Viral video of Minnehaha incident prompts demands for explanation

No doubt there will be plenty of debate surrounding the story behind this scene, filmed by Brianna Lindell in Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

One thing seems clear: if she hadn’t been filming, there’d probably be no news conference to explain the story.

As it is, one has been scheduled this afternoon (2 p.m.) by Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Mary Merrill and Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto to explain the situation.

In her video, Lindell says a white teen was threatening the young men kids and they ended up handcuffed.

Today at Minnehaha Falls cops drew guns on 4 black kids ages probably ranging from 9-12. When my partner and I arrived…

Posted by Brianna Lindell on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The scheduling of the news conference comes shortly after 6th District Parks Board President Brad Bourn said he was investigating the situation after he saw the video on Facebook.

Several of you have reached out regarding a park police stop at Minnehaha Falls yesterday involving several children.I…

Posted by Brad Bourn on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

He said the children are safe and home with their families.

MPR News will provide details from the news conference via Twitter.

[Updating]

(h/t: Kevin Hendricks)

  • Guest

    he said they had received a call that the kids had a gun. We were approached by the people who had been deescalating earlier who told us that both cops had jumped out of their cars, guns already drawn

    I expect cops to come out of the car with guns when they get a call about guns. After that, it is all on the professionalism of the cops.

    Bear in mind they MUST secure the area and have no idea if a tossed shirt is wrapped around a gun.

    • This sounds like another incident in which whites call the cops to put black lives in danger. This is a new level of vile.

      • Ben Chorn

        It’s becoming a trend just like “swatting”, unfortunately.

        • Yes, I thought that when I read the story as well.

      • The Resistance

        This is and will be our new normal for some time.

        With an openly racist president (Charlottesville, Pochahantas, Birtherism, Go back to their huts, Britain First, Sh!thole Countries) that has high support within his party in a country that has never fully dealt with its race issues, many more citizens will feel emboldened to do the same and much worse.

        It’s a national emergency that is being treated by most citizens as an annoyance, curiosity, or series of unconnected incidents. Until his party unequivocally condemns his racism we’ll be seeing many more people feeling comfortable publicly expressing their previously guarded racism. This is especially true if it becomes more common in the military, police, and similar organizations .

        “Racism may indeed carry out the doom of the Western world and, for that matter, of the whole of human civilization”- Hannah Arendt

      • crystals

        It is, and it demands that those of us who find this pattern abhorrent keep filming, keep telling the full story, and keep holding our fellow white people accountable for this ridiculous and dangerous behavior.

      • Archimedes

        No this sounds like another incident where we don’t have information on how the whole situation unfolded. The woman recording the scene says she happened upon the altercation after it already started. So how did the situation between the two groups start? Two groups, one a young boy+girl probably dating, the other a larger group of boys and no girls. In my experience a pack of single young boys are usually the aggressors to a lone boy and his girlfriend. A single male with his GF is not going to provoke a larger group of males.
        Alas, we have a narrative and most people don’t care about the details of how things happen in real life situations.

        • lindblomeagles

          A) The situation was already de-escalated by the time the police got there. B) None of the children had weapons. You’re so called details and “wait for the facts to come out” philosophy HAS ALREADY DISMISSED THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS HERE. Oh, and, by the way, the white guy involved, were never approached, questioned, or identified by police. Perhaps that’s the fact you like the most.

          • Archimedes

            What is the most important fact here? Why did they put handcuffs on them? Well if you watch the video and listen to the cop, he says these two boys were “runners”, meaning they ran when the cops got there. So common sense is that you should prevent the kids from running again while you sort things out. What you don’t see are other kids that probably didn’t run and where let go on their way.

          • lindblomeagles

            Kids got scared. Kids ran. Police caught them. NO WEAPON! I’LL REPEAT — FOR THE DEAF AND DUMB — NO WEAPON! Upon further investigation, NO CRIME COMMITTED. Well done Sherlock Archimedes. Can you enlighten us some more about what point you’re getting too?

          • JamieHX

            How do you know those things — that the situation had already “de-escalated” or about the white guy not being approached or questioned or identified?

          • lindblomeagles

            You got the read the video Jamie. It’s right in the first one. But, to get a real sense of what happened you need to read all the texts by the photos, not just the print Bob has here.

          • Elizabeth Dunbar

            Police say the 911 caller was not on scene when they arrived and that they haven’t been able to reach her. They’re still trying.

