The Hit Parade Revisited

In an age of shrinking budgets, the city of Minneapolis is spending more money than ever to settle lawsuits against the MPD

In a complaint subsequently filed in U.S. District Court, the plaintiffs claimed the officers proceeded to assault and humiliate the residents while scouring the house for more than three hours. Elizabeth Hill and Wayne Long Crow were sleeping in a single bed on the third floor of the residence when the officers entered. Long Crow had his hands raised in the air when an unnamed officer allegedly struck his head with the butt end of a rifle, opening a bloody gash in his scalp. He was dispatched by the cops to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment.

Sleeping in the other bedroom on the third floor was Lonnie High Rock. He'd been drinking the previous night and did not wake up when the officers entered the residence. According to the complaint, officers began beating him with a baton and a rifle until he awoke and stood up. The unnamed officers then charged at High Rock, knocking him to the ground and handcuffing him.

Danielle Long Crow was taking a shower on the second floor of the residence at the time the warrant was executed. She was eight months pregnant. Several officers stormed the bathroom with a battering ram. The complaint alleges that an unnamed officer proceeded to grab Long Crow by the neck and throw her down on her stomach. Nude and pregnant, she was forced to stay on her stomach for approximately 15 minutes. She too was dispatched to Hennepin County Medical Center to be treated for injuries, including abdominal trauma.

The complaint documents allegations that other people present at the raid were similarly abused and humiliated. Shirley Groskruetz was kicked in the head. Her husband's head was sliced open by broken glass after he was thrown to the floor. Kurt LaPointe was kicked in the ribs.

Despite this rough treatment, attempts to locate drugs in the house were initially fruitless. The complaint goes on to claim that the officers then retired to the kitchen to watch a football game. Around this time, Officer Michael Kaneko arrived at the residence. He directed one of the officers to inspect a toy box in the living room that had previously been searched. Inside the officers allegedly found "Mexican crack cocaine." The complaint claims that this evidence was planted by Kaneko. None of the people present during the search have been prosecuted for possession of drugs discovered during the search.

Kaneko's personnel file reveals no disciplinary history. Some of the other officers involved in the search, however, have occasionally been punished for breaking the rules. Officer Victor Mills was issued a letter of reprimand in March of this year for violating department policies on use of force. In 2000, officer Richard Thomas was suspended for two days for ignoring guidelines regarding impartial policing and computer use. He was also required to attend training seminars on "gender communication" and "respect in the workplace." Sgt. Robert Kroll was demoted for three months in 2003 for "ethical violations." And in 1994 Kroll was initially suspended for five days for excessive use of force, but that decision was later overturned by then-Chief John Laux.

No officers were disciplined for their actions during the raid on the Phillips residence. The city settled the case last year for $60,000.


Kamyar Farahan
Roughly a month after the World Trade Center attacks in September 2001, Kamyar Farahan was pulled over by the police at 5th Street South and Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The officers who made the traffic stop were Robert Mooney and Patrick McCarver.

According to Farahan's version of events, detailed in a complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court in May 2002, the officers proceeded to assault and mace Farahan after he protested what he believed to be an illegal search of his vehicle. During the altercation he suffered a broken nose, a deviated septum, and lost 70 percent of the vision in his right eye. In addition, the officers repeatedly disparaged Farahan, who is Jewish, for what they believed to be his Arab ethnic background. During the arrest one of the officers allegedly announced, "We've got Osama's brother here." The cops also asked Farahan and his passenger, Puya Doustan, if they had any anthrax and stated that it looked like they wore diapers on their heads.

Farahan was arrested and booked into the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center. According to the civil complaint, police officers continued to harass him at the jail. He was allegedly called a "rag head" and a "towel head." At another point, according to Farahan, one of the officers proclaimed that they had prevented a jihad by arresting him.

The officers denied that they engaged in any such ethnic harassment. They further stated that Farahan was only maced after he spit on officer Mooney. Farahan was initially charged with assault, assault in the fifth degree, disorderly conduct, driving without a license, and possession of marijuana. All but the last charge, however, were subsequently dismissed.

Farahan's civil case against the police department was originally slated for trial in March of this year. But two weeks before the scheduled court date, the Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force executed a search warrant on Farahan's apartment in Minnetonka. According to the warrant, police officers believed (based on the testimony of a confidential informant) that Farahan was dealing methamphetamine or crack cocaine.

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