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“There was no settlement, no justice, for Glenda Telford or for her sister, Sheila Haynes, nor for hundreds of other people of color who had been told that their cases had been investigated.”
by Ronald A. Edwards, – “Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues” – Re-posted with permission by IBNN NEWS
Minneapolis, MN (IBNN NEWS/TMS)…My May 6, 2009 column on race-based Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) incidents highlighted the existence of serious corruption and cover-ups involving the city of Minneapolis and its police department. The column dealt with the notorious Valachi, the primarily White gang task force unit, the Black police officers in the Minneapolis Police Department, and a four-part series by the Star Tribune that had been following our investigative reports of cover-ups and corruption for over two years.
Key lines from that column: “As we have detailed for the past several years…the real attempt was to pin White corruption on Black officers; “dirty cops (the majority…according to the [Star Tribune], would be White)”; “Ms. [Sheila] Haynes [was] pressured to falsely testify that Black police officers were in the pay of Valachi.” It got so dangerous that “the federal government suggested to Ms. Haynes that she leave the state for her own safety.”
The Star Tribune editorial of Tuesday, April 28, 2009, expressed regret that settled lawsuits prevented the truth from being told. This is why the African American Ms. Haynes’ sister, Glenda Telford, and her two juvenile sons were treated unjustly by the Civil Rights Department and the Civilian Review Police Authority. Pretending to investigate her complaint, they instead helped carry out an MPD vendetta against this family because of Ms. Telford’s sister, Sheila Haynes.
Ms. Haynes helped expose police corruption in the metropolitan area. Ms. Telford had no clue that by the very early summer of 2009, a decision had been made to circumvent and suppress the complaint she submitted on behalf of herself and her two sons to the Civil Rights Department.
Ms. Telford was told her case was being investigated. All the players knew it was not being investigated: the head of the Civilian Review Authority knew; the head of the Civil Rights Department knew, which the CRA reports to; the investigators knew, who on paper investigated but did not in reality; as well as clearly powerful forces within the police department who knew the case would never see the light of day knew. Physical attacks on members of the Telford family in March 2009 were an attempt to intimate Ms. Haynes so she would not testify about the information she possessed about corruption at the highest possible law enforcement level.
In my May 6, 2009 column (again, see here), I appealed for support for Ms. Haynes, who had significant information that would have helped Officer Mike Roberts. As I have reported, Ms. Haynes and her family attempted, through Officer Roberts’ attorney, to deliver her affidavit to the presiding judge in the trial. She indicated that she was prepared to be examined on the allegation contained in the affidavit and give sworn testimony to the statements contained therein.
For whatever reason, Officer Roberts’ attorney decided not to forward the document to the court. As a result, Officer Roberts entered a plea bargain and spent time in the penitentiary. In the meantime, Glenda Telford had no idea that she too had been targeted along with her children, that there would be no justice, no investigation, no findings in her request for justice and civil rights to provide redress in her case.
My investigation led me to believe and understand that it is a common practice to engage in massive purging of cases within the Civil Rights Department and in the Civilian Review Authority, that shredding of evidence became the order of the day. See a partial list of cases shredded in my previous column (March 23 2011).
Sheila Haynes, as reported in my May 6, 2009 column, was an assassination attempt target. Only by the Hand of God did she survive being killed in Mississippi.
We know what happens to Black police in this city: They become invisible. We know what happened to Mike Roberts. We know that the book on corruption was closed by a $3 million settlement ordered by the federal court in late 2010. But there was no settlement, no justice, for Glenda Telford or for her sister, Sheila Haynes, nor for hundreds of other people of color who had been told that their cases had been investigated, all receiving the same conclusion: No probable cause could be found.
Clearly, what could not be found was/is justice. When you can shred cases and ignore the statutes of law, you are doing pretty good in embracing the doctrine of former Supreme Court Justice Taney, who said there are no rights, no obligations, and no expectations that the Negro should have in the quest for justice. True that in Minneapolis, where corruption trumps justice.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 5 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at http://www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, his solution papers and his “Tracking the Gaps” web log. Formerly head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis, and his work to contribute to the planning to help mold a consensus for the future of Black and White Americans together of Minneapolis.