Alex Mingus was given the Award for Valor for saving a man who'd been shot. As he took the stage to speak after getting an award from the St. Paul police chief, he had a clear message: “I just want folks to know that they don’t keep us safe."
Pioneer Press reported that Mingus said that individuals like him keep the communities safe. He noted that while he was helping a shooting victim bleeding on the ground he watched as about nine squad cars drove by. He tried to flag them down but didn't want to stop the pressure on the wound.
Mingus had very little knowledge of medicine but he knew enough that when he witnessed an attack he was able to pull over the car and use a towel and shirt to slow the bleeding from a gunshot.
The bullet from the gun severed an artery in the man's arm and he would have bled out had Mingus not stepped in.
“I’m very uncomfortable being here with you guys," Mingus said, a Black man before a crowd of white officers. Still, he went to the event because he wanted to use the opportunity to make a statement.
He wore a shirt reading “Smash White Supremacy.” He wore it “because the police are one of the strongest arms of white supremacy in our world. They started as slave catchers, and they haven’t changed much. All that the police do is protect rich white people’s property.”
There was a potential "of 18 people that could have stopped to help preserve life, but 18 people chose to go to a potential threat,” he said of officers responding to the shooting suspect. “And I recognize the man had a pistol, and we didn’t know what he was doing.”
He finished by saying "riots work."
“I’m not asking anybody to take to the streets right now and riot, that seems stupid. I was just saying those things do work when you need them to work. I live in south Minneapolis, I live near the Third Precinct. I was there during the uprising (after George Floyd was killed)," Mingus said.
On Monday, the police department said in a statement that they were honored to recognize Mingus’ “lifesaving work.”
“We are happy the victim survived and thankful that Mr. Mingus was there to make a difference for the victim,” the statement said. “In addition, we are happy that the suspect was quickly stopped, charged, and held accountable for his violent act. Both of these results are the best outcomes we could have hoped for following such a tragic incident, and Mr. Mingus played a crucial role in that. Recognizing his actions that day is important for our community and our ongoing mission of working with our community to provide trusted service with respect.”
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