Take a listen. Notice anything interesting? I noticed three points of interest; you may catch more.
The incidentStart here. On the afternoon of June 7, Martin Treptow, his wife, Rebecca, and their two small children were out for a drive in their home town of Coon Rapids, when they had an unpleasant encounter with a young man in his twenties, driving a sporty red car. Some of the details of that encounter are in dispute, but what isn't in dispute is that when the Treptows were stopped at a red light in the right lane at the intersection of 99th Avenue and Foley Boulevard, the young man drove up on their right on the shoulder, and that both men drew their guns; Treptow shot the young man, wounding him lightly. The young man dropped his gun and fell to the ground; his car rolled backward across 99th Avenue until it crashed into the back of a pizza restaurant.
The Treptows immediately called 911; their call, beginning at 2:36 PM, was the first report of the incident; there were several subsequent 911 calls from witnesses, and from the young man who was shot, who identified himself to the authorities as a police officer, something that the Treptows did not know until later.
Transcripts of all of the 911 calls are here. Some of the radio traffic between Anoka County Central Communications and various police cars is here. The Coon Rapids Police computer log entry is here. Note the number of units involved -- that'll be important, later. Also note that, initially, this is a Priority 3 incident -- that may not be as bad as it looks, as Coon Rapids may have a different priority scale than other PDs. (In Minneapolis, priorities run from 3 -- lowest -- to 1 -- highest. There is also, in Minneapolis and elsewhere, the informal "Priority 0," where a police officer or a member of his or her family needs help, and which trumps everything else.)
Mrs. Treptow, during the 911 call: "We've got kids in the car. I got a five month old and a, a six year old."
The Treptows, while on the phone, drove to the Holiday Gas Station at Foley and 101st, where they waited for the police.
The police arrived, and arrested Martin Treptow at gunpoint; Mrs. Treptow was briefly detained, and then released.
Martin Treptow was released the next afternoon, without being charged with anything whatsoever, and without his carry permit having been suspended or revoked. To date, no charges have been filed against anybody, and after a brief Coon Rapids PD press conference when Treptow was released, none of the authorities have made any public statement whatsoever.
The stonewallingAt my request, Andrew Rothman, a local firearms trainer and activist, made several requests under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act of, variously, the Coon Rapids PD, the Anoka County Attorney's Office, Anoka County Central Communications (the 911 folks and police/sheriffs dispatchers), and the Minnesota State Patrol, and was met with a series of dilatory and obstructionist responses... and some cooperation, finally.
Captain Steve Bluml and Detective Dave Westberg of the CRPD refused to release anything, Bluml claiming to be acting under the direction of the Anoka County Attorney; Major Al Smith of the State Patrol initially agreed, and then refused, to release the State Patrol public data, and then went on vacation.
Not one of the above agencies, as required by Section 13.03, Subd. 3 (f), did what that paragraph of of the MGDPA requires:
"...certify in writing that the request has been denied and cite the specific statutory section, temporary classification, or specific provision of federal law upon which the denial was based."Nah. They just said no; they had decided that the public data -- required by law to be released -- was being used in their investigation, they weren't going to give it out, or cite their authority for refusing to. To be fair, none of them actually said, "I am the law . . . "
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Daly of the Minnesota State Patrol has been dithering over releasing the State Patrol transcripts, but in principle has agreed to -- although, perhaps coincidentally, spent all of yesterday afternoon in meetings, delaying the release futher. Possibly, we'll have the State Patrol transcripts later today.
The best of the government functionaries Andrew dealt with has been John Tonding of Anoka County Central Communications. After some initial dithering and subsequent delay, Mr. Tonding released the transcripts, and, finally, the radio traffic, and log entry that you have seen, above. The radio traffic and log entry were received late yesterday -- Thursday, July 5 -- making it unlikely that there could be any public comment about them that would make the papers before the weekend.
By a cosmic coincidence, the traditional time that politicians release bad news in an attempt to get minimal coverage is from late Thursday to late Friday.
RumorsNow, all of the above is fact, labeled as such. This is a rumor, labeled as such -- we clear on that? Good. There's been a lot of talk swirling around the metro-area cop community that Officer Friendly is shortly going to be charged, although nobody is sure what "shortly" means, or precisely with what. Rumors also have it that the Robbinsdale PD has been working hard, behind the scenes, to talk the Anoka authorities out of doing that, and the Coon Rapids PD out of doing a thorough investigation of Officer Friendly's history -- including his aggressive driving history. That said, if he does have such a history, it's out there -- if it's true that, as rumor has it, he was pulled over in Minneapolis for aggressive driving some weeks ago, but tinned his way out of the ticket, there will be logs of the stop.
