At the time, the bail fund, which took in some $35 million (some from Biden campaign workers) had merely gotten people accused of violent crime out of jail, pending a court appearance, without further incident.
That’s changed now, and the Minnesota Freedom Fund says a recent violent attack has it rethinking how it will approach its mission as a nonprofit.
As reported last week by Alpha News — as part of its consistent “crime” coverage — a man named Lionel Timms was arrested August 14 and is facing charges of third-degree assault.
That morning, according to charges, the bar manager at Mac’s Industrial Sports Bar in Minneapolis had stepped into a back alley where Timms confronted him in an apparent mugging attempt. Witnesses to the incident said Timms punched the victim, then kicked him repeatedly while he was on the ground. Timms allegedly chased one witness back into their home; another one snapped a picture of the assailant which was later provided to police.
Timms was arrested later that day, and is still in custody, facing charges of third-degree assault with substantial bodily harm.
The bar manager sustained severe injuries in the assault, including to his brain. A GoFundMe account to help pay for his treatment and recovery has so far collected $36,000-plus.
Timms was booked into Hennepin County Jail on July 11, according to jail records, facing identical charges for an alleged attack on a bus patron who’d turned down Timms’s request for money. According to charges cited by Alpha News, Timms punched the man repeatedly, leaving him with a swollen eye and broken nose.
Timms was bailed out on August 3, following an initial court hearing, then failed to appear for a second court date scheduled for August 11.
In a statement released Monday evening, Minnesota Freedom Fund’s interim executive director Greg Lewin says the organization is “deeply saddened and troubled” by Timms’s arrest and the attack, saying “our entire staff, board and network of volunteers hope that the victim makes a quick and complete recovery.”
According to the statement, an attorney for Timms requested the fund pay his $10,000 bail on July 27, which the nonprofit paid “after working to first ensure that Mr. Timms would be provided with housing and other necessary support as Mr. Timms requested.” Those additional services were not provided, per the statement, which blames “delays in the government’s processing of [Timms’s] release.”
The statement continues:
“We can’t control the way that system operates, but we can control how we pursue our mission of creating a more equitable Minnesota and ensuring that defendants aren’t kept behind bars because they can’t afford to pay a court-ordered bail.
In this case, the criminal justice system failed, and we didn’t do enough to mitigate that damage by ensuring that Mr. Timms had the support he needed to safely come back to the community. It’s clear that we need to take steps to strengthen our internal procedures for supporting those we bail out, renew our commitment to listen to the communities directly impacted by our efforts, and look for concrete ways of improving our internal procedures.
We send our best wishes to the victim and his family at this time.”
Bail for Timms was set at $50,000 for the more recent assault, and increased to $40,000 for his initial case. He is next scheduled to appear in court on September 15.