2/17/2004 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Racial Profiling is Wrong! Support the Perkins Family!
  • A Novel Approach to Police Brutality--Criminalize People Who Report It
  • Swearing In Ceremony for McManus
  • Rebecca Anschutz Court Watch
  • Rally Against Racial Profiling in Chaska
  • Edwin Perkins Court Watch
  • Open Letter to CRA--Reopen Dumped Cases
  • More Harassment of Campus Activists
  • Killer Cop Promoted, Fellow Officers Cheer

RACIAL PROFILING IS WRONG! SUPPORT THE PERKINS FAMILY!
When Edwin Perkins retired from the Chicago fire department after an injury ended his 26-year career, he and his wife decided to sell their home and move to Chaska, MN to be closer to their grand kids. This hard-working African American family had no idea what was in store for them in the nearly all-white suburb of Minneapolis.

Since moving to Chaska, Edwin, his wife and grown children have all experienced frequent police stops and other harassment. His son-in-law, Hardy, is stopped several times a week--so often that he now knows the names of almost every Chaska cop.

On November 28, 2003, Edwin received a call that police had pulled his daughter over for a traffic stop right in front of her sister's house and that she needed assistance. Edwin rushed over. When he arrived, he was ordered out of his car by an armed Chaska police officer. When Edwin moved to close the car door to prevent the family dog from jumping out of the car, police grabbed him, beat and tasered him repeatedly. He spent three nights in jail and, despite being injured, was denied medical treatment. He is charged with obstructing legal process and 4th degree assault against a police officer, the favorite charges used by cops to cover their own brutality.

Edwin goes to trial on February 25th and he and his family need our support. This ain't the '50s!--we need to let the Chaska police know that the days of "whites only" water fountains and Jim Crow laws are over. Folks ought to be able to live where they want to, without racist harassment and brutalization by the local cops.

Rally Against Racial Profiling
Tuesday, February 24
5:00 p.m.
Carver County Courthouse
604 East 4th Street, Chaska
Meet at the CUAPB office at 2104 Stevens Avenue in Minneapolis at 3:45 p.m. to carpool to Chaska.

Court Support for Edwin Perkins
Wednesday, February 25
8:30 a.m.
Carver County Courthouse
604 East 4th Street, Chaska
Meet at the CUAPB office at 2104 Stevens Avenue in Minneapolis at 7:15 a.m. to carpool to Chaska.


A NOVEL APPROACH TO POLICE BRUTALITY--CRIMINALIZE PEOPLE WHO REPORT IT
Apparently some members of the Minnesota legislature think "false" reporting of police brutality is a big problem around here. So much of a problem that they have introduced legislation in both the house and senate to criminalize reporting of police brutality that is not later proven to be true.

House bills HF1661 and HF1909 and senate bill SF1727 would make it a misdemeanor to "falsely report police misconduct" that is not criminal in nature and would make it a gross misdemeanor if the police misconduct was criminal in nature. Penalties include the possibility of jail time and would also require that the person who reported the police misconduct pay "restitution of expenses incurred in the investigation of the false allegation."

Consider this: the Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority has taken in about 1700 complaints in their 12-year history (but remember that they were shut down for about 18 months, until recently). They have only upheld about 55 complaints during that time. In other words, about 3% of the complaints they received were upheld. The rate for upholding Internal Affairs complaints made by community members is even lower. Does that mean that 97% of the people who reported police misconduct to the CRA were liars? If this law had been in effect over the past 12 years, would these people have been prosecuted and made to pay the cost of the shoddy investigations that led to their complaints not being sustained?

Most other police departments in Minnesota don't even have a CRA--you are forced to file complaints against the police with the police themselves. Want to venture a guess as to how many of those complaints get upheld?

As court watchers, we find that lots of cases involve police reports that are shot full of lies. In the Rickey Jones case, for example, police reports directly conflict with the video tape. Police lying in court is so common it now has a name: testilying. Yet no legislators are rushing out to pass laws criminalizing police officers who lie on their reports. Why is that?

At a time when police brutality incidents are on the rise and political dissent is being harshly targeted, these bills will have a severe chilling effect on reporting police misconduct if we allow them to become law. Their very existence implies that police brutality doesn't exist or that people who experience it are exaggerating or lying. We need to pull out all the stops to block these dangerous bills from passing. We're hosting a meeting to bring the community together on a strategy to defeat these bills:

Community Organizing Meeting to Block Passage of "False" Reporting Bills
Thursday, February 26
6:00 p.m.
CUAPB Office
2104 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis

Please be there and bring representatives of any and every organization that is interested in this issue. We hope to come out of this meeting with a coalition and an action plan in place to put the kybosh on these ridiculous and dangerous bills.


