#Pointergate Pieces: Hodges merged out politically powerful police pensions; KSTP Quadruples Down; Minneapolis gang intel plugs away

On Nov. 13th another KSTP reporter tried to extend the segment which grabbed national attention by blithely erasing a young Northside guy's life context, framing him as so many before, simply "felon". KSTP turns its attention to his Instagram, and no snarky quips from Minneapolis Police Federation's Delmonico this time. They're turning away from Hodges and only cited a few bullet points from her most recent #Pointergate statement, a nicely hard hitting item when most politicians would stay boring.

TL;DR? Have some material here w links to show depth Hodges-vs-MPD pension fund tussle, gang investigator angle, lastly some info to earlier gang database public process info, 2010 BCA video. Previously on Hongpong.com: Jan 2013: MPD Tracking OccupyMN Facebook BBQs: Minneapolis "secret" Strategic Information Center / Emergency Operations and Training Facility 25 37th Ave NE in Fridley. Data releases indicate gang members & activists are tracked here on social media routinely. [Also site for Obama photo-op against gun violence]

The Thurs KSTP clip is mirrored here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI5lvu08XFw

Bruce Ferrell, president of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association talks at length about how scary finger pointing is. They never come up with any evidence associating the young man w any specific gangs. Nor did he ever deny having trouble staying on the right side of the law in his life, but KSTP triples down on it anyway.

Anyway a couple angles were flagged to me by a hawkeyed friend. Ferrell's organization has a familiar figure as it's Minnesota lead member, Mike Martin. Inquiring souls might want to ask Martin where he fits in this scheme.

The other angle here is the "political economy" depth of the grudge match between Mayor Hodges and MPD elites because Hodges spearheaded a successful effort to take away perhaps the greatest police goodie jar of all, the Minneapolis police pension fund. She was chair of the City Council’s Ways and Means/Budget Committee the four years prior to becoming mayor.

In my days poking through campaign finance records at Politics in Minnesota I was always a little surprised by the generously minded pension funds, pouring money into local and legislative races. These taxpayer-supported funds also let managers walk out with fat percentages. Hodges led the effort to roll these into the more efficient state fund, which neatly took away a huge political carrot, the Minneapolis Police Relief Association, for the Delmonico ... gang. I mean affinity group like a local brass SuperPAC.

The police fund had been closed to new officers for 30 years but still gave profusely to politicians. How dare she take the cookie jar!

MPR candidate bio:

In 2010, she helped cut Rybak’s proposed budget by $6 million. She also spent several years working on pension reform, and she helped engineer a plan to merge the city’s pension system for retired police officers with a state fund.

“It is not sexy to talk about fighting for six years for pension reform. It is not sexy, until I tell you that in 2012, fighting hard for pension reform saved you a $20 million tax levy bill,” she told supporters when she launched her campaign in April.

Minnpost QA:

On the other hand, you need to know how to take on a tough fight and win. I’ve done that, too.
I worked on pensions for six years. [The merger of the Minneapolis Employee Retirement Fund with the state Public Employee Retirement Association]. I was told it would never happen. I was told I was ruining my career, but I knew it was the right thing to do and I kept fighting and I won.
We saved the taxpayers of Minneapolis a $20 million bill in 2012. It was a fight worth taking on, and it was a fight I’m glad we won.

Star Tribune: Minneapolis' pension tension May 2011:

Rybak said his fight isn't with pensioners but with fund leaders, "the middlemen who have wrongly taken money from taxpayers." Relations soured so far that the funds used member political dues to disparage Rybak's role in the lawsuit in a mailing to DFL delegates last year when he sought party endorsement for governor. The police fund also asked the Democratic National Committee to not choose Minneapolis for its 2012 convention, citing the pension cuts....

Merger prospects in the past were blocked by the clout of the police and fire funds at the Capitol. Their political arms donate liberally, and fund leaders assiduously attend political fundraisers.

