Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tow Truck Driver Confronted With A Shotgun In North Minneapolis During Spring Street Cleaning

Photo By John Hoff, yard in North Minneapolis
(Can you spot the flying donkey?)

If there was ever an argument for giving citizens electronic notification before towing their vehicles, it would be something like this...

The incident happened on Wednesday, April 30, 2008, at 3221 Lyndale Avenue North. This is just a block or so north of where I own property and do extensive "block watch" activity. So I learned of the incident because I get "Fourth Precinct" email updates, though all these updates are also posted on a website. So this tow truck incident was routinely posted, but I guess only somebody like me (completely obsessed with non-consent towing issues) would see it as anything more than more senseless violence in North Minneapolis.

The man arrested (the owner of the vehicle) was Robert Tuggle, age 22, a white male with (get this!) NO PRIOR POLICE HISTORY.

Normally, when reading about these North Side incidents, one sees the suspects have extensive police histories. Take, for example, Earnest Boyd, arrested in a crack incident a block away, who has a total of 87 "CAPRS" on his record. (Computer Assisted Police Report System...or something like that) Basically, this guy has had the cops called on him 87 times. Quite a record, but normally with these North Side arrests one sees a few dozen CAPRS.

But Robert Tuggle? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Tuggle has never had the cops called on him before, at least not something recorded by CAPR.

According to the cryptic report, it was 8:30 in the morning and a tow truck driver was towing vehicles for street sweeping, hooking up when Robert Tuggle came out. Tuggle "racked" and then pointed a Remington 870 shotgun at the tow truck driver.

Though the report doesn't actually say it, one presumes the tow truck driver unhooked the vehicle in question and left the area. Officers came back, arrested Tuggle, and took his gun.

Clearly, Tuggle was in the wrong. But try explaining that to Tuggle. In North Minneapolis, you can be living in a house illegally--squatting, basically--and it takes WEEKS for the legal process to evict you, with a notable degree of care and concern about notifying you in regard to your rights and property.

But authorities can just come along and seize your car without notice.

What gets you to a job and helps you earn a living? Your car. Where will you live if you get thrown out of your house in North Minneapolis? Your car. What object is all tangled up with your very sense of personal identity, even more than (for example) a Remington 870 shotgun? That's right, your car.

For god's sake, Minneapolis. Find a way to give citizens electronic notification of an impending tow, before some tow truck driver gets shot dead on the street. Really, one could take an incident like this as a warning and work to prevent something much worse.

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