UPCOMING EVENTS AND COURT WATCH OPPORTUNITIES

2/17/04 (TODAY!)
12:00 noon
Minneapolis City Hall
Swearing in ceremony for new police chief William McManus

2/18/04
8:30 a.m.
Hennepin County Court
4139 Regent Ave N, Robbinsdale
Court support for Rebecca J. Anschutz: Rebecca is a battered woman who asked Brooklyn Park police to accompany her to her former home so that she could recover some of her son's belongings. An Officer Berth arrived and told Rebecca she would have no more than 5 minutes to pack her son's things. When she wasn't finished in 5 minutes, Officer Berth left the house and Rebecca's former boyfriend attacked her. She fled the home and called police from a few blocks away. Officer Berth met her at the intersection and arrested HER, saying that her former boyfriend claimed she had assaulted him--despite the fact that Rebecca had obvious injuries. Rebecca is charged with assault and needs court support.

2/24/04
5:00 p.m.
Carver County Courthouse
604 East 4th Street, Chaska
Rally Against Racial Profiling: Rally against the racial profiling and harassment of the Perkins family, one of only a few Black families living in Chaska, MN. Meet at the CUAPB office at 2104 Stevens Avenue in Minneapolis at 3:45 p.m. to carpool to Chaska.

2/25/04
8:30 a.m.
Carver County Courthouse
604 East 4th Street, Chaska
Court support for Edwin Perkins: See story above for details. Meet at the CUAPB office at 2104 Stevens Avenue in Minneapolis at 7:15 a.m. to carpool to Chaska.

2/26/04
6:00 p.m.
CUAPB Office
2104 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis
Community Organizing Meeting to Block Passage of "False" Reporting Bills: See story above for details.


OPEN LETTER TO CRA--REOPEN DUMPED CASES!

Communities United Against Police Brutality sent the following letter to the Civilian Review Authority. No word yet on their response. However, if you've had your case dumped by the CRA, we'd love to be able to send a similar letter to them on your behalf. Dumped complaints are one of the reasons for the CRA's poor record. If you'd like our help, reply to this email or contact our hotline at 612-874-STOP.
****************************************************
Ms. Barbara Damchik-Dykes, Director
Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority
400 South Fourth Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415

Dear Ms. Damchik-Dykes:

Communities United Against Police Brutality is an advocacy and human rights organization. We are writing at the behest of Ms. X.

Ms. X was involved in an incident with Minneapolis police officer Lucas Peterson on April 8, 2002. She came in person to the Civilian Review Authority offices on or about April 29, 2002 to file a complaint regarding this incident. She met with investigator Michael Johnson, who took a statement. Mr. Johnson called approximately two weeks later and Ms. X went to the CRA office and was interviewed on audiotape. Mr. Johnson informed her that the interview would be transcribed within three weeks and he would come to her home or mail the statement to her for her signature. He advised her that if she did not hear from him within three weeks, she should call him.

After approximately three weeks had passed, Ms. X called the Civilian Review Authority and spoke with you. You told her that Mr. Johnson no longer worked there and that her complaint had been dismissed because they had not heard from her. However, no one had made any attempt to reach Ms. X. It is interesting to note that Mr. Johnson was merely transferred to the Civil Rights Department and he continues in the employ of the City of Minneapolis.

Ms. X came to the Civilian Review Authority offices within two to three weeks and met with you in person. At that time, you informed her that you could not locate the recorded statement taken by Mr. Johnson or any other material related to her case. In light of this, Ms. X told you she would like to refile her complaint. You told her that she could not, as the statute of limitations had passed for her complaint.

It is appalling that an individual who has made an honest and substantial effort to file a complaint against police misconduct would have her complaint summarily dismissed due to staff departure and/or lack of follow through. To deny an individual their rights on this basis is unacceptable. Further, since Civilian Review Authority hearings are not legal proceedings, imposition of a strict statute of limitations is unwarranted and unfair.

We are writing to insist that you either reopen Ms. X's complaint or accept a new complaint from her in this matter. Further, we implore you to examine all dismissed complaints that occurred during the transition of the Civilian Review Authority to the control of the Civil Rights Department and to reopen all complaints that were dismissed due to staff departure and/or lack of staff follow through. It should be noted that in response to a Minnesota Data Practices Act request, we have received a list of all complaints to the Civilian Review Authority since its inception. Ms. X's complaint appears nowhere on that list.

Further, we request that you prevent such incidents in the future by putting into place a system for logging all complaints as they are received and providing each complainant with a written receipt that includes the complaint number and the name of the staff member taking the complaint.

Trust in the Civilian Review Authority by the community is damaged when it appears that the Authority has engaged in "complaint dumping." Restore that trust by reopening cases that were improperly dismissed and by ensuring that all complaints are accounted for.

We await your response regarding this serious matter.

Sincerely,
Bryce Williams, President
Communities United Against Police Brutality


MORE HARASSMENT OF CAMPUS ACTIVISTS
Army Agent Questions Law Students
By A.J. Bauer
Daily Texan - University
Issue: 02/13/04

The organizer of an Islamic law conference at UT Law School is questioning whether ethnic discrimination brought a Special Agent for Army Intelligence to campus Monday.

