Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Calling Out Ron Edwards

Edwards is on the right-hand side.
Post and photo after the jump by the Hawthorne Hawkman. First three images from the Johnny Northside blog. Fourth image from

Let's get one thing out of the way first: I generally do not like personal tit-for-tat arguments via blogging. This is why I try to keep my blog focused on issues instead of personalities. But every once in a while, something so boneheaded, so egregious comes along that it just cannot be left uncontested.

That's precisely what happened today, when I picked up the Star Tribune article about the near-riot at the Haywood Eaton vigil. (Links go to JNS, since the Strib links often go dead after a while. The Strib article is reprinted in the comment section there.) In that article, Minneapolis activist Ron Edwards is quoted as saying...
...that the people in the community are tense over the situation because "the cops lost control of the situation."

Not me.  I happened to be driving by on my way to Cub Foods, and saw police tape and a squadron of officers after everything had appeared to have calmed down.  I'm still tense though.  I'm tense because a year ago a young man was senselessly gunned down in my community over a petty argument.  I'm tense because just like the person who brought a gun to Alisha Neely's funeral, the attendees of a supposed peace vigil apparently brought both their arguments and their armaments back into my community.

I'm tense because the people who gathered in the Hawthorn Crossings parking lot apparently had to bring along their alcohol for some public drinking, making the already dangerous combination of anger and firearms even more explosive.  I'm tense because whether Eaton was a good kid or not, a young man cannot rest in peace when his vigil is marred by violent acts.

I am NOT tense,  however, because the police supposedly lost control of the situation.  When I went past, it was clear that they had gained control of the situation.  I'm also calmed by the fact that the memorial (which unfortunately at this point is more likely to be a violence magnet than a memorial) has been removed.
Note the different shade of green in the middle.  That's spray paint.
I'm tense because the mother either lost control of herself or felt it was okay to kick a police car door when a cop was exiting the vehicle, trapping him; that she attempted several times to take an officer's gun; that someone threw a piece of concrete through a squad car window, and that six people had to be arrested.

Most of all, I'm tense that Mr. Edwards appears to endorse, enable, or at least excuse such behavior with the final quote from the Strib article:  "If friends wanted to have a memorial to remember him and at the same time call for peace, I think it's appropriate."  (well, that part the Hawkman does agree with)  "Obviously, because of the way the police reacted, I was wrong."

By all means, let's have these vigils to remember these young men and women--kids, even.  But when we do, leave your vendettas and your guns at home.  And maybe if leaders like Mr. Edwards preached accountability first, then we could say that the Haywood Eaton vigil was the last one we ever needed to go to.


  1. She attempted to take the guns off of several different officers. One officer or several officers, that's just craziness. She's actually fortunate she didn't get herself killed. If I'm not mistaken, trying to disarm a police officer is grounds for lethal force, if necessary.

    There. I said it. Now let the outrage at my words begin, while there is no outrage from the Ron Edwards type pundits at the murders and criminals and thugs.

  2. If Ron Edwards says "If you will" one more time I'm going to throw my shoes at his head.

  3. Surprise,surprise, you have discoverd that Clown Edwards is two faced unapolegetic liar who has been practicing his version of whining endlessly for decades here in Minneapolis.Your damn straight he never calls Black people on their shit because he can't stand White people or any one associated with the Police Force except the Black officers.He is a racist in the true sense of the word and so is the fuckhead sitting next to him.Gee, i wonder who that guy is?(Facetiousness)Please post this and remember Rotten Ron is a washed up has-been.

  4. Can someone explain why Ron Edwards was acting as a spokesperson for Nomi in the Star Trib article?

    Is there some kind of relevant history I'm missing out on... I've never heard of Ron Edwards before... probably because I've only lived here for a few months.

    It kind of IRKS me that the rest of the metro is getting a slanted view of this incident.

    I wonder what was so OBVIOUS about the police reaction that makes him think memorial gatherings are inappropriate.

    Nobody claimed that "the cops lost control of the situation" over in St. Paul during the RNC, and that was a much much much larger clusterfuck than anything that's happened in Nomi.

    If anything, it seems like the organizers of the event lost control of the situation, and the police were necessary to regain control.

  5. Anon 9:04, I've had relatively little contact with Mr. Edwards - certainly not enough of a negative experience myself to use such language. I just have an issue with his comments directed at the police instead of the would-be rioters.

    Also, the other person in the picture is Spike Moss. I haven't had much contact with him either, although in an early post, I did call him out for playing the race card.

  6. Hans said "If anything, it seems like the organizers of the event lost control of the situation, and the police were necessary to regain control."

    Exactly. I love it when in one simple sentence someone can hit the nail straight on the head. Thanks Hans!

  7. Edwards has been fighting for racial justice in Minneapolis in a variety of roles for decades. He has a blog, called The Minneapolis Story, I think. Media is a bit lazy and they tend to go to people who they know and think are likely to have something interesting, controversial or important to say.

    I have been on both the same side and opposite side of issues and arguments with him a few times. He sometimes pisses me off. He is often more than a little slanted towards one side of a debate and prone to hyperbole, suspicion and exaggeration.

    He sometimes fills me with admiration. He is tenacious, has a grasp on history and has principles. He works across racial lines and is not afraid of criticizing other African Americans.

    You will not often see him joining in public criticism of people who everyone (incl. RE, privately, I will guess) will agree are way out of line, when those people are not in a position to address structural inequalities or in a position of public responsibility.

    There are plenty of folks who call down the wrath of god and the MPD on gang-bangers, after all. My guess is that he does his share of preaching accountability to unaccountable ill-willed types in the community, but not in the context where you and I will see it.

    IF he said what was reported, and IF the rest of the news report was accurate, he was out of line.

    Lets do direct the media's attention to other committed, smart, history-conscious people in the community - let them make some points, some mistakes, some history. Michael, I am talking about you....


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.