1/27/2004 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Minnesotans Against the Death Penalty Event
  • Minneapolis City Council Members on the McManus Confirmation
  • McManus Remark Criticized By Police Union President
  • More than 80 Apply for 15 Slots on St. Paul Police Selection Panel
  • Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional
  • Too Smart to Be a Cop?

URGENT NEWS: MNADP EVENT TODAY TO OPPOSE PAWLENTY DEATH PENALTY PLANS

Minnesotans Against the Death Penalty, a coalition in which CUAPB is a member, issued this urgent action announcement. We oppose the racist death penalty and encourage you to support this action:

We have just learned that Governor Tim Pawlenty will be holding a press conference at his office today, January 27, 2004 at 3:00 p.m. to announce his bill for reinstatement of the death penalty.

Minnesotans Against the Death Penalty will be holding a protest and counter press conference on January 27, 2004 at 2:45 p.m. We will meet in the State Capitol Rotunda. Please let all your friends and colleagues know!


MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ON THE MCMANUS CONFIRMATION
As folks know by now, William McManus was confirmed on January 16th by the Minneapolis city council to become the next chief of police. The vote, however, wasn't exactly unanimous.

Those who voted against the confirmation, Robert Lilligren, Dan Niziolek, Gary Schiff, Sandra Colvin Roy and Lisa Goodman, feigned concern about "affirmative action" in standing by their internal candidates. Council member Natalie Johnson Lee called them out on this new-found concern, which she pointed out was not a part of the other appointments the council has made. She noted that of all the important charter-mandated appointments they have made, only one was a woman and none were people of color. Now, suddenly, when the community overwhelmingly was backing McManus, these council members were gung-ho on affirmative action.

Two of the council members gave CUAPB back-handed compliments after we presented 1000 signatures in support of the confirmation of William McManus to the city council. These signatures were collected through on-line and paper petitions in just a few days. Robert Lilligren noted our petitions but stated he would not be swayed by them. Sandra Colvin Roy cried crocodile tears about how "no one was collecting petitions for the internal candidates"--to which we say A) don't get miffed because we out-organized you and B) please, please stick with your day job and stop trying to win an Emmy!

Lisa "the shredder" Goodman was much less sanguine about our petition efforts. As we were handing out copies of the signatures to each council member, she told one of our board members, "you can have this back" to which he replied, "this is for you." She then replied, "fine, this is ready for the shredder." Each council member was presented with a stack of petition signatures with their ward's signatures highlighted. There were a good number of signers in Lisa Goodman's ward 7. Decide for yourselves what she thinks about your opinions.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who signed our petitions and helped spread the word. Once again, you answered the call and your efforts made the difference!

Chief McManus will officially assume his position in mid-February. Although we helped him get into office, that doesn't mean we will back away from our watchdog role in the community. We've told Chief McManus that we want to assist him in reducing police brutality, increasing professionalism among police officers and improving police service to the community. Chief McManus has agreed to a meeting with us and after he's had some time to settle in, we plan to hold him to that promise.


THIS BEARS WATCHING

MCMANUS REMARK CRITICIZED BY POLICE UNION PRESIDENT
Copyright 2004 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.
Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
January 21, 2004

DAYTON - The president of Dayton's police union criticized outgoing Chief William P. McManus on Tuesday for comments he made to a Minneapolis newspaper about a fatal police shooting. "He traumatizes our officers more and opens up our city for tremendous liability," Lt. Randy Beane said.

McManus countered that he did not mean to imply that Officers Eric Sheldon and Gordon Cairns had done anything wrong, but wished they had more tools to deal with a mentally ill person.

Sheldon and Cairns shot Kenneth Lee Fields on Thursday, after Fields, 34, called police and told them he had killed his family at 178 W. Fairview Ave. Fields ran at them with a butcher knife, police said. When a Star Tribune reporter asked McManus about Fields' death, he said "Regrettably these two officers hadn't received crisis-intervention training. They were unable to use skills they might have learned."

Beane said the officers had no choice but to use deadly force. When they arrived, they saw Fields had a knife tucked under his arm. He then pulled it out and started walking toward them, and they ordered him to drop the knife, Beane said.

