Monday, April 02, 2007

True Story

If I recall it correctly, Franz Fannon said something to the effects that police were armed guards of the bourgeois. I know of several stories dealing with police and their treatment of native people. In Minneapolis, the MPD is notorious for their rides down to the river. Some time ago police were caught with two native men in the trunk of their squad car. When my uncle got picked up and sent downtown, he would pretend to pass out on the way to booking because the police liked to take jabs at him in the elevator.

I personally have not dealt with the MPD a lot. When I was a teenager, an officer told me that I was a piece of shit and that's all I would ever be. Yet, the story that I think about more often occurred years later, when, I was at a house party on Franklin Avenue behind the Indian Center. A bunch of skins were playing cards and listening to music in a fenced-in back yard. There were no disturbances, no fights. I would describe it as a small gathering of a family with a few friends.

As the night went on, people were having a good time. I was near a card game, though I don't think I was playing. Some people at the party started a small commotion, which I thought was going to be a fight. A few women came running out of the the house coughing and gaging. I wasn't sure what to think, or I wasn't thinking anything. I just remember a burning sensation come over my eyes and throat. I couldn't breathe without hacking violently, and people around me were doing the same. My cousin grabbed me from behind and tried to use my shirt to wipe out his eyes.

As party goers walked toward the front of the house to get away, blurry light flashed in front of me. It was the MPD laughing at the scene they created by tossing cans of mace into the yard and house. One of my other cousins, who I met up with in front of the house was sneezing and shooting snot out of his nose. A cop said to him, "What's the matter? You got a cold?" He chuckled and walked away.

The owner of the house came out screaming and yelling at the cops, letting them know that a pregnant woman was living in the home. All the cops went back to their squads and took off. No arrests. No citations. Some of the cops hid their badges so people couldn't get the number.

Was it an act of racism? I want to say that one of the cops was asian. Or was it an act of socialism taking place in a primarily indian neighborhood, with plenty of poor people? I'm not sure what it was, but I do know that it's not an isolated incident.