they couldn't say that it got lost.
The number the officer had given me was fake; when I called to try to get the
report, I was told that that number didn't exist. I was given a six digit number,
but their reports only went up to five digits."
Dow was eventually given the correct number from a sympathetic officer
who looked it up for her. But, Dow says, the information contained in
the report was not correct. Among the inaccuracies, she says, was a
statement that Brodin had stopped his Chevy S-10 truck immediately.
It did not take long after that for the Dow family's problems to get even worse..
Dow says "In March, Children's Protective Services (CPS) initiated an
investigation on my household without acknowledging it to me. They alleged
that I abused one of my children, Ezra. They picked Ezra up, with a sheriff's escort,
from school, and nobody contacted me. I went to the daycare provider to pick
my babies up, and that's when I found out they took him.
"CPS alleged I abused Ezra because there was an incident where he had chipped
his tooth." Despite letters and statements from Dow's home care worker and others,
including Ezra's psychologist, a minister and a pastor affirming that the injury was not
inflicted by Charon Dow, Ezra was still taken from his home and placed in foster care.
Dow says she has been allowed to see Ezra only three times since he was removed
from his home.
"We went to court in July, then they (CPS) mentioned they intended to take
Dow said she was told by a CPS worker that they had "concerns" about Mallik's "emotional"
welfare, but said he could not talk to her about it. "I went with my mother over to CPS",
where Dow says she was told that there was no such action being contemplated.
Dow has retained an attorney and filed a notice with the city of
Minneapolis on July 16th that she intended to file a suit. As of the date
this article was written, there has been no official response from the
city. When asked directly about this situation, Minneapolis Mayor R.T.
Rybak promised to take a personal interest in getting it resolved.
Charon Dow says, "I'll never forget; it was squad 430. I still see
them; they have not been pulled from the street. They have not been
disciplined. I see them every day. For a while, I would see them on this
street, 7:30 every morning. My neighbors called me one night at one in the
morning-they were sitting out in front of my house.
"And this incident has prevented Mallik from being able to start
playing soccer like he really wanted to. And he wakes up in the middle of the
night, screaming. I have had to walk into his closet, so he can see
there is no one in there. He wakes up thinking that police officer who ran
him over is in there, and is going to get him."
Isaac Peterson is a longtime bartcop.com contributor.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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