          • lindblomeagles

            Thanks for the update Elizabeth! I really do appreciate the information, however, I’m not hopeful she’ll be found. She just got caught on tape making a statement alleging a weapon 4 black youths didn’t have — a public case in which are dear sweet officials from Minneapolis reminded everyone that reporting a false crime IS a crime. If she’s smart, she’s underground, and she’ll stay there.

          • Elizabeth Dunbar

            You’re right that the likelihood of someone turning themselves in is probably low. But police do have a name and phone number, so we’ll see…

        • JamieHX

          Exactly. We don’t have all the information. Yet everyone is automatically condemning the cops. Just like they have automatically and hastily condemned the police involved in every single situation we’ve heard about for the last three or four years. We don’t have all the information yet on the Blevins shooting either, yet people are calling for the firing of the officers involved (and I think I heard they want them charged with crimes too, but not 100% sure).
          The more people jump to conclusions, the more they will say in subsequent situations, “no, we don’t know everything yet, but we know how the police act in these situations.” Conclusions are “jumped to” more quickly with every incident that occurs.

          • emersonpie

            Tell me again who was jumping to conclusions.

          • JamieHX

            I don’t understand your question.

        • Elizabeth Dunbar

          You are correct that the Facebook video begins well after the police showed up AND after the boys had already been detained. There is police body camera footage that investigators are now reviewing as they try to get the full picture here. We will keep reporting on this as more information becomes available.

    • Kassie

      Seems to me that if there were kids with guns at Minnehaha Falls in the middle of the day, they would have received more than one call. One call in does not seem to be a credible threat at all in a situation like this.

      • JamieHX

        The police can’t wait to see if they’re going to get more calls in order to decide to intervene in a situation. Would you want to have to wait for them to get, say, 3 or 4 calls while you are being assaulted, or do you want them to come right away after one person makes the call for your situation?

        • Elizabeth Dunbar

          These are good questions. How seriously do police take 911 calls, and to what extent do they consider context, like time of day, popular park, etc. Some people have also suggested that sometimes 911 callers say there’s a gun to get police to respond sooner. We don’t know yet if that was the case here.

    • emersonpie

      I’m not sure if the tossed shirt was an issue, but let’s say it was. If a gun is wrapped inside a shirt some distance from anyone, it is not going to leap up and go off. The officer would walk over to the shirt and check it out. It would seem no gun was in the shirt after all. So what else about this situation called for such harsh treatment of 4 young people?

      • theoacme

        The fact that they were African-American and were still breathing.

    • Laurie K.

      I would be willing to bet that by the time these kids were handcuffed, their bodies and property had been subjected to a pat search – which begs the question – why was it necessary to handcuff them if no weapon was found? I am almost certain that the cops were fully aware that the t-shirt did not contain a gun at the time the good samaritan tried to help out.

      • RBHolb

        Shooting an elephant. Once things started, the officers had to follow through or risk looking like fools.

        • lindblomeagles

          They already look like fools, and this doesn’t help Minneapolis at all, which was already looking bad after shooting a black man two weeks ago and a white woman earlier this year. Where have you been?

      • Yes, they would have been patted down. As that should have made clear that there was no threat, the urgency of the situation should have been reconsidered and the goal should have been turned to gathering more information, which should have made it clear what really happened.

      • JamieHX

        Your near-certainty doesn’t matter. Unless you were there and heard from the cops about what they were fully aware of.

      • Elizabeth Dunbar

        The Mpls Park Police Chief was asked by reporters why the officers didn’t give the kid his shirt back when he was being bitten by mosquitoes and requested it, and the chief said he wondered the same thing.

  • AmiSchwab

    handcuffing alleged victims? is that new s.o.p.?
    handcuffing black kids is apparently s.o.p.

    • Jerry

      Because cops are terrified of black males, regardless of age.

      • theoacme

        Well, I now am legally justified to consider all cops an immediate and irremediable threat to my life, the only legal recourse is for me to wait for the cops and their fascist supporters to lynch me so that they all can feel better about themselves.

        My death will have served a good cause if it would be the last one like that ever…but it wouldn’t be…

      • lindblomeagles

        Man, you need to write this 50 times on this website because for every incident involving white cops and black teens, the public doesn’t hear what you have succinctly, and factually, have written here today. Instead, they keep acting surprised or shocked a) that this happens to black males at all, let alone constantly; b) that most black males are not out there making crime; and c) that this treatment by cops to black males occurred in their city, community or town. Each week, we have a Jim Crow like moment with black males (and lately, even black women), and the public still are in disbelief. Thanks so much for writing this and, like I said, write it some more. Maybe then we, the public, will actually take heart.

