There's No Place Like Prison

Phillips families were already worried about the parolees next door. Then the headless corpse turned up.

Lt. Mike Sauro, supervisor of the Minneapolis Police Department's sex-crimes division, attempts to placate the crowd. "I sense some anger," he says. "Remember one thing: We are your allies. I probably despise these people even more than you do." Soon after, people file out of the school, shaking their heads in disbelieving disgust.

Away from the heat of the meeting, Sauro says that he understands the neighbors' anger, but he doesn't believe there is anything else that can be done. "Once they're released, this is a free country," Sauro says flatly. "That's the price you pay to live in a democracy."

Northeast Minneapolis is new to the sex-offender-notification game. Stevenson will become the only level-three offender to reside in the area. In Phillips, similar notification meetings are met with apathy and resignation--maybe 15 or 20 people will show up. "I stopped going to the meetings because it didn't matter if we wanted them there or not," admits Claudia Slovacek, who lives on the 2600 block of 12th Avenue South.

Since the arrests of Darnell Smith and Andre Parker, the residence on 13th Avenue South has become home for four new ex-convicts. Two of the new tenants are sex offenders; one has been classified level three. For the most part, Davis says, the property has been quiet. The tenants pay their rent and go about their lives--just like they're supposed to.

A disturbingly familiar pattern recently began to emerge, however, with one of the new residents. Davis says that he received two complaints from other tenants about a high volume of visitors--particularly women--coming and going at the house. He's also heard rumors of drug use. Davis didn't hesitate. Last week the problematic tenant was given an eviction notice. "We responded quickly before, but now it's immediately," Davis says.

Still, Davis has no intention of changing the overall approach at 9 to 5 Beats Ten to Life: Everyone deserves a second chance. "Some people aren't going to like this comment, but I'm gonna keep on doing it. I don't apologize for what I do."

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