Schirmer has breakfasted with governors Mark Dayton and Tim Pawlenty. Minneapolis police and fire retirees reported contributing at least $180,000 in state political races last year. Most legislative pension commission members got the $500 maximum. The political arm of retired firefighters gave $44,500 to the House DFL caucus but also $11,500 to the new Republican House majority.

That's one reason leadership of both parties pays heed to the pension funds and that the city had trouble finding bill sponsors from among Republicans this year.

"They have some power there," Rybak conceded. "But the growing understanding that people have has made it easier to take some of the positions I have that are tough politics but are right."

[See also Police Officers Federation fund 300085 - a different one.]

In the last election Hodges' lead opponent, Mark Andrew, represented the police-aligned side of the city's political economy and Brian Rice, longtime attorney for fire and police, was a close ally. An embarrassing story, Sept 2013 in SW Journal: "Brian Rice: Mark Andrew has said ‘no’ to me many times". LOL, just imagine how much leverage Rice lost when the police pension fund was taken outta the game. It's ok, this year he got AFSCME Council 5.

More w Brian Rice Schemes: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/212857381.html
His lobbyist registrations: http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/lbdetail/lb6485.html
"widespread influence": http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/225742511.html
"Rasputin of Parks And Rec" ranked by CityPages, the lobbyist of the pension funds : http://www.citypages.com/2010-01-20/news/the-10-most-influential-lobbyis...
2008 Pension Scheme stuff: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/01/just-movies-minneapolis-...
2013 Web of Alliances - the Old Guard in Mpls: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/212857381.html

The Star Tribune Editorial Board has also raised this issue more recently again:

Hodges won the Editorial Board’s endorsement for mayor in October 2013, in part because of her work reining in fiscally irresponsible city pension funds while serving on the City Council. Those efforts no doubt labeled Hodges as an enemy at police union headquarters, and she failed to win the union’s backing for mayor. Delmonico’s comments on Pointergate confirm why that’s a badge of honor.

And a mention mapped out this connection earlier in Strib: Tensions between police union and Mayor Hodges may trace back to her council actions.

[Former MPD chief] Dolan said that some of the rift may be traced to Hodges’ time on the council, when she clashed with union leaders during contentious pension negotiations.

Lt. Mike Sauro, a 40-year veteran of the department who was at the negotiations, said the process did not endear cops to Hodges.

“Promises that were made, she said those were made by past administrations, those don’t apply now,” Sauro said Monday. “I don’t think she likes cops, regardless of what her actions suggest.”

In Feb 2011 Hodges a public face on pension:

Council Member Betsy Hodges, who has championed pension reform at City Hall, explained that the conditions of the pension were written into state statute, and therefore needed to be adjusted by the legislature. The city is also embroiled in a court battle with the pension fund.

2010 FOX9 March 2010:

Councilwoman Betsy Hodges says the old police and fire pensions are unique. Not only do pensioners control the board, but benefits are determined not by what the retiree made while working, but what the oldest and highest paid still on the force are making.

In 2011 she posted on Facebook:

Sep 14, 2011. Yesterday was a good day for Minneapolis property tax payers: the police pension fund voted to merge with the state fund, the biggest ramining step to finalizing the deal that will end one of the biggest and unfair drivers of Minneapolis property tax increases, and I voted on the Board of Estimate and Taxation for a 0% maximum property tax levy increase. It passed 5-0, with Carol Becker abstaining.

Star Tribune endorsed on basis of fighting w police over pension money:

Hodges won her first four-year term on the Minneapolis City Council in 2005, and not long after started work on what would become her most notable accomplishment: reform of fiscally irresponsible pension funds in the face of a fierce counterattack by the powerful police and firefighter unions. The reforms saved city taxpayers from $20 million in potential property tax increases in 2012 but were politically costly for Hodges when mayoral endorsements were handed out. Taking on special interest groups has never bothered Hodges — an attribute that helps her stand out in the field of top mayoral contenders.

