Saturday, January 22, 2011

Man hospitalized after Minneapolis police raid


Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

O’Shea Page, 20, says police beat him during a raid Tuesday night in the 3200 block of Fremont Ave. N. The search is under internal police review.


Police searched an apartment but haven't charged the occupants with serious crimes.

By MATT McKINNEY, Star Tribune

Last update: January 20, 2011 - 9:18 PM

A police raid on a north Minneapolis apartment on Tuesday that left a man in the hospital and the apartment in shambles -- but led to no serious criminal charges -- has fallen under internal police review.

Citing the investigation, a police department spokesman said there would be no immediate comment, but people who were at the house said one man was kicked in the face and another was beaten unconscious as police searched for drugs and weapons.

Six people were cited for misdemeanors, according to the police report, and one man was arrested on suspicion of felony narcotics possession. He was released from jail Thursday afternoon with no charges filed.

A search warrant authorizing the raid said the residence on the 3200 block of Fremont Avenue N. housed a suspected drug-dealing operation where police expected to find receipts, drugs, weapons and a man named "J Roc."

The police report says O'Shea Page, 20, is that man. Page says that's not his nickname, but his landlord said that he knows Page as "Rock."

Page was knocked unconscious during the raid and then hospitalized for several hours with disfiguring bruises to his face.

"They're trying to cover something up," Page's uncle, Eric Page, said of the police. "The fact they're trying to cover up is that they whipped him almost to his death."

Public records show that none of the seven people mentioned in the police report has a narcotics violation, and most have no criminal records. O'Shea Page has a single crime on his record -- a two-year-old domestic assault conviction -- and one of the other seven was convicted in 2007 of first-degree aggravated robbery, for which he served time and was released.

Witnesses said the raid began at 6:15 p.m., as several young men stood outside the house while waiting for others to join them for a short walk to a neighbor's house for a birthday party. As they waited, they noticed police cruisers approaching with lights off.

Freddie Jackson, 18, said he saw perhaps 20 cruisers in all; he and most of the other men complied as police approached with guns drawn, ordering them to the ground.

O'Shea Page said he panicked and ran, thinking police were there to arrest him for missing a probation meeting in connection with his domestic assault conviction. He said he tripped and fell on the sidewalk a short distance away.

"I had my hands behind my back; I was laying down," Page said. An officer put a knee into Page's back and during the scuffle forced Page's head into a snowbank, Page said. He said he couldn't breathe and fought to turn his face as police yelled "stop resisting."

"They got to beating me on the head and all that," he said.

Page said he blacked out but remembers waking up at the jail and hearing jailers telling the arresting officers that the jail couldn't take Page because he needed medical attention. At Hennepin County Medical Center the officers told a nurse that Page had fallen down and then hit a tree, according to Page.

Officers Brandon Bartholomew and Christopher Tucker cited Page for fleeing police and loitering with intent to solicit for an illegal narcotic sale, according to the report. Their report says O'Shea did not need medical attention.

"Why did three policemen have to bring him in and not the ambulance?" asked Page's sister, Tyree Williams. "He had to have a CAT scan and all kinds of stuff done."

Thursday afternoon, Page and others were still upset about damage done to the apartment during the raid.

Police broke plates in the kitchen while clearing out a cupboard, pushed a television off its stand and tore clothes out of dressers and drawers, according to Tyeishia Jackson, 23, who lives in the apartment with her four children.

"When it was over, we couldn't open the door," said Jackson. Debris was scattered about, and three doors were damaged, including one that was ripped off its hinges. The damage would appear to be a violation of the police department's manual, which says officers must return a searched location to "some semblance of order."

Ross Lumley, Jackson's landlord, said he estimated damage to the unit at $1,200. He said the apartment, while not always tidy, was undamaged before the raid.

Jackson said her rent money, several hundred dollars in cash, was taken during the raid. A copy of the search warrant left at the apartment cited cash from suspected drug deals as an item police intended to seize.

Another man injured during the raid, Elijah Sullivan, 19, was arrested on a felony narcotics violation. He said that he dropped to the ground on police orders but then was kicked three times, at least once in the face. He said a police officer found a small plastic bag that appeared to hold drugs and put it in his hands, telling him they would beat him again if he didn't hold it.

Sullivan maintained Thursday afternoon that the drugs didn't belong to him or anyone else in the house. He was released Thursday with no charges filed.

This version of events was neither confirmed nor denied by police officers, who could not comment due to the internal investigation.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747


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