Murder in the Minneapolis Drug Zone

Minneapolis’ very first homicide of the year took place when 2003 was barely more than an hour old. And it happened in a locale perceptibly designated by the city’s police force and, by extension, the mayor,… Minneapolis’ very first homicide of the year took place when 2003 was barely more than an hour old. And it happened in a locale perceptibly designated by the city’s police force and, by extension, the mayor, for nefarious goings-on which facilitate exactly such a crime — the widely known drug zone of Park and Franklin Avenues in South Minneapolis.

In the wee hours of New Year’s morning (1:10 a.m to be exact), police responded to a 911 report of gunshots and found the body of a man believed to be between 35 and 40 years of age. Pursuant to the Minneapolis Police Department investigation of 2003’s first killing, there were no arrests as of New Year’s night and medical examiners hadn’t determined the exact cause of death. The examiner’s reported findings nonetheless ruled it a murder. That is, as usual, all the information on such a matter the mainstream media deemed fit to print.

So, let us look at the real deal. To begin with, the issue at hand is by no means limited in scope to this individual’s loss of life. Rather, it is attributable to apathy toward “inner city” life as historically exhibited by law enforcement. His death, as well as the suffering of his family and friends, identifiably resulted from broader circumstance than the specific act of his being slain. Whether he was shot (as seems likely) or otherwise done foul, the City of Minneapolis is as much to blame as is his assailant or assailants. This isn’t to automatically assume he had no hand in his own undoing, since he probably shouldn’t’ve been in that area so late at night in the first place. It is, however, to acknowledge an unconscionable situation for which Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson and Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak unquestionably are to be held accountable.

The strip along Franklin Ave., from 15th to 11 Avenues within the past year was, through continued and increased police presence, rescued from drug dealings in exact proportion to the rate at which eateries and other commercial concerns materialized, catering to the relatively upscale. In recent months, after an outfit called “Franklin Art” placed its banner across a building in front of which dealers previously operated in broad daylight, hustlers who practically considered it home have relocated. This development took place in tandem with police attention theretofore unprecedented outside the short-lived CODEFOR initiative. At or immediately around Park and Franklin, there are no eateries, art venues or other establishments of gentrification bringing White consumer dollars into this predominantly Black, Hispanic and Indian neighborhood. Hence, illicit industry, far from evaporating in this area sustains a stronghold.

It’s surprising that the New Year’s murder made the news — until one considers the quite incidental fact that it was Minneapolis’ first homicide of 2003: for literally years hookers, johns, junkies and gang members routinely have died on these streets without so much as, for the most part, passing interest from the police department and mainstream media. Bet dollars against donuts that the second such killing gets (or already has been) basically chalked up to circumstance.

The entire area will be taken over by White enterprise before what Black humanity as then remains can safely go about their law-abiding lives. This is because only then will the Minneapolis Police Department and Mayor R. T. Rybak be done supervising the preferential treatment of selective law enforcement which now endangers impoverished lives, particularly those of color.

It’s a damned shame. Were life-threatening conditions to so much as show signs of merely emerging on suburban streets — where cops, politicians and their neighbors live in absolute security — the hammer definitively would drop. Such a killing as this one which took place in the “underclass” is unfathomable whe

January 13, 2003
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