SW Journal article reposted on campaign site says similar: http://www.betsyhodges.org/blog/2013/betsy-hodges-proud-of-her-record-at...

Anyway turning from Hodges & the pension issue to this new MGIA: Midwest Gang Investigators Association http://www.mgia.org/ who are speaking up for the cops on #Pointergate.
Minnesota Chapter Board - http://www.mgia.org/board.asp
Position 	Name 	Email
President 	Michael Martin 	Email memartin@umn.edu
Vice President 	Tony Spencer 	Email Tony.Spencer@ci.stpaul.mn.us
Secretary 	Susan Schema 	Email Sue.Schema.state.mn.us [sic, probably @state.mn.us]
Treasurer 	Kris Lundquist 	Email kristina1lundquist@msn.com

MIKE MARTIN: NEXUS MPD / MIDWEST POLICE GANG INTEL ORG: Mike Martin from MGIA is available as an expert witness these days and his organization jumped into the #pointergate fray with KSTP. Check out this page:: http://www.minnesotagangs.com/training.html

My favorite item here. Even the URLs: http://www.minnesotagangs.com/contact-us.html

Fourth Precinct at forefront of MPD terrorism - MN Spokesman Recorder March 2010:

we ask how Mike Martin continues as the inspector in charge of the precinct compared to why Black inspectors Dan Battum and Lee Edwards were dismissed.... I say "rogue," for how else are we to explain that over half of the lawsuits and millions of dollars paid out these past 14 months came out of the Fourth Precinct? http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2010/03/13/opinion-fourth-precinct-for...

MN Daily: http://www.mndaily.com/2010/03/21/mpls-police-team-fills-gap-left-metro-...

This is not Rugel’s first endeavor into gang territory. He was a member of both the Minnesota Gang Strike Force in the late 1990s and the original Minneapolis Police Gang Unit in the mid 1990s.
Minneapolis police Inspector Mike Martin worked closely with Rugel in the Minneapolis Police Gang Unit. Martin said he and Rugel were sergeants at the time; Martin supervised patrols, Rugel intelligence and both handled investigations.

LinkedIn profile. Note Mike Martin affiliates with Police Executive Research Forum which was directly responsible for coordinating the crushing of the Occupy movement via police chief conference calls. Perhaps the worst gang networking event of all time were those police chief phone calls that organized the Big Banhammer.

Mike Martin
Assistant Director, Department of Emergency Management at University of Minnesota
    Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
    Law Enforcement
    University of Minnesota,
    National Gang Center,
    Minneapolis Police Department
    Senior Management Institute for Police - Police Executive Research Forum

I joined the Department of Emergency Management after serving as a licensed police officer for 23 years. During this time I rose in rank from being a Police Officer to being a Civil Service Captain. I also worked for five years as the appointed Inspector, Commander, of the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct.
During my career I had the opportunity to be awarded and recognized for my work as the Investigative Commander and Acting Incident Commander for the 35W Bridge Collapse, for leading the MPD as the Incident Commander for the Northside Tornado response, and for coordinating the response and recovery efforts of the MPD as the Incident Commander during the active workplace shooter incident at Accent Signage Systems. I have completed FEMA and DHS certifications for NIMS and ICS.
In my current position I work to protect the students, faculty, staff, and visitors on all of the University of Minnesota campuses and properties.

MPR 2012 story on gang violence spike: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/04/12/gangs-driving-crime

2004: http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/03/19_williamsb_cops...

Police Chief William McManus suspended Lt. Mike Carlson, Capt. Mike Martin and Deputy Chief Lucy Gerold, and asked for a BCA investigation into allegations that the officers ordered the destruction of an internal memo.

The memo was critical of the department's handling of the shooting of officer Duy Ngo by another officer. Ngo was shot last Feburary while Ngo was working undercover. The memo details mistakes by officers investigating the shooting.