ETA: somebody has been spreading the rumor that both Treptow and Officer Friendly had gotten out of their cars and squared off -- trying to spin this as sort of a mutual, primates-beat-on-their-chests sort of thing that got out of hand.
That rumor is, simply, false:
Treptow was in his vehicle when he reached his gun past his wife to stop Officer Friendly from murdering her in front of his eyes. The damage to Rebecca Treptow's right eardrum makes it clear that, as she made clear in the 911 call, she had, while still in the passenger's seat, turned and lunged toward her husband for protection from her well-armed attacker.
It's possible, by the way, that her lunge saved Officer Friendly's life -- with his wife partly in the way, Treptow may not have been able to get his sights set on the attacker's center of mass, and it's not in dispute that Officer Friendly's wounds were both minor and peripheral. Had he received three shots to center of mass, he might or might not have survived, but he would not have been walking out of the hospital a very few hours later.
ConclusionsLet's take a deep breath, look at all the information that we have in front of us, and draw some preliminary conclusions. Like:
- By and large -- with one horrible exception; see below -- the Anoka County police dispatcher comes across as very professional and level-headed. He sounds cool, calm, and collected, and keeps his head about him as he does his job of passing information around. He does have to repeat that additional squads are not needed at the scene of the shooting, and does that without sounding condescending toward the dozens -- plural -- of units that have dropped everything else to get in on this call.
- There is, though, an interesting change. Initially, when Treptow calls in to report that his family has been attacked by a guy, and that he fired his gun, he's referred to as "the caller." Immediately after the person shot is identified as an "offduty Robbinsdale" cop, Treptow becomes "the suspect." Adrenaline is, as they say, funny stuff -- even though Anoka 911 has talked to Treptow, and have every reason to believe that he's waiting patiently at the Holiday for the police to arrive, there is a flurry of squads dashing about, this way and that, closing down at least one road, and generally running around with their hair on fire to prevent an escape attempt that there's no particular reason to think is going to happen, and Anoka 911 has every reason to believe isn't happening. Again: the Treptows immediately called 911 while fleeing from an armed man, and then went to the nearest safe place to wait for the police to arrive.
- Yup -- Officer Friendly is identified as an "offduty" cop, not an undercover cop. There's no attempt being made in any of the communication to preserve his supposed undercover status, even though -- later, much later -- his police chief, Wayne Shellum, claims that he was on duty at the time. (That is, I think, a claim Chief Shellum will come to regret, later on.)
- It's an exaggeration to say that, even after the injury to Officer Friendly is clearly identified as minor, every cop in the known universe seems to want to get in on this -- but it's not much of an exaggeration. Literally dozens -- plural -- of units from a wide variety of police agencies dropped everything that they were doing and sped off to get involved in this. That's understandable, and I only wish that the rest of us could count on such devotion if we were the ones to be slightly wounded in an altercation.
"We've got kids in the car. I got a five month old and a, a six year old."Mrs. Treptow told Anoka County 911 that; it's in the transcript, in black and white. Let's be clear: within seconds of the shooting, the Treptows have called 911, explained the situation, in detail -- and notice how cool-headed both of them appear to behave, despite the fear and shock that comes through even on the transcript. The entire Treptow family -- husband, wife, and two small children -- quickly proceed to a safe place to wait for the arrival of the police.
"We've got kids in the car. I got a five month old and a, a six year old."But even though Mrs. Treptow has been very explicit that she and her husband have their two small children with them -- and this is just horrible -- the Anoka County authorities dispatch numerous armed men to arrest Martin Treptow at gunpoint, without informing those armed men that Mr. and Mrs. Treptow have their two small children in the car.
"We've got kids in the car. I got a five month old and a, a six year old."There's a basic rule of gun safety: know your backstop. In this case, the cops' backstop included two small, frightened children . . .
Anoka Communications, which had known from the beginning --
"We've got kids in the car. I got a five month old and a, a six year old."-- that the cops' backstop included two small, terrified children --
"We've got kids in the car. I got a five month old and a, a six year old."-- didn't even mention that.
There's lots I'm still wondering about, in all this. I wonder who that phone call was from toward the end of the Anoka Comm Center tape, the one that was important enough for the incident commander to drop everything to take. I wonder about all those conversations that were taken off air, and onto cell phones, and which weren't recorded. I wonder what's been happening with the investigation of Officer Friendly, and why, a month after this incident, there's been no arrest made in this case and no report on why. I wonder why the local papers and tv stations haven't been all over this, and I wonder what there is in the State Patrol stuff that we haven't seen, and in the investigators' notes that we'll never see.
But why all the stonewalling?
No, I don't wonder why that happened. Not anymore, I don't.