Andrew Williams, 42, devotes much of his free time to running the Minneapolis Scanner Facebook page. To its more than 14,000 members, he's a constant source of apolitical alerts on police activity and shots fired across the city.
But on September 17, Williams became a victim of a violent assault himself just outside his home in Loring Park.
That Sunday afternoon, he went to grab lunch and watch the first half of the Vikings-Steelers game at Market BBQ. He ordered a drink, stepped outside to have a piece of chewing tobacco, and made eye contact with a man at the bus stop across the street.
The other man walked over. He was African American, thin, in his late teens or early 20s, wearing a red and white jacket. He got up close and accused Williams of watching him. Williams says he apologized and denied staring on purpose.
"I had the sense he was either going to do something or just start yelling, so I turn to go back into the restaurant, and the next thing I know I'm getting punched on my left side, blindsided," Williams says. "And all I really remember after that, after second or third punch, the top half of the back of my head hit the restaurant wall and I went down."
The next thing he knew, the Market BBQ bartender had discovered him lying bloodied on the ground. As he drifted in and out of consciousness, he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center.
Williams was hospitalized for three days. His jaw had to be surgically wired shut after it was busted in two places. Permanent nerve damage prevents him from eating solid foods and even drinking liquids without spilling. His left eye socket was fractured.
He'll never return to the hands-on security job he's held since 1999, Williams says, because any altercation has the potential to rebreak and collapse his jaw.
Over the past week, Williams says he's just begun to regain a semblance of his normal life, starting with walking his dog around the neighborhood.
"I've been a little bit on edge ... I'm paying more attention to people approaching, what their body language is saying. I don't really fear going out because, I mean even after something like this happens, if you fear the neighborhood that you live in, then the criminals have pretty much won," he says.
In spite of spotting his attacker on the same block just one week ago outside Asian Taste (whose license was renewed this summer with the express condition that managers consistently monitor the sidewalk to prevent loitering), by the time police arrived, he was gone, Williams says. The case is still open.
Williams has a GoFundMe for medical bills.