Media culpability in the tarnishing of the badge
Each year in May, we set aside time to honor fallen peace officers as part of National Peace Officers Memorial Week. Today elected officials, law enforcement leaders and the public…
We have been pointing out for several months now that Minnesota’s revolving door courts pose a risk to the safety of the state’s residents. In a number of cases, it turns out that suspects for crimes including homicide should have been in jail at the time of their alleged crime for previous convictions. Now, others are starting to take note.
Last Friday, an item for Kare 11 told the story of the shooting of Bloomington restaurant owner Kevan Tran.
Kevan Tran says he was cleaning up after a long day in June of 2020 at Penn Lake Roast Beef, the Bloomington restaurant he owns and operates.
That’s when two men approached from the back of the restaurant, threatened him with a gun and demanded money.
One of them charged was Devon Dewayne Glover.
“That moment, oh my God, so terrifying,” he recalls.
Tran opened the register but says Glover shot him anyway, hitting him twice in stomach. Tran crawled to a nearby liquor store for help and paramedics were able to save his life. Glover was charged with attempted murder.
Just days later in St. Paul, a woman working at a liquor store would also find herself at the wrong end of Glover’s gun, according to criminal charges. She told investigators three men robbed her and beat her with a gun. She needed staples in her head to close the wound.
In April 2017, Mr. Glover was one of two men who opened fire on a crowded light rail platform in St. Paul, his bullets hitting and wounding a bystander, according to criminal records. Kare 11 reports:
After that light rail shooting, a judge cut Glover a break, giving him probation instead of a 3-year prison sentence on the condition he followed the rules. But after multiple probation violations and a new domestic assault charge in 2019, Glover was sent to prison in St. Cloud.
Months later, he was out again, on intensive supervised release with the DOC. But in the first few months of 2020 alone, Glover was:
* Arrested for allegedly shooting at his ex-girlfriend. A police report says a gun was found but lacked enough DNA evidence to prove Glover fired it, so he was not formally charged.
* Charged with a felony for allegedly stealing and using credit cards
* Arrested on a probation violation warrant for absconding for more than 100 days.
Even so, when his DOC field agent requested at a May 2020 hearing that Glover’s parole be revoked, the hearing officer refused. He wrote that although Glover’s “factors would favor a revocation,” another attempt at release was appropriate.
Less than one month after that hearing Kevan Tran was shot. Glover is now facing charges in federal court and has plead not guilty.
As obscene as it sounds, Mr. Tran can consider himself somewhat fortunate:
KARE 11 has documented at least 16 murders over the past two years allegedly committed by convicted criminals who were on probation or parole, had already been charged with a new serious crime, but were left on the street instead of being sent back to jail.
If their probation or parole had been revoked, they could or should have been behind bars at the time of the killings.
And the situation has gotten worse:
An internal ombudsman’s report from late last year shows DOC revocations in 2020 were down 45 percent, part of a strategy to protect health as COVID ravaged prisons but also included in a long-term plan to focus on rehabilitation in the community.
The report included several anonymous interviews with DOC staff. Most supported the idea of reducing revocations for technical offenses and reducing the prison population, but told the ombudsman the policy “had swung too far.”
DOC staffers noted that it has become hard to get a revocation hearing “even for new, more serious offenses such as assault or being in possession of or in the presence of a firearm.”
They warned “community members or supervising agents will get hurt,” and records reveal they already are.
The government has a core duty to protect peaceful, law abiding citizens from those who would commit acts of violence and theft against them. It is clear that for too many in Minnesota’s correctional system, the interests of those criminals now trump the rights of ordinary Minnesotans to live their lives free from such acts. This has to change.