Trump Pence

Manufacturing Consent: A Timeline of Policing and Propaganda in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Riot Police on Plymouth Ave, 1967

Plymouth Avenue North in July 1967. MNHS via MPD150

Minneapolis Police in Riot Gear outside the fourth precinct in November 2015

Plymouth Avenue North in November 2015. Note the deliberate and complete hyper-militarization after five decades of continuously increasing public investment. Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune via AP

[content warning/trigger warning: gun violence, police violence, murder, anti-Black and anti-Native abuse, r*pe, assault]

The Metropolitan Police Department, the first municipal police force in the world, is created in London. The first American police force forms in Boston 17 years later.

Minneapolis incorporates and the City Council establishes the Minneapolis Police Department, which takes only 36 years to earn the title “The Shame of Minneapolis” due to its legendary corruption and racketeering.

The Citizens’ Alliance, a rightwing group representing downtown business interests, forms and spends the next half-century increasingly cementing the Minneapolis Police Department as its personal militia for enforcing anti-labor interests.

Minneapolis police open fire downtown during the Minneapolis General Strike and kill two workers on Bloody Friday. Downtown business interests later invent Aquatennial to overshadow the annual “Teamster Picnics” celebrating the successful strike.

The first Civilian Review Board is established and fails to create meaningful structural change, the same outcome as any other reform-based approach to follow.

Fed up with racist police interactions, community members form the Black Patrol, Soul Force and AIM Patrol to intervene and de-escalate potential violence. After AIM Patrol’s first six months, the percentage of the Native population in jail dropped from 70 percent to 10 percent. Community patrols predate the police and continue to this day.

Minneapolis police kill Black elders Lillian Wallace and Lloyd Smalley during a botched SWAT raid, a not-uncommon occurrence that “tarnished” the city’s image. Enraged residents, including the current Minnesota Attorney General, demand reforms.

In response to a call, Minneapolis police shoot and kill 17-year-old Black resident Tycel Nelson as he is running away. Enraged residents demand reform. Violent crime peaks in Minneapolis and America and steadily declines for the next three decades without interruption.

Metro Transit police severely beat an elderly Black man for lack of fare, and furious youth later ambush and kill Minneapolis police officer Jerry Haaf. The Minneapolis Police Department begins terrorizing residents, using tactics including Rough Rides of Native residents, kidnapping, rape, extortion and opening fire at Little Earth.

In response to a call, Minneapolis police shoot unarmed Black resident Dominic Felder in the back, killing him in the midst of a nervous breakdown. Later that year Minneapolis police run over 19-year-old Hmong resident Fong Lee on his bicycle and shoot him 3 times in the back, then shoot another 5 times more as his body lay on the ground. The officer involved is acquitted.

Five Black Minneapolis police officers – including the current Chief of Police – sue the department for racial discrimination, settling with the city for a record $2 million. The majority of the money is earmarked for (but not required to be spent on) “reform.”

In response to a call, Minneapolis police kill 28-year-old Black resident David Smith in the midst of a mental health crisis downtown, suffocating him to death under a prone restraint. Later that year Hmong resident Jason Yang dies under mysterious circumstances after encountering the Minneapolis police downtown at bar close. Violent crime in Minneapolis bottoms out and remains at historic lows throughout the decade.

In response to a call, Minneapolis police corner unarmed 22-year-old Black resident Terrance Franklin in a Lyn-Lake basement, shoot and kill him. An hour later Minneapolis police run over and kill resident Ivan Romero in the intersection of 26th and Blaisdell while on the way to the scene. The then-new (lesbian) Chief of Police, who had previously sued the department for sex discrimination, says reform is coming.

#Pointergate becomes the first baseless local performative law-and-order outrage in the new Black Lives Matter era. Glen Taylor, a North Mankato-based downtown Minneapolis sports billionaire, purchases the local paper of record, promising a deliberate rightward lurch over time.

Image result for #pointergate

Mayor Betsy Hodges points at a resident while posing for a picture during a Get Out the Vote doorknock, the basis of #Pointergate. It is not the first time the mayor has pointed at a resident while posing for a picture.

Minneapolis police kill 24-year-old Black resident Jamar Clark, shooting him in the face in response to an ambulance call. Residents occupy the nearby Fourth Precinct for the next 18 days to protest and build community, during which the Minneapolis police point assault weapons in the faces of current and future City Council members.

In response to a call, Minneapolis police shoot and kill 40-year-old white resident and Australian national Justine Ruszczyk Damond, sparking international outrage.

In response to a call, Minneapolis police shoot and kill 31-year-old Black resident Thurman Blevins as he is running away. Six months later Minneapolis police shoot and kill 36-year-old Black resident Travis Jordan in his front yard during a welfare check. Three weeks later the City Council votes down the mayor’s request to increase the police budget by $12 million annually, choosing instead to invest in upstream safety measures.

2019 (according to the Minneapolis-based Star-Tribune)



Glen Stubbe / Star-Tribune






Police Federation President Bob Kroll in his “Cops for Trump” T-shirt after introducing President Trump at his October 10 rally in downtown Minneapolis. Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune via AP

  • Monday, October 7, 10:47 p.m.
    Detention sought for young repeat Minneapolis offenders
    Policy change meant to address Mpls. crime wave.
    — tl;dr perception of increased crime downtown is tied to one specific group. Minors from the group are diverted from jail to the Juvenile Supervision Center, where some 10 percent to 13 percent walk out after waiting up to 10 hours to be offered shelter or a guardian. Because the jail has significantly more resources than diversion programs, repeat offenders will be sent to jail insteadImageImage
Devin Hogan

About Devin Hogan

Devin Hogan is an urban market gardener and a local major political party chair. His posts will always represent the former instead of the latter. Devin has a professional Master's degree in Global Bureaucratic Neoliberalism (International Development Practice) from the Humphrey School. As an avid biker, drummer, and queer person, he has been happy to call the Lyndale neighborhood of Minneapolis home since 2010.

