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Memo: Minneapolis police pulled gun on teens who ran a stop sign

The driver says police didn't ask for his license before detaining him at gunpoint.

The driver says police didn't ask for his license before detaining him at gunpoint. Tony Webster

On October 13, 2019, Minneapolis Police Department officers Ty Jindra and Daniel Payne stopped a car full of teenagers in front of a house on the 5100 block of Aldrich Avenue in north Minneapolis.

The car had run a stop sign. Its teen driver, A.C., told City Pages he tried to pull over and park, but because there were no open spots, he had to keep moving.

“As soon as I did that, that’s when they must have come with their guns and threw me out the car,” he said. “One officer grabbed me, almost choked me out, like choked me, threw me on the roof, and put me on the ground.”

A.C. said police didn’t ask for his license or insurance before detaining him at gunpoint. He said they also searched the car, but didn’t find anything.

His mother, Felicia Davis, ran up on the scene and began to argue with the police officers. At one point, Jindra pointed his taser at her.

Sgt. Nick Englund arrived soon afterward and defused the situation. Later, he approved the incident report, which made no reference to excessive force.

A.C. was cited for driving without a license. He failed to pay his ticket, and failed to show up to court. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

According to a city of Minneapolis employee who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, police assumed A.C. lived in a nearby house that was thought to be a gang hangout. In reality, he lived several blocks away. Davis says she never received a court summons for her son in the mail, and had no idea there was a warrant out – meaning he would have been arrested if he had another encounter with law enforcement.

Nefertiti Bryant, who lived in the alleged gang house on Aldrich Avenue, said a lot of neighborhood teenagers were always coming and going from her house. Some got into trouble and others didn’t. She said that made her house a target for police, who would frequently drive by and yell things at them.

“It was the summertime, a lot of kids were coming around. They all know each other from when they were in kindergarten, second grade. [Police] saw them as a gang, but they weren’t,” she says. “[Police] did that a lot last summer, stopping them for no reason, taking their phones. They came and raided my house twice because of some other kids that didn’t even live there.”

Soon after the incident in which Officers Jindra and Payne detained A.C. outside Bryant’s house, the landlord evicted her and her children. A new family has been living there since November 2019.

Internally, at least one person with MPD took issue with A.C.’s detainment. A memo by Lt. Richard Jackson and addressed to Sgt. Eric Hagel and Lt. Todd Sauvageau described excessive force and lack of probable cause in the arrest. According to the memo, Sgt. Englund had told Jackson that when he arrived at the 5100 block of Aldrich Avenue, he found Jindra "screaming and using language that was inappropriate for the situation."

According to the memo, Englund reviewed the incident and observed:

  • "the vehicle was not confirmed stolen prior to the stop"
  • "the driver was not asked any investigative questions prior to being removed from the vehicle"
  • "Officer Jindra had his gun out prior to reaching the vehicle, removed the driver from the vehicle, and with his gun hand, provided a headlock around the drivers head with his gun hand and taking the driver to the ground"
  • "the driver was not resisting arrest"
  • "Officer Jindra performed a search of the vehicle with no probable cause to do so" 

A.C.’s mother Davis said she called MPD to make an excessive force complaint, but no one ever followed up with her. She said the internal memo – which would have helped her son’s case – was never disclosed to her. Davis retained the Legal Rights Center, which represents juvenile defendants in Hennepin County pro bono.

A hearing was scheduled for September 1 in A.C.’s case, but then charges were suddenly dropped, and the family did not have to report for court.

The Minneapolis Police Department did not answer questions from City Pages for this story.

Jindra has been the subject of a number of complaints, including one incident in April 2019 when he pulled his gun on people in handcuffs and asked if they "wanna get shot." He is reportedly under federal investigation for excessive force, but is still employed by MPD.

Officer Payne has no sustained complaints. 

In 2016, prior to his promotion to sergeant, Englund was suspended for a week without pay for violating MPD's truthfulness policy. (Englund had lied about having returned a department bike when, in fact, it was still in his garage.)

Englund appears to go by the alias "Rick Engrum" on Facebook, where he posted this joke about Botham Jean, a 26-year-old accountant who was shot and killed in 2018 by Dallas police officer Amber Guyger when she entered his apartment -- allegedly mistaking it for her own -- and found him eating ice cream.