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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Police commend threesome for

Derek “Duck” Washington had to save a life.
Though he planned to see a playwright speak at the Ted Mann Concert Hall April 14, his schedule abruptly changed on his walk to the West Bank.
Washington joined two other people and stopped a 21-year-old University student from jumping off the 10th Avenue Bridge.
Washington, a junior in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, Carlson School of Management student Chad Michael Slipka, 22, and Dean Marje Gruye, 64, received the Minneapolis Police Chief’s Certificate of Appreciation this week for their efforts.
The incident began when the female student leaned over the guard-rail, preparing to jump into the Mississippi River. Gruye walked by and grabbed onto her, preventing her from jumping, police said.
Just then, Washington also happened to walk across the bridge.
“I was about midway over the bridge and the older woman (Gruye) called out for help,” Washington said. “I ran over and grabbed her. She seemed really set on jumping.”
Gruye and Washington struggled to keep the woman from jumping for 10 minutes until Slipka rode by on his way home from class.
“I was thinking about how I was late and I saw the three of them and the older woman starts waving,” Slipka said. “She said, ‘Call 911; she’s going to jump.'”
Slipka rode down to the Amoco service station on the corner of University Avenue and 10th Avenue and told an employee to call police.
“I just wanted to get home,” Slipka said. “I asked myself, ‘Do I go home or do I go back?'”
He said he really couldn’t go home not knowing the outcome, so he biked back to the middle of the bridge to join the struggle.
Washington said he got the woman talking while he clung to her. Washington said he learned a little about her life, and why she wanted to jump.
“I told her ‘I can’t let you go until you can justify your actions,'” Washington said. “She said, ‘Well, Duck, I hate my life, my mother hates me, my brother is dying and my dad left.'”
Slipka said, when he returned, the woman still hung onto the railing and repeatedly tried to get herself over and into the river.
“I basically almost tackled her away from the rail,” Slipka said. He added that she stayed on the ground until police arrived, but then sat up and bolted to the rail once again.
A police officer handcuffed himself to the woman and eventually led her to a squad car.
Washington said he was sure the woman really wanted to jump. Most of his muscles were sore the next day from keeping her pinned to the rail.
Minneapolis Police Sgt. Dan Roen said the three people took great measures to save the woman’s life.
“This is an instance where these people did something extraordinary, and there was a certain amount of danger,” he said. To protect the woman’s privacy, Roen and others wouldn’t talk about her current status.
Both Slipka and Washington said they felt good about receiving the award.
“It’s good, I guess,” Slipka said. “I felt like I did what I could.”
“It wasn’t about being a hero,” Washington said. “I was just there.”
During the episode, Washington lost the face of his watch, a Disney promotional watch; the face popped out on a spring.
“I’ve still got the casing at home and it’s like I have the person’s soul sitting on my desk,” Washington said. “Exchanging it for someone’s life is more than acceptable.”

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