7/24/2005 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Sad News: Seth Garwood
  • Patrick Fearing Court Watch
  • Victory in Edwin Perkins Case
  • Victory in Philander Jenkins Case
  • Upcoming Events
  • CRA Posts Complaint Stats on Website
  • Spokesman Recorder: Upswing in Police Officer Violations
  • Scientists Question Safety of Star Wars Ray Gun Planned For Use In Iraq

SAD NEWS: GOODBYE, DEAR FRIEND
Social justice movements in the Twin Cities lost a dear friend this week with the sudden death by suicide of Seth Garwood, pastor of Walker Community Church.

Walker Church has a very long history of providing support to progressive movements.  It was once the home of KFAI radio station and the church sent several people to the south in the 1960s to support the civil rights movement.  Under Seth's leadership, this commitment to social justice was renewed.  Not only has Walker church made its space available to many progressive groups for activities and organizing, but Seth and his congregation supported our movements and welcomed them as part of the Walker community.  Seth himself was an active member of the Green Party and he supported a number of movements and attended antiwar protests and other important events.  We have pictures and memories of him attending and supporting our events, including the national conference we hosted at Walker in 2002.  He really has been a dear friend to our movements.

Our hearts go out to Seth's wife Becky, his son Robin and his daughter Abby, as well as the many members of Walker Church, who are devastated by this loss.  Please keep them in your thoughts.  If you wish to provide a more tangible expression of your appreciation for all that Seth has done for the community, please consider making a donation to Walker Church in his name.  The address is 3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407.  A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, July 26 at 11:00 a.m. at Walker Church.


CASE UPDATES

Patrick Fearing: Patrick's daughter set off a small firecracker in the backyard.  Six St. Paul squads rolled up.  Patrick was in the yard at the time and they approached him with guns drawn and demanded to be let in the yard.  He asked them for a warrant and one of the cops grabbed him by the neck and dragged him over the fence, tearing his shirt.  The cops came through the gate and  knocked him down and then threw him off the steps, breaking two ribs and banging his head.  He was maced, arrested and charged with obstructing legal process and other phony charges.  The cops involved were Baine and Stokes.  Patrick beat these false charges in court.  Now he is suing the cops in Federal court and his hearing starts tomorrow, July 25th at 9:00 a.m. in the Federal Courthouse.

Edwin Perkins:
  You may recall that Edwin is a retired Chicago firefighter who moved to Chaska to be closer to his children and grandchildren.  Suffering from heart disease, he looked forward to a peaceful and happy retirement.  However, this was not to be.  As African Americans, he and his family have experienced a great deal of racial profiling at the hands of the Chaska police.  In an incident about two years ago, Edwin was pulled from his car, battered, and had his heart medication taken away.  He was then slapped with several bogus charges.  After numerous trips to the Carver country court, most all of the charges against Edwin were finally dropped.  VICTORY IS SWE-E-ET!

Philander Jenkins:  As folks know, Philander Jenkins was beaten severely by MPD cop Jeffrey Jindra and his jaw was severely shattered.  Since then, the county prosecutor's office has tried mightily to get some kind of charges to stick on Philander, to dirty him up and wreck the possibility of a civil suit.  The first two cases against him went down in flames.  The third case was a cafe robbery.  Philander could prove he was elsewhere and there wasn't any evidence against him.  He was declared NOT GUILTY but the county refused to get over it.  They appealed the verdict to the state supreme court.  We just learned that the state supreme court ruled AGAINST THE COUNTRY so this time the not guilty verdict will stick.  Right now, Philander faces only minor charges in another laughable case and then has to deal with the so-called false reporting charges from when he was beaten and sodomized in the jail.  These, too, should be dispatched quickly and Philander should be a free man soon.  It's just sickening that he has spent two years in jail so the cops could try to cover their tails.  In the meantime, his attorney filed a civil suit against the city.  Maybe McManus will get a clue and discipline the brutal cop who beat Philander in the first place--but we doubt it.


CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS

Meal and a Movie: Every Mother's Son
Saturday, August 13th
6:30 p.m.
MayDay Books, 301 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
$5 - $10 donation at the door
Join us for the Twin Cities' premier showing of the film Every Mother's Son.  In the late 1990s, three victims of police brutality made headlines around the country: Amadou Diallo, the young West African man whose killing sparked intense public protest; Anthony Baez, killed in an illegal choke-hold; and Gary (Gidone) Busch, a Hasidic Jew shot and killed outside his Brooklyn home. "Every Mother's Son" tells of the victims' three mothers who came together to demand justice and accountability and who sparked a national movement.

As you view this powerful film, we will be serving a delicious "picnic style" dinner of cool summer delights.  Lydia Howell, well-known cook to the movement, will provide the meal and host this event, which is a fundraiser for CUAPB.

CUAPB Garage Sale
Saturday, August 27th
9:00 a.m. to dusk
Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
Start putting aside all those items that are taking up space and that you keep meaning to get rid of.  We'll take clothes, furniture, toys, computer equipment and electronics (please make sure they work), tools, books, records, CDs--just about anything.  Call our hotline at 612-874-7867 to arrange a pick up or just bring your items on the day of the event.  Be sure to stop by that day for some wonderful bargains and help our worthwhile cause.

Survivor/Family Picnic and Social Event
Sunday, September 11th
4:00 p.m.
Powderhorn Park, 3400 15th Ave S, Minneapolis
We're hosting one of our semiannual social events for people affected by police brutality.  This is a wonderful opportunity for folks to get together in a relaxed, safe environment to enjoy some food and fun, swap stories, and build relationships that will lead to people supporting each other in their quest for justice.  More details will follow soon but we always need lots of volunteers to help with food preparation, provide child care, help with transportation, decorate or take on other tasks needed to make this event a success.  If you'd like to help, please call our hotline at 612-874-7867.


CRA POSTS COMPLAINT STATS ON WEBSITE
In a very good move that will help to keep the community informed, the Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority has started publishing information about their complaints, sustain rates and other statistics on their website.  We welcome this new openness and encourage you to take a look.  http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cra/CRAReport_June2005.pdf

The stats on complaints by precinct, by ward, and by race are especially interesting.  Bear in mind that the current panel was only convened in December 2003 so stats for that year are a little screwy.

One other stat we'd like to direct your attention to is the section on discipline issued in sustained cases.  Chief McManus is responsible for issuing discipline in CRA cases and, so far, he has pretty well flat refused to do so.  This is consistent with his stated belief that the community has no role in overseeing the cops.  He claims the problem can be dealt with by Internal Affairs but their record is abysmal. In ten years, Internal Affairs only sustained TWO complaints by community members.  Their most recent ruling in the Al Flowers case is instructive.  IAD found that Lt. Kevin Stoll had, in fact, acted improperly when he offered a steak dinner to any officer who would "take out" Flowers.  However, the disciplinary panel flat refused to discipline Stoll.  Why? Because "everybody does it."  The bottom line: These cops aren't about to reign themselves in and they don't want the people to do it, either.  Well, they're in for a big surprise--the people can and WILL stop police brutality.  Our class action lawsuit is going to court soon and it will go a good, long way toward that goal, in combination with our other efforts.  But more on that later.

Check out this week's City Pages for more information on the total lack of discipline meted out by MPD leadership and how much it has cost the city: http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1285/article13519.asp  In light of the new stats on the CRA website and the continuing attacks by MPD on the CRA, we republish the following article which originally ran in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

Upswing in police officer violations
Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Originally posted 5/25/2005
http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/News/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=57488&sID=13

Michael Friedman, CRA Board Chair
Retha Dowells, Northside CRA Boardmember
Julian Johnson, Northside CRA Boardmember and
Robert Velez, Northside CRA Boardmember
Contributing Writers

Contacts of ours within the Hennepin County Public Defender's office have reported that there has been a major upswing in constitutional violations of peoplesrights by Minneapolis police over the last month.

