Emailed to every department in the City of Minneapolis government that seemed remotely appropriate:
To the parties concerned:
At 6:30 pm on Saturday 8/3/2013 I witnessed police officers in squad car #250 stop and search two approximately
14 year old African American boys bicycling through the alley by Lowry Ave NE behind the Dairy Queen. Both wore backpacks. Not only did these officers go through their bags, it looked as though they were about to be given a cavity search. The boys, after ten minutes, were let go and given their things back. It appeared as though the male officer was going to strike the boy he searched until he realized there were witnesses.
The officers concerned were a blonde, female officer in her 20s and a taller, white officer in his early 30s.
It appeared to those of us watching that there was NO PROBABLE CAUSE. The boys had been following traffic law, were quietly minding their own business and it is still not illegal to wear backpacks while biking in Minnesota.
I strongly encourage you to advise these officers that having black or brown skin has not qualified as probable cause since 1863. Perhaps an update to the police procedural manual is in order. I want to keep Minneapolis a safe place to thrive – and police that are trustworthy are a big part of that.
There is a complaint that will be filed, but given that police oversight in Minneapolis remains ineffective (perhaps because officers do not live in the city) it seemed preferable to contact the departments that oversee the police first.
with great concern,