'Reclaim the Park' rally planned at Powderhorn

5:49 AM, Dec 1, 2010   |    comments
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  • Four teenagers charged in Powderhorn sexual assault cases

MINNEAPOLIS -- The people who live near the 68-acre Powderhorn Park are proud of the area they live in, and they won't be deterred from enjoying this "oasis" in the middle of the city.

"That park is really the heart and soul of the neighborhood," Kari Neathery of the Neighborhood Association said.

A day before a "Reclaim the Park" rally, 4 teens were charged with the Thanksgiving Eve sexual assault of a mother who was skiing with her children. Police say she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint in the park; police say the teens also assaulted two girls in a nearby garage.

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"This has been one of the defining moments of the neighborhood. Just say to everybody this is our park, we love this park and we don't want to live in fear," Neathery said about the vigil, which will be held in the Northeast corner of the park on Wednesday night.

On Saturday night, police say a man exposed himself to a woman doing laundry in her apartment building, just a block east of the park.

"The male made some sexually suggestive comments to her and tried to grab her by the arm, fortunately she was able to flee," Sgt. Bill Palmer of the Minneapolis Police Dept. said.

Palmer said the events are definitely not related, but police have increased their presence in the neighborhood. Community members will meet with police on Thursday.

The vigil will also raise money for 12-year-old Guadalupe Galeno Hernandez, who was shot two blocks away from the park on Nov. 12. Police say the bullet wasn't intended for her, but it severed her spine. Doctors say she will likely be paralyzed for the rest of her life.

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