Monday, November 24, 2014

Pointergate AKA Signs of Anarchy Can Have A Silver Lining: Time for State and Federal Officials to Reopen Metro Gang Strike Force Corruption Investigation

Kudos to Jon Stewart and his intelligent and savvy staff at the Daily Show for doing so effectively the job that conventional news outlets have been so woeful at:  confronting the spin, half truths and in this instance flat out falsehoods used by powerful and monied elites to manipulate the audience aka the electorate.  I am humbled and envious of the manner in which Stewart and the Daily Show time and again takes on seemingly divisive issues, lays out the facts and surrounding context in a truthful manner.  What once looked like a divisive issue at an impasse, when exposed to the bright sunshine of the truth, often becomes a no brainer and hilarious to boot.

I found especially brilliant the way Stewart takes on the ridiculous positions of powerful interests, whoever they are, in this instance a union for the Mpls Police and a media conglomerate, Hubbard Broadcasting and KSTP.  On several occasions Stewart did not have to say a word, but rather, used to greater effect, pregnant pauses and let the ridiculous arguments and conclusions based on fear, misinformation and racism collapse of their own weight.  I know its been said many times before but it is bad omen for a democratic society when entertainment outlets have to become more like news outlets because the news outlets have become more like entertainment.  Whether intentional or through serendipity, the effect is the same, a dummy downed, increasingly passive audience and electorate which is easier to manipulate and control.

Shame on KSTP and its billionaire owner Stanley Hubbard for reflexively defending its shoddy journalism with arrogance and insecurity instead of dealing with a mistake in judgment with honesty and humility.  Surely Stanley Hubbard, a man who built a media empire is more intelligent and sensitive then the angry, illogical and ridiculous caricature of a human being impression that one gets when listening to his interview on Minnesota Public Radio on November 14, 2014  Listen to it at

Lastly there is nothing funny about gang violence and the scourge it can be to a city.  One only needs to look at contemporary Chicago to see the impact and effects it can have.  But even more dangerous is the tendency in this country to go overboard with a law enforcement response to a gang problem.  I would hope that all the attention devoted to Minneapolis and the issue of gangs could have a constructive outcome, a silver lining.

I would like to say the country could learn from the approach taken in Minnesota with the Metro Gang Strike Force but to our great shame not only was the Metro Gang Strike Force the most corrupt, out of control law enforcement entity in state history, I would submit it was the most dangerous criminal organization period.  They broke the law with impunity, lacked supervision, mocked the very citizens and constitution they were sworn to protect and uphold and most dangerously never held accountable by county attorneys and the state attorney general.  Please read the excellent reporting in the Minneapolis Star Tribune , by Lora Pabst, Randy Furst  and staff writers:

Sheriff tried to dissuade Gang Strike Force audit

Bob Fletcher says he changed his mind after cash and vehicles could not be found.

April 5: Several officials criticize Gang Strike Force's publicly funded Hawaii trip

The new strike force leader called the tab "ridiculous," but his predecessor labeled critics "nitwits."

Metro Gang Strike Force had illegal meeting: Experts

Board members e-mailed each other to get agreement on a statement to preempt an editorial on Hawaii trip.

Suit: Gang Strike Force seized money without cause

A young Honduran says Gang Strike Force officers took $4,500 from him last year at an impound lot with...

Gang Strike Force cops shredded documents

A written account by the Strike Force's commander said a dumpster behind the Strike Force's offices in New Brighton...

Document shredding puts Strike Force in doubt

The integrity of the team of 34 officers and supervisors from 13 local law enforcement agencies, who focus on...

Gang Strike Force seizures criticized

The state's Legislative Auditor raised new questions about how the Metro Gang Strike Force disposed of vehicles that it...

Minneapolis, Metro Transit police pull out of Gang Strike Force

Minneapolis police said the decision is financial, but it is more bad news for the anti-gang unit.

Gang Strike Force shut down after audit finds $18,000, 13 cars missing

The decision to immediately close the offices was made after some Strike Force investigators turned up at the agency's...

Strike Force was rife with misconduct, panel charges in new report

Report details breadth of misconduct, saying officers took home property that had no proven connection to crime.

Two top strike force leaders part of inquiry

The Star Tribune has learned the identities of 16 officers reportedly under investigation.

Crime fighters gone rogue

The Gang Strike Force racked up many victories; then stardom turned to ashes.

Seized money: One man fought back

Wilbur Haisley had $3,319 - until a Metro Gang Strike Force officer took it.
the final report

Next read the entire review panel's report including their thoughtful and well reasoned recommendations to abolish all similar multi-jurisdictional (i.e. uncontrolled) task forces and a change in the forfeiture laws as well as links to recent articles on the trials and tribulations of the Metro Gang Strike force see

Then ask yourself "Why werent these criminals with badges held accountable or at the very least prosecuted?"  Hell they were not even disciplined.  Is there any wonder why the citizens and especially the poor and communities of color, the ones most likely to be the victims of bullies, thugs and organized criminals be they street gangs or strike forces, have poor relations with and do not trust law enforcement.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.