      • Not all of us who do/did police work are. Before I was a cop, I’d taught junior high and high school in black schools. Went around to homes to make sure the parents got the report cards. That was a long time ago, but now as a retiree, I know my black neighbors by name and the names of their kids and dogs, too. We share stories of our life events and live in a civil environment. Yes, it’s Woodbury and not Minneapolis, but still – you can’t paint with quite so broad a brush.

        • Elizabeth Dunbar

          Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Erik Petersen

    You Minneapolis residents ought to take seriously that you have perhaps the worst, retrograde urban police department in America besides Chicago, Baltimore, Albuquerque, and Mesa say.

    • Elizabeth Dunbar

      One clarification: The Minneapolis Police Department was not involved in this case. It was the Minneapolis Park Police Department, which is overseen by a separate governing body than the city of Minneapolis.

  • The Resistance

    It saddens me to say it, but I won’t trust any police officer until they break the Blue Wall of Silence.

    Once I hear police union presidents and members–especially the good officers– publicly speaking out against fellow officers who engage in corruption, misconduct, discriminatory arrests, physical and verbal harrassment, and selective law enforcement then I’ll consider trusting police officers again.

    Police should be guardians, but often act like warriors. That has to change in order to regain trust.

    • Amen. Those of us who have been “good officers” know that misconduct and racism taint investigations and hinder the search for the truth.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    Just curious, do we know what happened to the white guy with the trash can lid who claimed to have a knife? I suspect he was long gone by the time the cops arrived.

    • >>When my partner and I arrived the kids were being harassed by a young white guy, who appeared to be around 17 years old. He was spouting racial slurs at them and aggressing them with a metal trash can lid and saying he had a knife. <<

      Agreed.

      What happened to the white teen racist?

      • RBHolb

        “Go home, young man, and don’t do this again.”

      • Jeff

        There was the scene in Superbad where the cop (Bill Hader?) has the kid shoot up his police car.

    • Elizabeth Dunbar

      He and his girlfriend (the suspected 911 caller) were not at the scene when police arrived. Police are trying to track them down but haven’t yet.

  • Jeff

    Are the Park Police different from of the Minneapolis Police? Apparently they get to have guns, so there’s some overlap there. Parks and Recreation and guns doesn’t seem to go together.

    • Elizabeth Dunbar

      The Minneapolis Park Board is a separate governing body from the city of Minneapolis and has its own police force. It’s been that way for over 100 years.

      • Jeff

        Thanks! I wonder what the difference is between park policing and regular policing? Why have a separate force?

        • Elizabeth Dunbar

          I suspect it has to do with budgeting and oversight. The elected Park Board appoints a park superintendent, who oversees the police force. They probably could choose to contract the policing out, but they might have less control over it. I’ll pass this question along as I continue reporting on this, though.

  • Matthew Schempp

    Just a quick note: “In her video, Lindell says a white teen was threatening the young men and they ended up handcuffed.”

    The “young men” are noticeably younger than the “white teen” but it doesn’t read that way. Please, call them children.

  • Archimedes

    1. Two groups of kids get in an altercation (we don’t know who started it)
    2. The women happens upon the groups fighting and starts recording
    3. Girl in group-A calls police and claims group-B has a weapon (we don’t know if she is lying or group-B made claims of a weapon)
    4. Cops get call of a fight and weapons present, meaning that they arrive with weapons drawn ready for situation described to them
    5. Cops arrive on scene and only find group-B, group-A must have left but they attempt to locate (per officer claim in video)
    6. When cops attempt to talk to group-B some of the boys take off running (per the video and statement by officers of boys handcuffed being “runners”)
    7. Cops catch “runners” and handcuff them to prevent them running again
    8. Cops let kids go after finding no weapons and no crime commited
    9. Woman posts video with her limited context and knowledge of events and lights the race bait bonfire

    • Elizabeth Dunbar

      Most observers agree that this would not have blown up to this degree without that Facebook video.

  • Elizabeth Dunbar

    We’ll keep on it!

  • Erik Petersen

    To the extent this Joe Schmoe (me) with a keyboard has had an opinion in Bob’s pages here, I’ve been pretty skeptical of the quality of policing we get in this country. That includes all the ambient racism and incompetence.

    Here, I’d caution people of getting too far afield in their conclusions of racism and incompetence.

    What this looks like is perhaps two groups of city kids perhaps taunting each other and worried about who was going to jump whom.

    The police’s interest in that is legit though their drawn guns and hand guns with one party only do look iffy.