"They even said, 'We can work this out," Beane said. The officers fired when Fields was "well within the 21-foot safety zone we are taught."

The training, taught by mental health professionals, has been offered since October, with another round of training slated for March.

Beane said the officers' sergeant told him that one of the two officers involved in Fields' shooting put in for the training but was turned down because he didn't have enough time on the force.

McManus said he didn't know about that, and said eventually all officers will take the 40-hour course.

"No, I don't think they did anything wrong," McManus said. "It's better to have the training. Had they had it, they might have had other options."

Fields had attempted suicide at least once, according to police reports.

"After the shooting, the man's mother told us that's exactly what he wanted the officers to do," McManus told the Star Tribune.

Beane said deadly force is unavoidable in some cases.


MEANWHILE, IN ST. PAUL

More than 80 apply for police-selection panel
But only 15 slots available
BY ROBERT INGRASSIA
Pioneer Press
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/7731284.htm
Posted on Sat, Jan. 17, 2004

It's not always easy finding civic-minded volunteers willing to serve long hours on various boards, commissions and committees.

But give the committee some real power--like choosing finalists for St. Paul police chief--and watch the hands shoot up.

More than 80 people met Friday's deadline for seeking a spot on a panel that will screen applicants to replace retiring Chief William Finney. With the committee limited to 15 slots, many of the hopefuls are going to be disappointed when the City Council names panelists in a few weeks.

Current and retired police officers, lawyers, community activists and social workers are among the multitude of professions represented in the pool of applications for the screening committee.

Applicants include B. Todd Jones, the former U.S. attorney for the Minnesota district, state DFL Rep. John Lesch and attorney Song Lo Fawcett, a member of the Metropolitan Council.

The council is scheduled to begin perusing committee applications Wednesday. Selections will be finalized by early February.

The city is tentatively scheduled to accept applications for chief from early February to mid-March. Also in March, the screening committee will conduct a series of public forums to gather input from residents.

The committee, which will meet in private, is set to interview chief applicants in April. Late that month, the panel is scheduled to forward a list of five finalists to Mayor Randy Kelly.

Under the city charter, Kelly must pick a nominee from that list and submit the name to the council for approval. If the council rejects the nominee, Kelly must choose someone else from the pool of finalists.

City officials are hoping a new chief will be named in mid-May, in time to begin serving before Finney leaves in July.


VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE'S VICTORY--NOW GET RID OF THE REST OF IT!

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES PART OF PATRIOT ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL
By Linda Deutsch
ASSOCIATED PRESS
11:49 a.m. January 26, 2004
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/terror/20040126-1149-patriotact.html

LOS ANGELES– A federal judge has declared unconstitutional a portion of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations.

The ruling marks the first court decision to declare a part of the post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism statute unconstitutional, said David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who argued the case on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project.

In a ruling handed down late Friday and made available Monday, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said the ban on providing "expert advice or assistance" is impermissibly vague, in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments.

John Tyler, the Justice Department attorney who argued the case, had no comment and referred calls to the department press office in Washington. A message left there was not immediately returned.

The case before the court involved five groups and two U.S. citizens seeking to provide support for lawful, nonviolent activities on behalf of Kurdish refugees in Turkey.

The Humanitarian Law Project, which brought the lawsuit, said the plaintiffs were threatened with 15 years in prison if they advised groups on seeking a peaceful resolution of the Kurds' campaign for self-determination in Turkey.

The judge's ruling said the law, as written, does not differentiate between impermissible advice on violence and encouraging the use of peaceful, nonviolent means to achieve goals.

"The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature," the judge said.

Cole declared the ruling "a victory for everyone who believes the war on terrorism ought to be fought consistent with constitutional principles."


TOO SMART TO BE A COP?
Robert Jordan, an applicant to the New Haven, CT police force sued the department in 1997 after he was refused entry on grounds that his IQ test score was "too high." A spokesperson for the police department was quoted as saying people with too high of an IQ "tire of police work and leave not long after undergoing costly academy training."


"I should like to be able to love my country and to love justice." -- Albert Camus


Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


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