24 thoughts on “Manufacturing Consent: A Timeline of Policing and Propaganda in Minneapolis

  1. Tom BasgenTom Basgen

    A genuinely brutal and honest look at our police and how they try to sway and collect power. Excellent piece.

  2. Michael D Kraines

    I’ve avoided downtown for years now. Used to go all the time. Much better options in the burbs today. No hassle from people in the streets, parking is no hassle, and no hassle for the police. Win, win , win.

    1. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke

      Better options for what, exactly? I like downtown. It’s the only really public, urban place in our city. I wish it was better in many ways, had more diversity and street life.

      1. Monte Castleman

        You can go to restaurants in the suburbs without being panhandled and without having to pay for parking.

      2. Tim

        I don’t specifically avoid downtown Minneapolis (or St. Paul), but I only go there for sports or performances (concerts, theater, etc) these days. Everything else it has is better offered in other parts of the core cities, or the suburbs. That wasn’t true once upon a time, but it is today in 2019.

        Parking, crime, etc. don’t enter into it for me personally.

    2. HUnta

      Once you’ve ruled out going downtown, your opinion becomes less relevant. I still go downtown often for various events. Biggest danger is drivers, con artists and pan handlers, which are all avoidable. But I do get out of there before midnight. And, as a city dweller who moved to the burbs to raise my family, I’ve returned to the cities as I found that in the suburbs, no one can hear you scream…a rather soulless and un- nourishing environment where you must drive all the time.

    3. Lindsey Aster SilasLindsey Aster Silas

      I avoid the suburbs because I hate having to drive and like being around interesting people doing interesting things in interesting places. I don’t see what your point is here. Hating Minneapolis is not a personality.

    4. Andrew Evans

      Agree Michael, I haven’t been downtown for years as well other than specific events that go on there. Much easier staying around other parts of town or first ring burbs.

      That said, and maybe it’s me being out of my 20’s and early 30’s, but not much goes on there that I’m interested in. Then if I did want to go out and grab a drink or hang out, the parking and crime tend to sway me other places.

    1. Monte Castleman

      I’d like to see a list of crime that didn’t happen against innocent victims because we had police. It would probably be as long as this article just for today.

      1. Ally

        Weirdly, I think most would-be crimes are prevented not by the police but by improved overall wellbeing. If someone is safely housed, well fed and educated, they have far less motive to commit crimes like stealing. The presence of police only maybe prevents crimes when the police are actually visible, and even then not always–how many times have you watched someone run a red light, fail to yield to a pedestrian or speed in the presence of a police officer? For me, it’s been a lot. Police are mostly only called when a crime has already been committed, so I fail to see how they’d be much more effective in preventing crime than, say, just having better lighting and more people around (the “eyes on the street” principle).

        1. Monte Castleman

          You don’t think there’s be a lot more murders, assaults, robberies, and whatnot if criminals knew that there weren’t any police to come arrest them?

          1. Ally

            I genuinely don’t. I believe most people are basically good and would continue to behave the same way sans police. No police doesn’t mean no consequences for your actions; just that the focus is more on restorative justice than a punitive system.

          2. Adam MillerAdam Miller

            Yeah, I don’t think most crimes are carefully thought out decisions, weighing the probability of getting caught against the severity of sanctions.

            People aren’t really “criminals” out to do crime. They’re people in circumstances that wind up with criminal results.

            1. Monte Castleman

              So Gacy, Bundy, Kaczynski were just “people in circumstances” rather than “criminals”?

          3. Andrew Evans

            Monte, you have it wrong. They are making the argument for personal responsibility for safety, and the 2nd amendment as an extension of that.

            1. Monte Castleman

              Except aren’t the same people that want to disband the police generally the same people that want to get rid of the 2nd Amendment?

              1. Andrew Evans

                Ohh that’s right…

                I once knew a guy that was active in borderline gun control politics. Not full blown jump the shark policies, but did support some measures. He was also a staunch left voter.

                Anyway, I guess he was having a bad day and decided to take it out on me after something I said triggered him. I don’t recall what it was, something political, but nothing extreme.

                As he was yelling at me he asked if I was carrying and if not we could take it outside. At that moment I stopped taking him seriously and also stopped hanging out with that crowd.

                I guess guns scared people, and the mere thought of me being armed was enough for him to back down.

                What a hypocrite.

              2. Andrew Evans

                Well and, it’s hilarious since these are some of the same people who want to give the government more control over our lives, and take away our ability to defend ourselves.

                So in the end, they love police and the police state.

    2. Tom BasgenTom Basgen

      Severely reduce it’s scope. Redistribute it’s resources into communities in need. Crime is a thing of desperation. We have the capacity to reduce it to record lows by just supporting folks in need.

  3. Hunta

    The police are just an extension of the cruel and heartless state, with origins more akin to those of the KKK. There to protect the propertied class and serve the wealthy…and the white. With occasional good acts and assistance to the people. But how many must be shot in the back before the police stop getting afraid and killing citizens, especially people of color? How many intoxicated American Indians must be thrown in squad car trunks? How many will be murdered during so-called welfare checks?

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