Sunday, June 19, 2005

Evidence that Red Star Suppresses Suspect Info - Public at Risk?

On June 17th, Rambix posted a Minneapolis Police crime alert for the Lowry Hill East and Whittier areas of Minneapolis (near Uptown). We noted that there was no mention of the robberies in the Red Star. And this is probably against all blogging protocol, but we're going to re-post part of that post because it's important:

"And isn't it almost guaranteed that if the Strib reported these crimes, no suspect description would be given? Remember the Red Star axiom: If the perp is black, suppress useful suspect description. If the perp is caucasion, give identifying information down to their favorite color." [6/17/05 Rambix entry]
Today, two days after the Rambix post, the Strib prints a small article inside the Metro/State section titled "Seven robberies prompt warning". Here's part of the article describing the robberies:

"In the first holdup, a man demanded money at gunpoint from a victim about 3:20 a.m. last Sunday at 26th Street and Bryant Avenue S. The last robbery was about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when two men with a gun threatened another person near 24th Street and Lyndale Avenue S."

• Four teenage males demanded money at about 8:30 a.m. last Sunday at 22nd Street and 1st Avenue S.

• A man demanded money at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 2600 block of Harriet Avenue S.

• Two teenage males demanded money at knifepoint about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 2800 block of Colfax Avenue S.

• Four young men demanded money about 2 a.m. Wednesday in the 2700 block of Pillsbury Avenue S.

• A man threatened a victim with a baseball bat in a robbery about noon Wednesday at 28th Street and Aldrich Avenue S.
Here's the Crime Alert again from the prior Rambix posting that came directly from the police:
In the past week, there have been seven robberies of persons.
June 12, 3:20 a.m. 26xx Bryant Ave. S.—Suspect black male, 25-35 years old, 5’11"; demanded money at gunpoint.
June 12, 8:30 a.m. 1st Ave/E. 22nd St.—Suspects four black males, 16-18 years old; demanded money.
June 14, 3:30 a.m. 26xx Harriet Ave.—Suspect black male, 20-25 years old, 5’5"-5’7"; demanded money.
June 14, 11:30 p.m. 28th/Colfax Ave. S.—Suspects two males 15-16 years old; demanded money at knifepoint.
June 15, 2:00 a.m. 27th/Pillsbury Ave.—Suspects four black males, 18-25 years old; demanded money.
June 15, noon W. 25th St./Aldrich Ave S.—Suspect black male, 20-30 years old, 5’11"-6’; demanded money, threatened with baseball bat.
June 15, 11:30 p.m. 23xx Lyndale Ave. S.—Suspects two black males, 23-35 years old, 5’9"-6’; demanded money at gunpoint.
Notice anything different? The Red star stripped the suspect information out of the Crime Alert!

Incredibly, the Red Star did exactly as Rambix predicted. The suspects for whom we had descriptions were black males, and the paper suppressed the information. They mention that the suspects had varying descriptions, which is not true. All the known suspect identifications were black males. There were no varying suspect descriptions within each incident. Then why did the Strib censor the information?

If anyone finds out what the Red Star's reasoning is, please post it here. This is an incredible display of censorship, with potential public safety implications.