Along with brutal winters and having the largest population of Somalians in the U.S., my hometown of Minneapolis is well-known as a haven for cyclists. We’re proud of our consistent ranking at the top of “most bike-friendly city” lists across a myriad of sources. If you’ve ever visited in the summer, no doubt you’ve seen the amazing trails around our many lakes, creeks and rivers. We even have a bike-sharing system (oh yeah, we’re also know for being one of the most liberal locales in the nation), that allows Minneapolitans to simply take a bike when they need one, and return it to any station in the system at their destination.
Yes, we have brutal winters, but we sure know how to make the most of our summers while they last!
So what’s just happened to a couple of bikers is especially troubling.
As the StarTribune reports:
Minneapolis police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a motorist who threw chunks of concrete or bricks at bicyclists in at least two neighborhoods on Friday, leaving one man with serious injuries.
The attacks appeared to be random, police spokesman John Elder said Sunday night.
About 5:30 p.m. Friday, he said, two people were struck with cement-type material “within seconds of each other” near W. 41st Street and Bryant Avenue S. One person had minor injuries, but the second, identified on a GoFundMe page as Mackenzie Jensen, was struck in the face and suffered multiple facial fractures that will require two surgeries.
His jaw has been wired shut and he is expected to lose multiple weeks of work, the web page states.
A short time before that incident, the same motorist is believed to have thrown cement material at someone else in the city’s Third Precinct, which Elder described as being east of Interstate 35 and south of Interstate 94. No one was hurt.
Elder said that the suspect was driving an older white Ford vehicle, possibly a Bronco, and he was wearing a glove. It is believed he threw the material with his left hand. The vehicle was missing a window, which was covered with a wood-like product, Elder said.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send an anonymous tip to CRIMES (274637) and begin the message with: TIP674. The Minneapolis police tip line is at 612-692-TIPS (8477).
So the perpetrator is still on the loose, which is certainly cause for alarm for the city’s cyclists, many of whom even cycle as a means of getting to work. It’s great that the police are getting the word out to ask for help from the public. We have details on the vehicle the perpetrator was driving — even that it was missing a window that was covered with a “wood-like product.” We know the suspect was wearing a glove and that he threw the concrete with his left hand. OK, we know he is a “he.”
But does anyone else notice a key descriptive detail that’s missing from the description? How about skin or even hair color? Do you think THAT might be useful in trying to track this guy down??? The “older white Ford vehicle” did not commit the crime; the man driving it did.
A similar thing happened with the Minneapolis Police less than a year ago when a woman was brutally raped, in daylight, near my office. The suspect was on the loose for days, which, as you can imagine, made those of us women who had to go to work in that area feel pretty darn safe. It might have been nice to have ANY idea of what the suspect looked like, and yet none was forthcoming from the police until AFTER they caught the guy below.
Now, I am NOT suggesting we can assume anything about the race of this cyclist assaulter. My point is exactly that; we don’t know and are not being told — and therefore don’t know what to look for. We aren’t being given a critical descriptive piece of information, when it could be very valuable in leading to the capture of this dangerous man.
Why not? At first blush at least, it seems authorities are following the politically correct routine of releasing race as a description only when it’s a white “perpetrator” against a person of color.
This PC-ness continues to put lives in danger — as it did last fall when a violent rapist was on the loose and again now when a violent attacker is on the loose.