We also have personally witnessed, and received reports about, Minneapolis police officials actively discouraging residents from using the CRA to investigate complaints, in the process making all sorts of self-serving negative remarks about CRA's fairness and investigation quality.

A coincidence?
A critical benefit of the CRA is that it offers a process to address violations of constitutional rights that do not involve enough damages for a civil rights lawyer to want to file a lawsuit. (Public Defenders can only use the violation to suppress evidence and maybe get the charge dismissed. And this assumes a charge was filed at all, which is not necessarily the case in many constitutional rights violations.)

In the last two years, the CRA has sustained several complaints for inappropriate arrests, searches, or detentions--often for circumstances some Spokesman-Recorder columnists have referred to as "Walking While Black." To find misconduct in such instances is not difficult, because police policies and training generally follow from court decisions that define what police can and cannot do; that is, the CRA doesn't resort to our own opinion, but holds police accountable to knowing the law about such critical matters as an individual's rights.

The response from the police chief and his management team has been disappointing to say the least. Not a single case of rights violations has led to officer discipline, although a few have been referred for training.

In one case in which a young Black male was handcuffed, searched, and placed in the back of a squad car without appropriate cause, a precinct commander wrote in the discipline review how all the legal arguments (in the CRA summary) for why this was misconduct represented what was wrong with the CRA. As if basing our review of police work on the law was a bad thing!

This attitude of disdain for reviews of police work done outside police control, whether by courts, lawyers, or CRA staff or board, is something we have observed at all levels of the department, and is at the heart of current police attempts to undercut the CRA.

Within the city as a whole, the police department is able to use the legitimate safety fears of Northside residents, and others, to promote more aggressive police practices. Ultimately, this same fear could be used to strip or diminish the review power granted to the CRA.

But communities of color might remember how the CODEFOR program was also sold in a climate of fear as benefiting first and foremost the neighborhoods receiving saturated police coverage--and what resulted. To avoid a repeat, community leaders must demand safety and protection of individual rights. As an independent reviewer of complaints, the CRA will match the rhetoric with the reality and hold police officers accountable to the law.

The balance between individual rights and community safety, and the policing and civilian review of policing that communities want, is a critical matter, this year especially. Ultimately, the question to ask yourself is this: Will your community, another political entity, or the police themselves decide what standards for policing and accountability will prevail in your neighborhood?

We invite individuals and organizations to contact us. CRA Board members will make ourselves available to help facilitate this important community discussion.

The Civilian Review Board meets the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm in Room 135 of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange Building, 400 S. 4th St, Minneapolis. A portion of every meeting is devoted to public comment.  To request notification of the board applications, availability, or to file a complaint, call 612-673-5500. Michael Friedman welcomes responses and letters to civilianreviewboard@yahoo.com, or Minneapolis CRA, 400 S.4th St. Room 1004, Minneapolis, 55415.
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CAN'T WE FIND A BETTER USE FOR SCIENCE?
Scientists Question Safety of Star Wars Ray Gun Planned For Use In Iraq
Riot control ray gun causes worry
From correspondents in London
Herald Sun.Au - 21jul05
http://tinyurl.com/7jvw3

SCIENTISTS are questioning the safety of a Star Wars-style riot control ray gun due to be deployed in Iraq next year.

The Active Denial System weapon, classified as "less lethal" by the Pentagon, fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds.

The idea is people caught in the beam will rapidly try to move out of it and therefore break up the crowd.

But New Scientist magazine reported today that during tests carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, participants playing the part of rioters were told to remove glasses and contact lenses to protect their eyes.

In another test they were also told to remove metal objects like coins from their clothing to avoid local hot spots developing on their skin.

"What happens if someone in a crowd is unable for whatever reason to move away from the beam," asked Neil Davison, coordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at Britain's Bradford University.

"How do you ensure that the dose doesn't cross the threshold for permanent damage? Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?," he said.

The magazine said a vehicle-mounted version of the weapon named Sheriff was scheduled for service in Iraq in 2006 and that US Marines and police were both working on portable versions.
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Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


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