A pastor's wife and daughter are in good health but emotionally shaken after a deranged man threw a chunk of concrete through the windshield of the family's van in the Minneapolis police precinct where George Floyd died while in custody last summer.
Despite a 911 call for assistance, no officer responded to the crime scene, where the masked man also hurled expletives at the mother and 4-year-old daughter.
Hours after the assault, a representative of the Minneapolis Police Department called to say the department would "follow up later."
After reporting an emergency in the city's 3rd Precinct, Caitlyn Bangs called her husband, Jared Bangs, a pastor at Cook Baptist Church in Cook, Minnesota.
"Shortly after 1:30 p.m., I receive a frantic call from my wife," Jared Bangs wrote on Facebook following the assault.
"Through gasps and tears she manages to say, 'I need you to come down here right away. Someone just threw a chunk of concrete at our car, shattering our windshield, and then came at our car screaming and acting crazy. I'm safe now and called 911 but I just need you to come here right away,'" Bangs wrote.
Aware of the neighborhood's crime and police department history, Bangs sped 31 miles to the scene, calling family members and praying with his father—also a pastor—on the phone as he drove into the city from the couple's suburban home.
He wondered if a Minneapolis Police Department officer would arrive first.
When Bangs parked his Honda Civic behind the family minivan occupied by his wife and daughter, a man and woman who had witnessed the attack were providing solace and comfort.
As Bangs hugged his wife and daughter, the couple returned to their vehicle to wait for law enforcement.
Turns out they'd be waiting a very long time.
Hesitant to call 911 for an update, Bangs called the 3rd Precinct. "The phone rings. And rings. And rings. And then it dawns on me: The Minneapolis Third Precinct was sieged, evacuated, and destroyed following George Floyd's death while in police custody.
"Governor Walz and Mayor Frey's massive failure to protect the city amidst the riots has left this area of Minneapolis decimated and the police force depleted. While this realization settles in, I wonder to myself, perhaps the 'insurrectionists' at the Capitol on January 6th were simply confused by the rhetoric over the summer, mistakenly thinking that violently attacking sacred symbols of law and order is an appropriate act of protest. Hmmfff. Wonder where they could have gotten that idea?" Bangs mused in his Facebook post.
Two hours later and with still no word from police, Bangs checked Twitter again, discovering the man was arrested and in custody.
"My wife's phone rings and it's someone from the MPD letting us know they've arrested the suspect, but they won't be sending any officers our way. We are free to leave the scene and they'll be in touch later," Bangs wrote.
Jared and Caityln Bangs aren't angry; they realize officers are in short supply, and crime is not. He wrote:
"We just wish, for our daughter's sake, that she could have seen an officer come alongside to offer comfort and protection.
"Having witnessed a debased criminal standing outside her window screaming expletives at her mother after shattering the front windshield, it would have been nice for her to see the opposite.
"Unfortunately, Minneapolis can't offer much better at the moment."
Jared and Caityln Bangs bid farewell to the couple who had waited out the time in their own vehicle. "I thank them for offering comfort and compassion to my wife and daughter in their time of need," he wrote. "'God Bless you,' I say, trusting they can see my smile is genuine. After all, I'm not wearing a mask."
Steve Rees is a former general assignment reporter who, with one other journalist, first wrote about the national men's movement Promise Keepers from his home in Colorado. Rees and Promise Keepers Founder Bill McCartney attended the Boulder Vineyard. Today Rees writes in his free time.
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