10/21/2004 Newsletter

Contents:

  • O22 Events
  • Affidavit Training for Non-Lawyers
  • St. Paul CRA
  • Minneapolis CRA Fights Back

O22 NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY--JOIN US FOR THESE EVENTS:

RALLY AND MARCH ON NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
Friday, October 22
Meet at the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza
5th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues
5:00 p.m. Rally
6:00 p.m. "Tour of Injustice" and March through Downtown
We'll move through downtown Minneapolis to condemn police brutality, misconduct and abuse of authority.  Along the way, we'll take a whirlwind tour of sites that contribute to giving Minnesota the highest rate of overprosecution and overconviction of people of color in the entire US.

Bring signs, spirit and bucket drums, coffee can drums or other percussion instruments if you are so inclined (see below), along with your friends and family.

Food Not Bombs will be feeding folks during the rally (thanks FNB!) so all will be warm and fed.  Please join us to show that when it comes to police brutality, misconduct and abuse of authority, the community will come together and say NEVER AGAIN!

WALKING WITH THE DEVIL: The Police Code of Silence
Lecture and Readings by Author Michael W. Quinn
Thursday, October 28
7:00 p.m.
Walker Community Church
3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis
Mike Quinn was an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for 23 years.  During that time, he worked in some of the toughest, highest profile units, serving over 300 high-risk warrants without a critical incident, conducting successful raids on armed and dangerous suspects.  He was also involved in investigating allegations of criminal and departmental violations by police officers.  He oversaw the development of a Federally-sponsored Police Corps Academy.  From his experiences, he saw the need for a book to teach new recruits about real-life ethical dilemmas, to challenge myths about police culture and to promote the true meaning of being a peace officer.  Walking with the Devil: The Police Code of Silence is a gem that has relevance to everyone who cares about the quality of policing and about the quality of life in our communities.

With a passion for ethical policing and a commitment to serving the community, Mike Quinn has a powerful message to share with the people of Minneapolis, and everywhere.

A reception will be held at the end of the lecture and Mr. Quinn will be available to sign copies of his book.

AFFIDAVIT TRAINING FOR NON-LAWYERS
Wednesday, October 27
6:30 p.m.
Walker Community Church
3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis
Do you love watching law shows on TV?  Do you like listening to people tell their important stories?  Would you like to learn how to help the community with a class-action lawsuit designed to force the Minneapolis Police Department to make real changes?  If so, this training is for you.

We'll teach non-lawyers how to go into the community to collect affidavits (a fancy legal word for stories) in preparation for our multi-class, class action federal lawsuit--what to look for and how to document people's experiences.  You'll learn valuable skills that can be applied in other situations.
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For more information on any of these events or if you'd like to schedule a Know Your Rights training or other speaking event with us, please drop an email to mgresist@minn.net or call our hotline at 612-874-7867.


CALLING ALL DRUMMERS
CUAPB is looking for folks to drum during tomorrow's O22 protest against police brutality.  All you need is a bucket drum, coffee can drum, or other percussion instrument and a good sense of rhythm.  Let's show downtown Minneapolis the sound of resistance!  Please arrive a bit before 5:00 p.m. so we can connect folks up.


ST PAUL TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR CIVILIAN REVIEW COMMISSION
The City of St. Paul is taking applications for community members to serve on their Civilian Review Commission.  This commission reviews Internal Affairs investigations and while it is relatively powerless, it is always good to have community members with good understandings in the right places.  The application deadline is November 11th.  To apply, go to http://www.ci.stpaul.mn.us/mayor/committeeinfo/#policeciv (scroll up to the top of the page for a link to the application.


MINNEAPOLIS CRA FIGHTS BACK
The letter below is in response to the article How's He Doing? in last week's City Pages.  The article was basically a love letter to Chief McManus and barely mentioned his back room maneuvers to dismantle or disempower the CRA.  It also failed to mention the backlog of sustained complaints that McManus is holding on his desk without issuing discipline decisions.  Rumor has it that McManus has decided not to discipline any incidents that happened before he became chief.  If this rumor is true, are they also going to not prosecute any crimes that happened before he became chief?  Not disciplining an incident just because it happened before his watch sends the wrong message and we would urge him not to go down that path.  Same thing with dismantling the CRA just because they are doing what they are supposed to for the community.  McManus ought not go there.

Minimizing Civilian Review
From the discussion: How's He Doing?
http://citypages.com/letters/

I can certainly appreciate the City Pages' welcoming of Minneapolis Police Chief McManus ("How's He Doing?" 10/13). He hasn't displayed any behavior that would indicate that he is not as eager about police accountability as he says he is. However, he might be better served to welcome some outside oversight of his department as opposed to insisting that the police have the ability to police themselves.

When one feels victimized by those who are supposed to be protecting them, going to the organization that employs that very officer can be a very challenging prospect. Irrespective of the seriousness of the charge, perception is reality for the victims in cases of police misconduct. Not that all allegations are founded, but the complainants by and large feel violated and, in many cases, are traumatized.

An independent board of citizens from the community charged with adjudicating allegations of police misconduct is, by far, the preferred method for handling citizen complaints. The fact that the MPD and the citizens of Minneapolis's relationship has been strained, to say the least, speaks to the need for an independent board that is not swayed by the shifting political winds nor beholden to elected or appointed officials.

The citizens of Minneapolis have shown this preference by their actions: The CRA has received a steady stream of complaints over the past nine months of my board tenure. Meanwhile, the Internal Affairs unit has received only a fraction of the total number of citizen complaints. Yet the city chooses to fully staff the Internal Affairs unit with investigators and leave the CRA a total of four (that's right, four) staff people, one of whom is under contract as opposed to being a city employee.

This same group is charged with eliminating backlogged cases (a correction: the CRA didn't stop taking complaints during their period of limbo; the complaints were filed, but did not progress through the complaint process) while facing unfounded scrutiny from the MPD administration (likely under marching orders from the chief). The board has also had to cope with budget cuts within the Department of Civil Rights (CRA is assigned to the Dept. of Civil Rights for administrative purposes), and attempts to do an end-around the Minneapolis ordinance that established the redesigned CRA by appealing directly to council members for changes to CRA.

No worker likes to have some individual who doesn't know the specifics of their job serve in an "oversight" capacity. However, the issue of how a community is policed involves not a bottom-line profit, as in the case of a private business, but a partnership between the protectors and those they are protecting. Civilian oversight of police can serve to deliver the community's expectations to the police and the police's expectations to the citizens they serve.

Robert Velez, board member, Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority
Minneapolis


Communities United Against Police Brutality
3104 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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