Monday, September 26, 2005

Dean Zimmermann's Crime-Busting Days

CJ's Strib column four years ago:

Dean Zimmermann's black eyes are "pretty good ones," said the Park and Recreation Board member who was the highest vote-getter in the Minneapolis Sixth Ward race for City Council. He got them early Saturday when he was defending his East Phillips neighborhood against people busting out car windows. "Sometime around [1:30 a.m.] we heard this bang, bang and I looked out my kitchen window, saw these [two] kids beating the windows out of a neighbor's car. I called the police, then went out to try to delay their departure. I was successful in doing that," said Zimmermann. His delay tactic involved following the kids down the alley. "Kind of got them to turn around and talk to me," he said. "Don't really remember what I said, just anything that would get them to react and turn around." Although Zimmermann wanted "to keep a little distance between us, at a certain point they made a little whistle and three other compatriots came in behind me. They started picking up stones to throw, and I thought that would be a good time to retreat.`' Zimmermann said he ran into his neighbor's yard and they followed. "They kind of all jumped me at once," he said. With fists and a chair they "whomped me." Other neighbors came out, and "they took off. The cops nabbed one of them. So the mission was successful. We have to press charges, as they say, and we're planning to do that." Zimmermann, who retells the story in his low-key style, decided he should see a doctor Tuesday because "these just don't seem to be clearing up at all. You know, I've had black eyes before. Not a big deal." Really? "I've had a life of experience. I'm not a timid wallflower. If you're on the cutting edge of things, sometimes you get cut." And sometimes those cuts come with "raccoon eyes," said his partner and campaign manager Jenny Heiser: "He looks so awful." She's not looking great either. A girl in the group blackened her eyes.

Here's Ed Felein's account in Southside Pride

When Dean Zimmermann decided to run for a seat on the City Council he didn't think he'd run into gang trouble in his own backyard.
    On Sept. 15, at about 1:30 a.m., he was awakened by some loud noises in his alley. He got up and looked out and saw some kids beating windows out of a neighbor's car. There had been a number of incidents of windows being broken out of cars in the East Phillips neighborhood recently.
    One of the kids had double zeros on the back of his jacket, Zimmermann said. He called the police, described the situation, and said he was going out after them (thinking this would encourage the police to come more quickly).
    He went out with the intention of delaying the kids until the proper authorities arrived.
    “I danced behind them, but probably not at quite a prudent distance, talking to them, 'Why don't you guys leave us alone?' I was about 150 feet away. They answered back, 'Why don't you go home, old man?' Then, they gave a gang signal, whistling, and three guys came up behind me throwing rocks. I turned around and ran at one of the guys. I tackled him. But the other four jumped me, and that's how I got the black eyes. Some women neighbors came out, and the young men beat them also. The kids took off. Twenty minutes after they were called, the police showed up. They were able to pick up one of the kids. He was 13....

There's more, ending with this howler...

Zimmermann said he promises big changes in the way the city deals with crime if he's elected to the city council from the 6th ward in November.

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