St. Paul police, east side residents to meet over beating

Residents of St Paul's east side meet with representatives from the police department and Ramsey County Attorney's Office Thursday to discuss the beating of a young man earlier this month.

Ray Widstrand tried to walk through what police say was a gang fight at about 11:30 p.m. on August 4th. He was beaten and kicked, and left with near fatal brain swelling.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office has charged Issac Maiden, 19, of St. Paul, with four counts of gang-related assault and robbery in the first degree.

Eric Foster owns the restaurant Ward 6 on the east side. He says the incident should not reinforce old misconceptions of the area as dangerous.

"One of the sad things about the East Side is when anything bad happens on the East Side, the entire area gets sort of the bad reputation. Which is not to minimize at all what happened. It's a terrible, terrible thing. But the East Side is a big place," he said.

At his annual budget address yesterday, St Paul mayor Chris Coleman called for an immediate increase in police presence on the East Side.

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