Another Day in North Minneapolis

Police incident lands an 18-year-old North Sider in the hospital for three days

Jeffrey Binfet has been an MPD officer since 1992, spending most of that time patrolling the Fourth Precinct, which encompasses all of north Minneapolis. According to personnel records, Binfet has never been suspended or disciplined for his conduct on the job. In August 1999 he was named the Fourth Precinct's "officer of the month." (Binfet did not respond to a message left at the precinct seeking comment. MPD spokesman Ron Reier says officers are forbidden from commenting while an internal investigation is open.)

Binfet has been a defendant in at least one federal lawsuit. In 1997, he and fellow officer Brian Miller were sued in U.S. District Court by Aasim Shabazz for alleged civil rights violations. That case was settled out of court, with the city agreeing to pay the plaintiff $25,000, along with $27,500 in attorneys fees.

Parker is no stranger to the MPD. According to police spokesman Reier, the 18-year-old has been arrested five times since becoming an adult last August. Records maintained by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, however, show no adult convictions. And according to the Hennepin County attorney's office, he has no cases pending against him.

Adil Abosaad, the owner of E&L Market on the northeast corner of Lowry and Emerson, talks of recurring troubles with clusters of young men on the sidewalks near his store, where they "sell weed and crack," he says.

"Those guys disappear in the morning, but they know what time the police officers finish their shifts," says Abosaad, who has been in business for 12 years. "After 3:00 o'clock, they show up because they know those officers are not around. Me and other businesses next door, we call and call and nobody responds."

On April 18, though, Abosaad says he heard that someone called 911, and the police came. He claims that there was a long chase that had Parker running to a parking lot across the street, and returning, eventually making it just two doors east of his business. Abosaad insists he did not see anything beyond that, and claims the cops told him the suspect had a gun. "If you have nothing to hide," Abosaad asks, "why are you running?"

Not everyone is as nonchalant about the incident, however. "Everybody saw it," Denise Parker notes. "I was just in the nail shop getting my nails done, and everybody stopped and ran to the window. There were crowds forming out on the sidewalk. Everybody saw what was going on. It was very bad. I've seen stuff like this before, but this was very bad, very unnecessary."

Jones, the T-shirt shop owner, acknowledges that drug dealing is a problem in the area. "They do got a problem with those guys hanging out there, but that's not a way to solve it," he says. "Why would I call [the police] to see that again?"

Jones intends to make T-shirts emblazoned with an image of Parker's injuries. The caption? "Compliments of the MPD."

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