I Got Robbed Last Night by This Guy (which revealed a lack of good legal options)
I was robbed last night by this guy, who I photographed as he carried my bag away.
But here's the police 6 minutes later with the man detained.
I work downtown Minneapolis once a week. I park just outside downtown and walk to avoid the parking expense. This takes me through a couple of graffiti'd, littered blocks, and I've been aware of the risks of having my computer bag on me.
Yesterday's walk back to my car was no different.
I thought all was good when I got to my car, but when I sat down, a figure in my left periphery approached. I went for the locks, but the rear door opened. I looked back to see the man in photo standing there with my gym bag. Fears of carjacking and physical harm came but then went when he just stood there looking around a bit. Didn't say a word.
Whenever I've been threatened like this, I've honestly never known what to do with the excess energy. This time, I got out and just said, "No, man." One second later, I thought different and said, "Keep it." I got back in the car, and he walked away.
Took the photo of him, called 911, then went live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bferdig/videos/10116508368299530/ The guy just stuck around at the end of the block. He went through my bag, dropped it on the sidewalk, and stood in the adjacent parking lot until cops arrived about 6 minutes later.
I thought about getting out, getting my bag, and going home. But I was still afraid to leave my car.
Finally, the cops arrived. The man didn't run. They detained and questioned him and then offered me a choice of whether to charge him.
Two bad choices, I thought. 1. No repercussions for robbery. Or 2. a criminal record for a situation that amounted to little harm.
I understand the need to have more, rehabilitative options in situations like this. The police said he thought the man was perhaps mentally ill. I wish there was a counseling service available on the spot to take him into their care. Here's where we can brainstorm ideas. (I even thought about just talking to the guy and seeing what was up.)
As it was, I went ahead with the charge. They gave him a citation with a fine--which he probably can't afford. And if he doesn't pay, he'll then have a warrant out there for his arrest. This is how problems pile on.
The cops would release him after I drove away.
The deeper issue in this situation is why a person is motivated to commit such an act in the first place. It's actually precisely why I've been working with MADDADS, VJ Smith, Anthijuan Beeks Sr., and other community leaders as of late.