10/12/2015 Newsletter

Contents:

  • O22 Protests at the POST Board
  • Know Your Rights Train the Trainer Class
  • Presentation: The Community CAN Stop Police Brutality
  • Committee for Professional Policing
  • Body Scams

October 22 National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality

October 22, 2015 will be the 19th annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality and we plan to mark it in meaningful ways.  This year, we're taking on a state agency that could end police brutality RIGHT NOW if it chose to take action.

Ever heard of the Minnesota POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Board?  Probably not, but what they are supposed to do is really important—if they actually did their job. They are responsible for licensing police officers around the state and addressing complaints against police officers. This means they could end police brutality across Minnesota by taking real action on the complaints they get and by revoking the licenses of brutal police officers that abuse the rights of community members.  But, what are they doing? NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. Instead of doing something about the complaints they receive, they simply ignore them.

This agency needs a real wake-up call from the community!  Come to their board meeting to speak up for the victims of police brutality and their families.  Then join us that night to protest this agency’s lack of action and educate the community about what they should be doing.

Speak out at the POST Board Quarterly Meeting
Thursday, October 22 at 9:45 a.m.
1600 University Ave at Snelling, Suite 200, St. Paul
 
Protest against the POST Board
Thursday, October 22 at 5:00 p.m.
Corner of University Ave and Snelling, St. Paul
 
Sick of police brutality? Put the heat on the POST Board--hold them accountable for their failure to act on complaints and demand they take away the licenses of brutal cops!


So Much is Happening--Get Involved

After many years of doing this work, the issue of police brutality is finally getting the attention and action commensurate with the seriousness of the problem.  There are tons of ways to get involved.  Here are just a few examples:

Know Your Rights Train the Trainer Class
Saturday, October 17 at 11:00 a.m.
4200 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis
Free and open to the public
Learn about your rights during encounters with police and learn how to share this vital information with others.

The Community CAN Stop Police Brutality
Presentation at Spirit of St. Stephens Church
Sunday, October 18 at 11:00 a.m.
2201 1st Ave S, Minneapolis
Free and open to the public
We will be presenting information on the issue of police brutality and effective ways to take it on.

Committee for Professional Policing continues its efforts to get a measure on the ballot to require Minneapolis police officers to carry their own professional liability insurance.  To learn more and get involved, go to insurethepolice.org.


Body Scams

In the aftermath of uprisings in Ferguson, MO, New York, Cleveland and cities all over the country, public officials have pushed body cams as the solution to the lack of police accountability.  The Obama administration has put up big funds for communities to buy them. The missing piece, however, is how to ensure the cameras are actually turned on and, then, who will control the footage.

This issue came to a head recently in Minnesota when police agencies around the state, led by Maplewood police chief Paul Schnell, applied for a temporary classification to make ALL body cam footage private under the MN Data Practices Act.  This was an end run around the legislature, which would not give the cops what they wanted during the last session. The "temporary" classification would have made this footage private for up to three years--totally defeating the supposed purpose of body cams.

We caught wind of the cops' efforts and wrote a letter strongly objecting.  The commissioner listened, and denied the cop's request. This is an outstanding victory for the community! Now, we just have to make the victory stick in the next legislative session.

To see the cops' application, our letter, and the commissioner's ruling, see our website at www.cuapb.org

A recent article in the Washington Post highlights the issue in detail.  In short, communities are being sold a bill of goods by police departments eager to pad their budgets and provide another revenue stream for Taser International, the main seller of these devices.

After Burlington, Iowa police arrived at a family's home, they shot at the family's dog but ended up shooting the owner, killing her instantly.  Although two police body cams captured the entire incident, police have refused to release the footage. “What point is there of even doing this if they are going to be treated this way? Why even spend the money on these cameras?” said Burlington Mayor Shane McCampbell, who has called on police to release video of the Steele shooting. He noted that police promised greater openness last year when they petitioned the city to buy body cameras. If the videos “are going to be a secret, no one is being held accountable,” McCampbell said. “And that was the point.”

Read the rest of the article here for important statistics on the number of cities with these devices, the kinds of legislation being proposed by police departments (similar to what our cops tried to pull here) and other valuable information.

In light of all of these issues, CUAPB has determined that we cannot support efforts of the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments to purchase these very expensive gadgets.  Our position paper is here and our one-page flyer on body cams is here.


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