Native American Press / Ojibwe News

December 13, 2002
Minneapolis police meet with Indian community elders

photo: Clara NiiSka
Representatives from the Minneapolis Police Department (from right to left) Lieut. Chris Arneson, Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson, 3rd Precinct Commander Sharon Lupinski meet with MUID and community members at the December 10th MUID meeting at the Minneapolis American Indian Center.
Chief Olson addressed the group at length, and responded in part to the demands presented to the Minneapolis City Council on November 22nd.  Those demands included: a complete and full investigation of the recent death of Carol Garbow; a full investigation of and re-opening of all the unsolved murder and rape cases on record, involving American Indian people for past decades; identifying and providing specific data on murder and rapes of American Indian people in the Twin Cities; providing increased police presence and safety programs in significant city areas of murders and rapes of Indian people; developing  an on-going mutual working relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department and the American Indian community; providing meaningful cultural sensitivity training to the Police Department and related agencies on American Indian culture and values; and establishing round-table meetings between city agencies and groups such as the City Council, Police Department and the Civil Rights Department.  Olson provided summary data on rapes and unsolved murders of Native Americans in Minneapolis, and handed out a report which detailed six of the unsolved murders.

Mpls Police Chief Olson meets with Indian community leaders

Mpls Police Chief Olson, along with 3rd Precinct Commander Sharon Lubinski and Lt. Arneson, met with Anishinabe community leaders at the Mpls American Indian Center on Tuesday, December 10, 2002. The meeting was hosted by the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors (MUID).

The Mpls police chief was well armed with facts, graphs, statistics, and names of victims surrounding Native American homicides and rapes since 1990. With specific factual data to back him in a Q & A format after his presentation, Chief Olson responded quite well to questions posed. He was not so evasive and political, as appeared the case when angry Anishinabe demonstrators had confronted him at City Hall on November 22, 2002.

The following are some Native American homicides and rapes stats from 1990 to the present time. American Indian Violent Crimes Analysis, December, 2002, by the Special Investigations Division, Mpls Police Dept (MPD).

1. Native American Homicides, 1990 to present: 58 cases with 46 of these having been solved or termed under "clearance." The clearance rate is shown at 79.3 percent. Twelve Anishinabe cases are therefore still under investigation, and are "open homicide cases."

Open homicide cases by race show Anishinabeg at 4.8 percent of the total, which is disproportionate to their small population of less than 1 percent of the total general population. Black victims are 61. 2 percent of the total homicide cases. Black homicide cases are often black on black, but not so with the Anishinabeg, according to homicide by race studies done several years ago.

2. Sexual Assaults of Native Americans. MPD, Sex Crimes Unit, Lt. Mike Sauro’s memo to Chief Olson dated 12-10-02 was handed out at the MUID meeting.  According to the memo, between 1993-2002 approximately 10% of all Criminal Sexual Contact Rape (CSCR) cases were Native American.  And, for the year 2002, twenty-four CSCR cases were routed to the Sex Crimes Unit.

The sexual assault report states that the vast majority of these cases involved stranger on stranger CSCRs. This is a shocking 100 percent rate of strangers raping Anishinabe eqway-wug. Only 7 percent of strangers are involved in all CSCRs.

It was further reported that a majority of the victims were using alcohol or drugs. And, most of the victims were picked up on public streets, usually getting into the suspect's vehicle willingly. Clearly the life styles of the rape victims made them easy prey, thus, they were like "vulnerable adults" that are entitled to societal protection. A close look at the twelve Open Native American Homicide cases also show vulnerability issues in that life styles put the victims in harms way.

The homicide and rape stats on Native Americans cited in part can be useful in that a base line of information surrounding violence against Anishinabeg in Mpls can be studied by Anishinabeg themselves for purpose of determining what can be done to stop these unusually high numbers of killings, rapes, and other violent crimes, such as assaults.

Vincent Hill, Mille Lacs Anishinabe Elder, Mpls



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