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Police goons break into my duplex

On Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 5:00 p.m., there were two loud explosions on the front porch of my duplex at 1715 Glenwood Avenue in Minneapolis. Following the explosions, about eight heavily armed members of a police SWAT team kicked in the front door and raced upstairs to the second floor. (They might have broken a window in the door and let themselves in without damaging the door.) After kicking in the interior door, they seized their target, Anthony Foresta, who had been placed under house arrest after spending more than eight months in jail on accusations of having participated in a murder in March, 2013.

Foresta’s mother, Sheila, was waiting at the IDS center to attend a celebration in honor of the 130th anniversary of the Yale Club of the Northwest when she received a phone call from her brother about this incident. I was parking the car. When Sheila failed to meet me at the appointed place, I learned that she had returned to the scene of the break-in. I decided to remain at the downtown celebration; this was the year of my 50th class reunion. Cargill’s former CEO, Whitney MacMillan, made a presentation about the club’s early days. Governor Mark Dayton, another Yale graduate, had also been expected to attend. Being not in the best spirits, I left the party early.

Evidently, the police raided the duplex because Anthony Foresta (“Tony”) had failed to remain in continual telephone communication with his probation officer which was a condition of his release from jail. According to Sheila, the officer had called Tony that morning and failed to reach him. That was because the communication equipment, provided by a private contractor, had malfunctioned. Even though Tony wore an ankle bracelet with an electronic signaling device that disclosed his location at all times, it was thought that a dangerous individual might be on the loose.

The police quickly apprehended Tony in the living room and led him to a squad car among the fleet of cars parked on Glenwood Avenue. They put his 18-year-old nephew in handcuffs and kept him lying on the floor for two hours. The SWAT team wanted to know if the nephew, too, might be a gangbanger. He turned out to be only a high-school student.

Evidently, the police thought Tony might have possessed a gun and was probably using illegal drugs, too. One of the officers spotted white powder on a table in the kitchen. This was probable cause for searching the apartment for drugs. While one of the officers went off to seek a warrant from a judge, the others ransacked the apartment. The tenant’s belongings were strewn upon the floor in every room. Later, the warrant arrived.

It turned out that the white powder was not an illegal substance at all but a legally prescribed pill that had been cut in half to create a smaller dosage. The police also claimed to have found a gun in the apartment. It was, in fact, a B-B gun that the nephew had owned for several years. Once that fact had been established through documentation of its purchase, the police next turned to an allegation made by the parole officer that Tony had missed several of his appointments to have his urine tested for drugs. That, too, turned out not to be true. Tony had taken all his UA’s and passed them. On the other hand, he had failed to keep in touch with probation as required. If the equipment was defective, he should have done sometime about it.

Therefore, Tony remained incarcerated at the detention facility in downtown Minneapolis. He was arraigned before Judge Fred Karasov without an attorney present. Tony explained the situation to the judge who advised him to have his attorney schedule a hearing next week to determine whether Tony’s version of events was trustworthy. To date, this hearing has not been held.

What was it about Tony that made him seem so dangerous that fifteen armed police officers needed to arrive in cars to check on his whereabouts? His skin color, perhaps? (Tony is black.) No, the stated reason is that Tony had been charged with a murder. In fact, it was his second murder. He was convicted of second-degree murder without intent to kill and given a fifteen-and-a-half-year prison sentence of which he served thirteen years. Tony Foresta was the first juvenile in Minnesota to be tried as an adult.

The official version is that Tony “ shot two males, Jeaun Jackson and John Ellis, because one of them greeting him by saying, "What's up, Cuz?" Foresta reportedly disliked being called Cuz. Foresta missed them but killed their cousin, Anita Lucretia Wilson, 22, a mother ... Foresta was charged with 2 counts of first degree murder, 1 count of 2nd degree murder, 1 count of felony murder, and 2 counts of 2nd degree assault, which means assaulting someone with a dangerous weapon. He was acquitted on the first degree murder and convicted on the rest. “

Despite the multiple charges, there was, in fact, a single incident. Spun differently, the circumstances of Tony’s crime are as follows: In the summer of 1995, Anthony Foresta, then a teenager, was hanging out with some friends in north Minneapolis when a car pulled up in an alley. Angry words were exchanged with the occupants of the car. One of them reached under the front seat for what Foresta believed was a gun. Foresta borrowed a gun from a friend and fired shots toward the car. A bullet from one of the shots ricochetted off the body of the car and struck Anita Wilson who was standing nearby. She died. Later in the day the man who had loaned Foresta the gun was himself shot and killed.

Whichever the case, Tony served his sentence and was released on parole. Then, in March 2013, a man named James Patterson was killed when two men entered his apartment in south Minneapolis. Police said that Tony was one of the two men. Patterson’s son, who was present at the murder, gave testimony to the contrary. However, Tony’s girl friend, who was a heroine addict, was interrogated by police with repetitious leading questions. Under intense questioning, she said Tony had been involved in the murder, but later recanted. Then, a woman named Rachel, who was a friend of Tony’s girl friend, also told police that Tony had been involved in the murder. Rachel was the girl friend of a man who was also a suspect in this murder.

Tony was originally to be tried in Hennepin District court in December 2013. However, the prosecutor asked that the trial be postponed so that further evidence could be gathered against Tony. She also wanted Tony to be tried jointly with another suspect. The judge, William Koch, agreed to postpone the trial until April. When that trial date arrived, the prosecution’s chief witness, Rachel, could not be found so the trial was again postponed until July. Tony was released from jail in April after eight months of incarceration and placed under house arrest. His sister agreed to let him live in her upstairs unit in my duplex until the trial. He had been there for little more than a month when the police goons stormed the duplex and took Tony prisoner again.

Although Tony’s constitutional right to a speedy trial (which normally means within ninety days of arrest) had been violated by repeated delay of the trial, the prosecutor had objected to his release. A woman who viewed the arrest from across the street saw Tony being transferred from a sheriff deputy’s car to a Minneapolis police squad car. It was her opinion that the police may have wanted Tony to help with their investigation of other criminal suspects.

 

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