'Injured boy released from hospital

I'm not going to let this go,' boy's mother says

Rosalind Bentley and Duchesne Paul Drew

Minneapolis Star Tribune

On Friday afternoon, 11-year-old Julius Powell managed a weak smile and paused to give his aunt Manette Chineth a hug as he walked up the steps to his north Minneapolis home. His left arm was in a sling, and he was careful not to let his aunt bump it as they embraced.

His home is just blocks away from his grandmother's house in North Minneapolis, where Julius was injured Thursday evening during a drug raid in which police shot and killed a family dog.


Julius Powell is tall for 11. The kind of kid with a baby's face, but a teen's body. He does things most 11-year-old boys do -- rides his bike through the neighborhood with friends, plays football, basketball, Nintendo.

He's the quiet one

The oldest of four children -- he has two sisters and a brother -- he takes his big brother role seriously. His family says he's the quiet one.

He had been at the house of Shirley Powell, his grandmother, most of the day on Thursday, playing with his siblings and cousins, about a dozen kids in all.

The house sits in the middle of a neighborhood that is racially and economically mixed, a place where some families have lived for decades and refuse to move despite the persistent crime. It's also a place where some middle-class couples have moved to try to make a difference.

A neighborhood Peace Garden planted with tomatoes, sunflowers and black-eyed Susans is nestled between his grandmother's house and the corner where police were called nearly hundreds of times in the last year about possible drug deals and other crimes.

This is the area where Julius played on Thursday. As night began to fall, some of the younger children went inside Shirley Powell's home. According to family members, Julius and one of his uncles, Tavares Powell, remained outside with the family's pit bull, Red.

Then the police raid began. The dog was killed. Julius was accidentally shot in the arm by Minneapolis police. The shooting led to a melee in which members of the media were beaten, news vans and cars torched.


But Julius knew nothing about that as he lay in a North Memorial Medical Center hospital bed Thursday night.

'Daddy, they shot me'

"Daddy, they shot me." That was the first thing Julius said to his father, Otis Chineth, late Thursday. Chineth also said he had not received an apology from the police or from Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Chineth said the family plans to get therapy for the child, physical and otherwise. He said he worries that from now on, every time his son sees a police officer he'll remember what happened.

But Manette Chineth said one police officer took a special interest in Julius in the midst of the tumult. It was the school police officer from Hall Elementary, Julius' old school. She said the officer showed up at the hospital after the shooting, worried and concerned for the child.

Meanwhile, Julius' mother, Stacey Powell, is angry.

"Something needs to be done about the police coming up here and shooting all these kids," she said Friday, standing in front of her mother's house. "I'm not going to let this ride at all. I'm not going to let this go."

As several of the Powells sat on their front steps Friday afternoon, a stream of friends and neighbors passed by to wish them well and inquire about Julius.


Throughout the day, Minneapolis police cars also rolled past, leading some of the Powells to yell at them.

"Damn, man, ain't y'all done enough," one said.

Life as a Powell

The squad cars are nothing new, said Julius' cousin, Teriann Powell, 20. She proceeded to call off the numbers on the sides of cars as if she were running down a list of close friends -- 440, 410, 412, 422 . . .

"Let them put down their badges and guns and come on the block," she said.

Some of the Powells said that their family has had a long-running feud with the Minneapolis police, not because they're criminals but because they don't allow the police to walk all over them.

"They're always harassing us because our last name is Powell," said Toney Powell, 33, one of Julius' cousins.

Many of the Powells have criminal records for drug dealing and assault.


Although police came to the house Thursday evening to serve a search warrant and look for narcotics, the Powells said they're not dealers.

"This ain't no damn drug house," said Powell family member David Brown, 35.

Thursday's shooting, he said, was an outgrowth of the lack of respect the police have shown his family over the years.

"There's a way to talk to a person," Brown said. "You give respect, you get respect."

Franklin Powell, 27, spent Friday worrying about his nephew and mourning the loss of Red, his 3-year-old rednose pit bull.

When he was 17, Franklin Powell was convicted of beating KMSP-TV reporter Julia Sandidge during a riot that broke out after a cousin was shot by a neighbor. He served time in prison and then moved to Faribault to start over fresh. But, he said, he recently lost his job as a roofer, so he moved back in with his mother a few weeks ago.

"I know one thing," he said, "I get back on my feet, I'm going back to the boonies."

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