CityPages: May 2010 http://www.citypages.com/2010-05-12/news/alisha-neeley-s-death-leads-to-...

Fourth Precinct Inspector Mike Martin says girls in the past were more likely to be auxiliary members of gangs through their boyfriends or brothers. Now they are increasingly independent, and their violence is escalating as they fight other girls with mace, padlocks, and knives.

"We've been fortunate that not a lot of serious violence has been associated with girls in gangs or cliques, but that's a natural evolution we might be seeing in the future," Martin says.

Lake Calhoun shooting 2010: http://www.streetgangs.com/billboard/viewtopic.php?f=174&t=48933

Inspector Mike Martin, commander of the 4th Precinct in north Minneapolis, says the increase in gang activity is due in part to a volatile mix of gang members on the streets.

"Some career offenders, even young people who've been in prison or juvenile detention facilities, are getting back out and who are acting on revenge and retaliation for incidents that have occurred in the past," said Martin.

TheGrio.com on Native gangs: http://thegrio.com/2012/11/23/street-gangs-gain-foothold-on-native-ameri...

“One of the problems traditionally has been these individuals feel they can commit crimes in the city or on one reservation and then go hide in another reservation or another state,” said Minneapolis Police Inspector Mike Martin, a department gang expert. “I think the federal authorities and state authorities here have sent a message to them that you can run but you can’t hide and we will bring them to justice.”

Hybrid Gangs - Nov 2007 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_7361324 Nov 2007:

Hybrid gangs harder for police to track: " Capt. Mike Martin of the Minnesota Gang Strike Force said hybrid gangs are a major cause of that state's increase in violence. Nearly half of their gangs are now hybrid, he said. "

MNForum booster post. The idea of pushing drugs into polygons is pretty quaint: https://www.mail-archive.com/mpls@mnforum.org/msg36017.html

Then "Lieutenant" Mike Martin once stood in front of our community meeting and told a hundred people that he had once been charged with moving the drug dealers out of Whittier and across the bridges over I-35, and now he was promising to move the drug dealers out of the Third Precinct. That he "did not care what bridge they went across, but they were going to be moved some where out of "His " community, or they were going to be going to jail". If Minneapolis wants to clean up the Northside and keep the Drug-Gangs from coming back to the Central or Phillips Neighborhoods then allow Capt. Mike Martin to have the man-power, and just as important, the "Command" he needs. Then the bridge Mike will move the drug dealers across will be the I-94 St Croix bridge, or the I-35 bridge over the Minnesota.

Native Mob sweep 2012:

Authorities are still investigating at least 10 unsolved homicides in Minnesota that may be linked to the Native Mob, said Mike Martin, a gang expert with the Minneapolis Police Department.
He said gang members in custody are under pressure to talk. Most of the defendants are in their 20s. If convicted in federal court, they face sentences between 20 years to life in prison, with no chance of parole.
"In a case like this, it's not unusual for some of the defendants to cooperate and provide information that would lead to other arrests or indictments in the case," Martin said. "The ones who are still out and about are going to be worried that they're going to be next. ... They should be worried."

He ran this listed gang training in Bemidji:

Minnesota Gang Awareness & Identification - Bemidji
Monday, May 13 2013 8:00am - 12:00pm Presented by:

Mike Martin - Minnesotagangs.com

This training session promises to be the most comprehensive overview of gangs you can attend. Designed for teachers, police officers, corrections, probation, social workers, and others who work with kids, the curriculum will cover gang definitions and statutes in Minnesota, why kids join gangs, factors that predispose kids to be involved in gangs, and varying levels of gang involvement. The instructor will then conduct a thorough overview of gangs operating in Minnesota, from the larger Chicago and L.A.-based gangs, to homegrown gangs, and modern hybrid gangs. In addition, participants will receive an overview of Latino gangs, White Supremacist gangs, and Minnesota’s unique brand of Native Gangs. Questions will be encouraged and participants will be exposed to additional sources of information available to them.

