When it comes to reporting news that bears on crime and race in the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Star Tribune is deeply conflicted. In “Dragged, beaten and robbed,” my colleague and friend Peter Swanson of Swanblog takes a look at today’s Star Tribune story on a black gang’s assault on a white 15-year-old riding the bus: “7 juveniles, 2 adults held in bus attack.” This is an astounding story. Because the Star Tribune makes its stories inaccessible after a few days, I’m taking the liberty of pasting it in below:
Nine people have been arrested in an attack on a 15-year-old boy who was dragged from a Metro Transit bus, beaten and robbed before he was able to flee and get help.
The ninth suspect was arrested Tuesday in the attack on the teenager, who was riding the bus from downtown Minneapolis through the North Side on April 2 when he was dragged off near 34th and Fremont Avs. N.
The victim was punched, stomped on and kicked in the face, according to charges filed Monday against one of the suspects. Authorities said they expect that more charges will be filed this week against seven juvenile suspects and an adult suspect.
Three charges were filed Monday against Markee L. Colquitte, 18, of Minneapolis.
Colquitte was charged with first-degree aggravated robbery, kidnapping and third-degree riot.
Some of the suspects have been identified as members of the Tre-Six Vice Lords street gang, said Mike Martin, regional commander of the Minnesota Gang Strike Force.
That relatively small gang, made up of mostly juveniles and young adults, is suspected of committing robberies and assaults and trafficking in crack cocaine and marijuana in north Minneapolis, Martin said.
According to the criminal complaint filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court, the victim boarded the bus at 7th St. and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Six to 10 young males in the back of the bus surrounded him and taunted him, making repeated references to his race (the victim is white, the suspects black). When the bus stopped at 34th and Fremont, they grabbed him and pulled him off, the complaint said. They punched and kicked the victim, breaking his wallet chain and fleeing with the wallet, which contained $17.
He ran to a nearby convenience store and called 911. He suffered scrapes and bruises to his face, forehead, hands and back, the complaint said.
Video surveillance from the bus shows the group dragging the victim onto the sidewalk, according to Metro Transit police.
“It was outrageous,” said Metro Transit police Capt. Dave Indrehus. “The victim in this case was totally innocent, had nothing to do with these parties.”
The video shows that other bus passengers did not try to intervene, Indrehus said. “Quite frankly, I don’t know if I would blame them,” he said. “You may end up becoming a victim yourself.”
The surveillance tape did not capture the bus driver’s actions, he said.
The driver called Metro Transit’s control center to report the incident, said Bob Gibbons, director of customer service. He refused to divulge further details pending an investigation of the driver’s and Metro Transit’s handling of the case.
Metro Transit’s 1,600 drivers are trained to call for help on the bus radio, to protect the victim by pulling over and letting the victim or perpetrators off the bus, or to try to defuse altercations without harming themselves, Gibbons said.
“They have to make that judgment, if there’s anything they can do, shouting, honking their horn,” he said.
Gibbons called such altercations rare, and Metro Transit police said the bus line where the fight took place is not known for such problems.
Peter hits the most notable highlights of the story in his post on it. It is important to add, however, that this gang boarded the bus in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. The fact that large crowds of marauding gangs are hanging out downtown has been left unreported by the Star Tribune until today.
This Star Tribune story is a sequel to the warning that John and I raised in our late-2002 columns “The silence of the liberals” and “Time for regime change in Minneapolis.” Since we wrote those columns, matters have grown worse. Responsibility lies with the faulty leadership of the mayor and the chief of police, abetted by media silence.
The famous New York Times story on the bystanders to the murder of Kitty Genovese is available here. See also the Newsday retrospective: “The killing of Kitty Genovese.” I guess we can console ourselves that the bus driver, unlike the witnesses to Genovese’s murder, apparently made a timely call to the police as he proceeded on his route after kindly dropping the gang and its victim off.