U of M Standoff Resolved

Michael Geiger

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During the early morning hours of the morning on January 29th, forty-six year old Rashad Bowman began a 38-hour standoff with the Minneapolis Police Department from the inside of the Graduate Hotel on the University of Minnesota campus. 

During the standoff, both the University Recreation and Wellness Center and adjacent Beacon Street were closed. However, the Graduate Hotel was not evacuated, with the exception of several rooms close to Bowman’s. Assistant Minneapolis Police Chief Mike Kjos stated, “It was a contained environment, all on one floor where there wasn’t a need to rush in and cause an incident to take place.” Kjos also added that he stood by the decision made to slow-play the situation, “Time was on our side and it was the right decision to wait him out. ”

This opinion was backed up by Ronal Serpas, a former police officer with years of SWAT experience who now teaches criminology and justice at Loyola Universit-New Orleans. Serpas stated, “If we have complete domination at the scene, you don’t have to worry about anybody getting hurt, and you don’t have to worry about your officers getting hurt… Really, waiting it out is not a bad practice.”

When asked about Bowman’s motivations, U of M Police Chief Matt Clark stated, “there were a number of issues related to his family life, things in his past, the crime he was wanted for, and that was part of the negotiation and discussion.”

Bowman repeatedly displayed erratic behavior during the standoff. On several occasions, he hanged outside his window and at one point he threw his microwave out the window of his sixth floor hotel room.

Authorities peacefully negotiated with Bowman until he threatened to burn the hotel down. At that point, the decision was made by the police to go on the offensive. After tear gas and flash bang grenades failed to incapacitate Bowman, a SWAT team used a battering ram to get inside his room and brought an end to the standoff.

SWAT members noted that after entering the room they observed Bowman attempting to set several small fires. Also, despite Bowman’s claims that he was armed, no firearms were found in his hotel room.

According to Lynette Whitlock, an acquaintance of Bowman, he is facing an arrest warrant in Maricopa County, Arizona for printing checks. Whitlock also said that Bowman had accused her of stealing his African serval Scarlett. According to the San Diego zoo, the African serval is a cat usually found in central and southern Africa. The species is rarely found in the US, and is even illegal to own in several states. 

On February 1st, Hennepin County prosecutors announced that Bowman would be charged with felony charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment.