Everything I did RIGHT and the one thing I did WRONG, when calling #911 to report a #DowntownMinneapolisSafetyHazard, 2 months ago….
(picture of Thrivent Smith Lot at 7th St and 5th Avenue in DT East, the relevance of picture will be clearer in body of blog, picture taken by me, a few months ago)
Important Disclaimers: I am NOT a clinically trained or credentialed medical or mental health professional, nor am I trained in law enforcement or public safety. I do though deal with less than ideal situations as a private citizen and as an activist, and in this instance, when calling for help from emergency responders, it did fail me. I still will always recommend when someone is or if someone they witness is in crisis, they get help immediately by calling 911 or emergency services in your country of residence.
May 26th, 2019, around 7:30 p.m. :
“911, What’s your emergency?”
“My name is Alissa Kasen, I live at 72- 5th Avenue, a man who’s under the influence of illegal drugs, just walked by me, stopped suddenly and started screaming that he wanted wanted to blow up my apartment building, which he’s still sitting in front of”
“Can you please repeat your name and your building address?”
“Alissa Kasen, address is 72- 5th Avenue South, I created a diversion, and am a 1/2 a block away from him, at the Thrivent parking lot at 5th and 7th and I’m telling people not to walk in front of my apartment building, after trying trying to deescalate his anger, by acknowledging the hate he’s been subjected to, being Somali and he was angry that his race has caused him issues getting jobs, a place to live and women to date and I lied and said that I, Mayor Frey, Representative Omar and Police Chief Arrodondo is working against all the the Somali hate that exists. I don’t think he has an IED on him, he’s just enraged and looking for a fight”.
“Okay, we will send a squad, right away”.
Now what I repeated above, is almost verbatim of what I told that man, as well as what I told 911. That he was enraged, I didn’t think though he had an IED on his person, I described what he looked like, 5’6, approximately 120 lbs, Somali, tan pants, blue top and he was carrying a grey hoodie.
The issue that still haunts me, 2 months later, is that while I described him perfectly, I did NOT describe myself, which I was a a heavyset female, with slightly messy red hair and unfortunately for me, I didn’t describe what I wore or what I looked like.
And while I knew better to go back into my building, before I cleared my block, as we have handicapped door entrances that open and close slowly and that’s why I didn’t feel safe for me to go into my apartment building because he could’ve followed me in and also presented a safety threat to the residents in my building and as well as I texted my boyfriend who I was waiting outside for, as he was going to pick me up for dinner and I told him NOT to go in front of my building, as there was a safety emergency in front of it, I made that one bad mistake, that really no one could blame me for, as I described the perpetrator, I didn’t think that I’d have to describe what I looked like, at all, especially not knowing at the time I called 911, that he’d confront me again.
From where I was facing, when I was in the parking lot next to my building, there’s no way that a squad could’ve come by to address the situation without me seeing it.
And unfortunately while they never showed in the 8-10 minutes I was waiting before my boyfriend picked me up at the end of my block, that man resurfaced again, after I concluded my 911 call, angry that I lied to him, as I got away the first time from him, lying about a friend who had a medical emergency that I had to attend to.
Also admitting while he appreciated my kindness initially with having empathy for him and the prejudices he faced, he also admitted that his first thought when he saw me, was that he wanted to kill me, when approaching me that 2nd time. And he went from being maniacally like that, to asking me to have sex, give him drugs and money and asking if he could he hang out with me.
While I eventually as fear stricken as I was, able to kindly explain, I didn’t have anything to give him, that I did feel bad for him though and he let me be, he eventually started bothering a driver waiting at the light at 5th Avenue and 7th Street next to the parking lot next to my apartment building that 2nd time he found me and by the time my boyfriend picked me up, he had moved a block a way, where he was arguing with someone else.
I didn’t call 911 back right away, once my boyfriend picked me up. I did though a few hours later, called the non emergency number for the City of Minneapolis who did say they dispatched a squad .
I’m not accusing them of lying, what I am saying, 2 months later, is maybe because I wasn’t arguing or confrontational with the erratic illegal unstable drug addict, the 2nd time that when he approached me again, the police who I never saw during that time period, at least, if they actually showed, didn’t bother to get involved, with me horrifically thinking my contact with a drug enraged stranger, was consensual, just based upon what I looked like, as I couldn’t have been clearer on what that man looked like.
It still haunts me, that happened, even though I get harassed a lot, even as as unkempt female, as I look like in public frequently, that others may think I have no standards, when I’m out and about, as it’s not my idea of a good time, hanging around dealers, erratic illegal drug abusers, people prone to criminal activity and people asking me for money, sex and cigarettes all the time.
But the difference is, 2 months ago, I did call 911 for help.
So, I guess going forward, should that happen again, not only will I have to explain of what a violent drug and sex seeking perpetrator looks like, I guess I’ll have to describe myself, so a mistake isn’t made, just because I’m NOT attractive that I would want attention like that.
I love our Minneapolis First Responders, whether they be police, fire or HCMC staff.
But, I should’ve never been put in that situation. Had that man been any farther foregone, it’s not a stretch that he could’ve killed me or someone else, given how irrational and enraged he was.