Event entered on: April 11, 2013
Event entered by: Basecamp Business via Eventbrite

He wrote MPD report about gang feud w "Skitz Squad and Y.N.T." Strib said in 2012: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/161686565.html

"They consider it to be kind of a fact of life that people get killed, that houses get shot up, that adults go to prison, and therefore those things are not a deterrent," said Inspector Mike Martin, who wrote the department's internal report. Though he agreed to discuss the report, Martin was not the newspaper's source in obtaining it.

Anyway if Martin's obscure regional police organization is jumping in with KSTP then that strongly suggests he's involved in the story's momentum somehow.

MORE INFO: A lot of good discussion has gone around #pointergate. I recommend my ol colleague Brian Lambert for the media angle: http://www.wrywingpolitics.com/kstp-tv-and-pointergate-post-mortem-of-a-...

Javier Morillo also has several posts and has quit appearing on KSTP: http://thuginpastels.com/ - Twitter: https://twitter.com/javimorillo

Nekima Levy-Pounds particularly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nvlevy . Here is some info she posted on FB. Emphasis added:

Maybe it's just me, but I am still reeling from that ‪#‎pointergate‬ @KSTP "news" story and feeling a little queasy. It is sickening to see a news station quadruple down on their original story and attempt to undermine our intelligence about the intent and meaning of the original photo and story by working to show Navell in a negative light. They also once again tried to connect him with throwing gang signs, even though the original story said, "There is no evidence that Navell is in a gang." As someone who grew up in a neighborhood with gangs in Los Angeles and who currently works with young men who have been involved in gangs and the criminal justice system, I am appalled and deeply disgusted by KSTP once again and their demonization of young black men; as well as their attempts to have us believe their word and law enforcement's word over what our own eyes and common sense tells us. They just don't get it. We do not see Navell Gordon as evil. He is a young man working hard to turn his life around.

The other aspect that is troubling about this story is the fact that in Minnesota, there have been major concerns about the conduct of certain law enforcement officers in racially profiling and abusing people of color, and mischaracterizing them as gang members. Anyone remember the Metro Gang Strike Force and the ways in which they used fear tactics to gain a license to engage in lawless behavior and assaults of people of color as well as theft of their belongings? I was part of a group that challenged their conduct between 2009-2010, which ultimately resulted in the state's largest gang database being shut down because of racial profiling, a failure to follow the law, and abusive practices. The first link below is an article about their conduct. The second link is the legislative auditor's report. The third link is an evaluation that one of my colleagues, law students, and I conducted in collaboration with the St. Paul NAACP about the use of gang databases in Minnesota.

We have to take a stand and hold the police accountable for abusive practices and demand transparency and accountability. The bad apples make the entire force look bad, and this has to stop. We also must continue to hold KSTP responsible for their racist reporting and irresponsible journalism. They also personally owe Navell Gordon an apology for running a smear campaign against him.......It's time for change.

"Victims of Metro Gang Strike Force Awarded 840,000": http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/163478566.html

Legislative Auditor Report on Metro Gang Strike Force: http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/fad/2009/fad09-18.htm

Evaluation of Gang Databases in Minnesota & Recommendations for Change: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/bca/Documents/Evaluation%20of%20Gang%20Data...

Reminds me way back in 2010 I went to the SF 2527 Workgroup meeting involving this whole gang database issue:


Original 2010 story covers the MN gang intel process: http://www.hongpong.com/archives/2010/10/04/avalanche-fed-local-police-s...

Anyway hopefully this informs the larger problems, some info about intermediate power players and of course the policy process of WTF counts as a "gang" under this system called the "state".

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Tags for #Pointergate Pieces: Hodges merged out politically powerful police pensions; KSTP Quadruples Down; Minneapolis gang intel plugs away