Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No Justice

In a prior Rambix post titled "Minneapolis - the Fallujah of the west" from 10/16/05, I wrote about the mugging of the "patriarch of Sonny's Crema Café" in Southwest Minneapolis:

We know that crime occurs all the time on the north side and the Phillips neighborhood in general. What people should be aware of is that the previously insulated folks in southwest Minneapolis (where the middle to upper middle class, mostly white live) are being targeted with personal violence at an alarming rate. Yes, murders are down citywide, but robberies, rapes, and other violent crimes are up. And they are shifting toward previously safe areas.

Following are some recent cases in point (and by the way, you won't read these in the Red Star).

"Sonny of Sonny's Crema Café mugged, incidents worry Lyndale" from the Southwest Journal.

Seventy-nine-year-old Sonny Siron, the patriarch of Sonny's Crema Café, 3403 Lyndale Ave. S., was robbed during his morning walk on Monday, Sept. 5. Two black males asked him for directions downtown and then begged for money. When Siron indicated that he didn't have any cash on him, they appeared to walk away. An instant later, they delved into his pockets - wrapping their hands around his neck and stealing his wallet that contained cash, credit cards and keys. Siron wasn't injured, but he was shaken, according to Crema Café's Carrie Gustafson.
This is a highly trafficked area, frequented by normal people.

Said Gustafson, ”We haven't seen it this bad since we opened the café almost 12 years ago.“ She said her concern isn't about how many police officers patrol the area, but added, ”It's the fact that, once people get caught, they're back on the street and they just do it again. We have to get tough on crime.“
That was in October. Now we learn the perp will walk. This, from the Minneapolis SAFE Unit (3/22/06):

As you know, Robert Lashon Profit (age 19) was charged with robbery in connection with the attack on Mr. Martin (Sonny) Siron that occurred on September 5, 2005. Profit pled not guilty and was scheduled to go to trial on March 20, 2006. Thanks to the efforts of the neighborhood, 25 community impact statements were written regarding this horrible crime.

Profit showed up for trial on March 20, 2006. He was taken into custody because a warrant had been issued prior to trial. He requested a Rasmussen hearing. The purpose of a Rasmussen hearing is to determine whether there are any Constitutional issues that affect the evidence in a case. In this case, the Defendant moved to suppress the out-of-court identification (show-up) and possibly an in-court identification. The Defendant argued that the victim’s identification of him was not sufficiently reliable.

The Rasmussen hearing was held yesterday, March 21, 2006. At the hearing, Mr. Siron testified. Mr. Siron has a significant medical condition that affects his memory. Mr. Siron was not able to identify the Defendant and connect him with the crime. There was no other direct evidence that connected the Defendant with the crime, and as such, the prosecution was unable to proceed. The case was dismissed following the Rasmussen hearing.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy handled the case. She received the community impact statements and provided them to the judge. She advises that Judge Charles Porter, who presided over the hearing, said that he is willing to discuss the case with anyone from the community who is interested in knowing more about it. Judge Porter’s telephone number is (612) 348-8150. His mailing address is: The Honorable Charles A. Porter, Hennepin County Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487.
A sad turn of events in one of the seminal events in the decline of Minneapolis.