Special Agent Jason Treesh confronted students at the law school, demanding a list of people who attended a conference about women and Islamic law. The conference, Islam and the Law: The Question of Sexism, included speakers from around the nation and focused on the rights of women under Islamic law.

Treesh would not comment about why he was at the law school, but his supervisor, Commander Demetria Marria, said Treesh was following procedure.

Army Intelligence was investigating allegations of two Army personnel who attended the conference, Marria said.

She said the two reported being approached by three Middle Eastern men who asked questions that were "suspicious in nature."

"They felt uncomfortable with foreign students or foreign members at the conference," Marria said. "Nothing is ever obvious. It's just that one question that doesn't sit right, so they report it, and we figure it out."

Law student Liz Stephenson said she was intimidated when Treesh began questioning her and others in the office of the Texas Journal of Women and the Law.

"The way he was approaching the whole thing was really forceful," Stephenson said. "He gave us just enough information to get us to keep talking with him."

Jessica Biddle, another law student who was present, said she felt unnerved by Treesh's methods of interrogation.

"I felt like I was on 'Law and Order,'" Biddle said. "He and another woman showed their badges, but we really didn't participate in the conference, so we didn't know what he was talking about. He said he wanted a roster, because he said they were investigating some attendees."

Treesh tried unsuccessfully to reach the conference organizer, law student Sahar Aziz, who said since it was an open conference, she had no roster of attendees.

"There was a lunch list, because we had limited seats, but that's it," Aziz said. "I don't know what I would do with all of those people's names and contacts."

Aziz said she was disappointed that the conference, which she considered apolitical, raised such suspicion. She also said she was skeptical of the allegations.

"It was very boring as far as [controversy] is concerned," Aziz said. "I question whether those suspicions are more affiliated with ethnicity than anything else."


JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT'S BAD HERE...
Killer cop promoted, fellow officers cheer
The Michigan Citizen
Diane Bukowski
12.FEB.04

DETROIT If there was any doubt regarding the Detroit Police Department's stance on its most notorious killer cop, Eugene Brown, it was laid to rest as he was formally promoted to sergeant Feb. 6.

Brown was greeted by loud applause as he entered the Riverfront Ballroom in Cobo Hall, to join hundreds of police officers and their family members at an installation ceremony for newly-promoted sergeants and lieutenants. Later, applause and cheers broke out again, as he shook hands with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings onstage.

"It feels good," he said, with a satisfied grin, as he rushed out into the hall afterwards, trying to avoid a barrage of cameras and reporters' questions.

His demeanor called to mind an earlier remark made to his cousin, Damien Mattox, who was interviewed last year during Brown's civil trial in the killing of Lamar Grable.

"Where else can you get a job where you can kill people and get away with it?" Mattox said Brown told him. David Robinson, attorney for the Grable family, had sought to have Mattox testify about those remarks at the trial, but was prevented from doing so by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Isidore Torres.

Brown has killed three Detroiters during his time on the force since 1994, been involved in a total of nine shots-fired incidents, and is the subject of dozens of citizen complaints of brutality. He has so far cost the city of Detroit at least $7.5 million, including a jury verdict of $4 million last August in the 1996 killing of Lamar Grable, and a settlement of $3.5 million in September for the 1999 killing of Darren Miller.

Arnetta Grable, mother of Lamar Grable and leader of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, was hustled away from the ceremony by police officers as she sought to enter to witness the event, which was open to the public.

"The promotion was a slap in the face to all of Brown's victims and their family members," she said later. "It was frightening to me that Brown received applause. Any police department that gives a standing ovation to a three-time killer like Brown should be a cause of concern for all community members. As long as we continue current police policies on promotions, we will never be a world-class city."

A Michigan appeals court panel ordered Brown's promotion last November, overturning a decision by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Daphne Means Curtis, who had upheld the refusal of Detroit's Board of Police Commissioners to promote him.

The Detroit Police Officers Association (DPOA) filed suit on Brown's behalf against the Board. Howard Hughey, the mayor's spokesperson, said the city did not plan to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

As the ceremony took place, Herman Vallery, the father of Lamar Grable, and other coalition protesters carried signs outside reading, "Woe unto Detroit, killer cop is being promoted," and chanted, "Eugene Brown must come down."

Grable and Vallery have yet to see a penny of the $4 million verdict rendered in their son's case. Judge Torres heard motions to set aside and/or reduce the verdict in September, filed by Brown's city-paid attorney Wilson A. Copeland, and said at the time he would render a decision later.

To date, Torres has not acted, and no court hearing is currently scheduled in the case. Torres did not respond to a call asking when he planned to render his decision.


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

  • published this page in 2004 Newsletters 2016-09-18 15:03:34 -0500

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