Her fiancé was found dead in a dumpster. Police claim he hid there and was crushed, but she alleges a coverup
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, I traveled to Minnesota to connect with community members across the Twin Cities who shared how the region has changed.
MAPLEWOOD, MN — Since losing her fiancé in 2009, Toshira Garraway Allen has dedicated her entire life to helping those affected by police violence. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Allen has focused on amplifying the stories of those who can no longer speak for themselves.
“I believe in my heart that it's time for all of the stories of all of the people who have been killed by racially motivated murders to stand up and come forward,” Allen told Yahoo News in a sitdown interview in her home. “That's why I fight.”
As the founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, Allen helps families who have lost loved ones to police violence heal their “mind, body and soul,” according to their website. Personally, Allen is no stranger to death. Her fiancé, Justin Teigen, was found dead in a dumpster on August 19, 2009 after being chased by police following a traffic stop. Allen contends a coverup, while police say there was no foul play involved.
According to Allen, police chased and caught Teigen, beat him up, had canine dogs viciously bite Teigen and then left his body to be crushed in the dumpster.
“When we walked into the mortuary, that's where we saw that it was a clear beating that took place,” Allen said. “Justin had dog bites all over his body. His skull was cracked in half. His wrists were detached from his arms. And you could see where you had the handcuff marks.”
“It was literally a 2009 Emmitt Till,” she added.
But St. Paul Police refute these allegations altogether. Instead, they claim they did everything in their power to “keep the community safe.”
“Unfortunately, the combination of acute alcohol intoxication, a head injury sustained after crashing a vehicle while fleeing police, and asphyxia due to mechanical compression in a recycling truck proved tragic,” St. Paul police spokesperson Steve Linders told Yahoo News in an email. “We wish he hadn’t hid from officers and that we could have located him so that we could have gotten him the help he needed.”
The differences between the police report and the marks on Teigen’s body don’t add up for Allen. She draws particular connection with what happened to George Floyd on video versus what police said in their initial report, which noted that Floyd died from a "medical incident during police interaction". Allen believes the same kind of coverup is at play with her fiancé.
“I've prayed for 11 years for the truth to come out,” she said. “Once they murdered Justin, I got out as a young girl, I was only 23 years old. I was being followed. I was being harassed. I was being stalked by the police because I wanted answers and I was seeking those answers like anybody would do that loves somebody. I did it for my son.”
“When I saw them kill George Floyd in broad daylight … I felt that the truth would one day come out and it finally did -- the truth of what they have been doing to Black men,” she added. “They couldn't cover it up because he did it in broad daylight.”
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