Police say Mpls man left threatening message for Metro Transit police chief

A Minneapolis man has been charged with making terroristic threats against Metro Transit Police chief John Harrington. According to the complaint, Anthony Jemison, 51, left a two-minute long, profanity-laden screed on the chief’s voicemail last week. Police say Jemison complained about Transit Police patrols near the intersection of Chicago Ave. S. and Lake St. And they say Jemison warned Harrington that he could wind up like Minneapolis police officer Jerry Haaf. Haaf was shot and killed while on duty at a Lake Street business in 1992.

Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland said Jemison has made complaints to Metro Transit before, but says the threats are something new. “Obviously Metro Transit takes threats against law enforcement personnel very seriously,” said Siqveland. He also said it’s very rare for Metro Transit Command staff to be threatened.

Harrington most recently served as a DFL state senator before joining the Metro Transit Police Department. Before that, Harrington was chief of the St. Paul Police Department.

  • In all fairness, was Jemison’s statement actually a threat? Not being privy to the exact words he said or to the context I can’t be sure one way or the other, but it seems to me the legal system often mischaracterises statements of information or opinion as threats.

    Merely stating that something bad could happen to someone doesn’t necessarily mean that the person making the statement intends to be the one making it happen, either directly or indirectly.

    If you warn a friend that they could get mugged if they go to a certain neighbourhood at night, are you threatening them? Of course not.

    For the record, let it be known that I have zero involvement whatsoever in this specific case, my concern stems from having had things I said mischaracterised in the past.

  • Good points. The complaint lists the comments that apparently triggered the terroristic threats charge. Here is an excerpt – with my edits for language — so you can judge for yourself if the county attorney overreacted:

    “…That’s how Jerry Haaf got killed doing dumb sh**…Chief Harrington is a white mother f****, f***** and when I see his mother f***** a**, I’m gonna f*** him up on the five…so give me a mother f***** call…”

    Also, a correction. The message was left on Harrington’s secretary’s voicemail, not Harrington’s. Plus, Harrington is African American, not white, as Jemison alleges in the voicemail message.

    According to the complaint, Jemison also complains about Transit officers working near Chicago and Lake. Here is another excerpt, again edited for language:

    “I run the whole block Chicago and Lake…we might drink and smoke a little bud…punk a** mother f***** bus cops, those mother f****** keep f***** around Chicago and Lake, we gonna f*** em up for real on five, just like Jerry Haaf got stuck…I call the shots.”