Minneapolis Police officer pushes Longfellow elder at Roof Depot

Delaney Russell comments on incident

A Minneapolis Police officer shoves an elder at the Roof Depot site on Tuesday night, Feb. 21, 2023 as the site is cleared by over 100 police officers with 50 squads. Delaney Russell shared some thoughts on the experience with the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger. (Video by Tesha M. Christensen)

Longfellow resident Delaney Russell was shocked when a Minneapolis Police Officer pushed her back on the slippery sidewalk when the occupation at the Roof Depot site was being cleared by over 100 police officers and 50 squads that shut down an eight-block radius on Tuesday night, Feb. 21, 2023 from about 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

What do you think about how the city handled the incident?
Delaney: Wow - business as usual. Nothing has changed since George Floyd’s murder. This was a peaceful and prayerful group of Indigenous elders and people trying to protect the health and well-being of their community. But this huge contingent of police are sent in and completely surrounded the area. You’d think the city was under a major threat by the armed police response. At one point, there were 40 cops surrounding two Indigenous women; how is that not excessive? The show of force was completely out-of-line, and dangerous.

What was going through your mind when the police officer forcibly handled you? 
Delaney: I was shocked what he did just to move me a few feet. I mean, I’m almost 60 and probably half of his weight. I don't have a bulletproof vest, or a gun either. But he manhandled me back in a way that felt really inappropriate. He went out of his way to be aggressive.  I’m thinking of filing a complaint except I don’t think it’s worth my time.
What are you concerned about today?
Delaney: It’s clear the police are being weaponized in the service of money and profits. I’m a middle class White woman saying this; I’ve had to see this with my own eyes the past few years to believe it. And now what? If thousands more people take action in the coming weeks, will Jacob Frey try to brutalize them all?  This kind of response is completely unacceptable for anyone just fighting for their basic needs like breathable air and livable places. 
What do you have to say about the incident?
Delaney: For eight years, people who hear about the community’s plan are dumbfounded the city isn’t actively supporting it, much less fighting against it and sending in armed police to enforce it. This incident is one more example of the mayor’s blatant disregard for the well-being of Native peoples and Black and Brown residents in our city. 


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