8/20/2004 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Tabling at Yo! The Movement
  • Confronting Hennepin County Attorneys: Fire Anita Jehl!

YO! THE MOVEMENT--HIP HOP CELEBRATION AT U OF M
We Need Help Tabling
Yo! The Movement will be holding the 3rd annual Twin Cities Hip Hop Celebration and Conference this weekend (August 21st and 22nd) at East River Flats Park and Coffman Union on the U of M campus, from noon until 10:00 p.m. both days.

We'll be there, tabling and taking affidavits, and we need your help to cover the table. If you like mixing with youth and others and can spare even an hour or two, we would sure appreciate hearing from you. Please call our hotline at 612-874-7867 to volunteer.

This event promises a wide variety of activities. Their goals are to register as many new voters as possible, educate as many people as possible about the politics of their communities, and identify a diverse new group of youth volunteers. We support these goals and are excited to be part of this event. For more info, go to http://www.yothemovement.org
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THE PEOPLE CONFRONT HC ATTORNEYS
First Amendment Very Scary for Klobuchar's Crew

Philander Jenkins' case was back in court yesterday morning and we were there, too. But before we attended the legal proceedings, we decided to draw a little attention to the vindictive nature of the prosecution against him and the slimy moves being made by prosecutor Anita Jehl. (For more details, see the 8/17/04 edition of this newsletter.)

We started out at the fountain on the main service level of the government center with our banner and signs, some of which said "Drop the Charges on Philander" and "Fire Anita Jehl". This attracted quite a crowd, since a good number of folks in the government center on any given day are there because of injustices, phony charges after police beatings, etc. We even took complaints about police brutality from some of the folks there.

We then took our show "on the road" (actually on the elevator) to the 20th floor--Hennepin County Amy Klobuchar's office. A number of folks we met during our rally at the fountain joined us and there was quite a bit of excitement in the air--the people were jazzed to be confronting a source of injustice. We marched into Amy's office, filling the lobby to capacity, and chanted our demands--Free Philander, Fire Jehl. Immediately the staff hid behind the doors of the office. They could be seen peeking out periodically, as if the people who pay their salaries are just too scary to be around. Now, mind you, we were standing there, chanting and holding signs. We stayed away from the doors and moved as needed to allow people to come and go but they acted like no one had ever called them on their activities before.

We spoke to the receptionist politely and told her we have a letter we wish to present to Amy. When she told us Amy was not in, we said we would give it to the highest ranking person in the office. We then stood, chanting and holding signs, waiting for someone to accept our letter. Next thing we know, the elevator doors outside the office opened and a phalanx of sheriff's deputies came barrelling out.

The head guy immediately went into a "tough guy" routine, telling us we would have to go back downstairs to protest. Luckily, we know our rights. They kept trying to get our names, tell us we can't chant, etc. but we kept reminding them that the First Amendment applies even in Klobuchar's office. He claimed we were "disturbing" the receptionist, who was sitting behind a wall of glass, and indicated that Klobuchar's office had called them. Apparently, the First Amendment is just too scary for Amy's people.

Finally, we reminded them that if someone would simply come out and take our letter, we would leave. A deputy went in and brought Paul Scoggin, head of the criminal division, out to the lobby. We presented him with our letter of demands and instructed him to give it to Amy. We said we expect a prompt, written response from her to our concerns.

From there, we went to the 18th floor for the legal proceedings, with the keystone deputies on our tail. They kept asking "what are you going to do on the 18th floor?" and we replied, "it's a public building, isn't it?" Sometimes these people forget who owns the building and pays their salaries. We packed the courtroom and even Judge Porter and sleazy prosecutor Anita Jehl took notice.

During the hearing, Jehl and some sidekick presented a motion to the judge that implied that Philander's attorneys had moved to strike the mistrial. So they were literally trying to use Philander's attorneys against him! However, they had not provided a copy of this motion and the "supporting documents" to Philander's attorneys, Jill Clark and Jill Waite. Judge Porter even commented that he had just gotten the document. The Jills objected because they knew they had not made any such motion but they stated they were unable to respond to any of the other arguments in Jehl's motion since they had just gotten it. Judge Porter continued the hearing to next Friday, August 27th at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 1853. We're going to want to pack the courtroom that day, too.

Here's the letter we delivered to Klobuchar's office. As stated, we expect a prompt response to our concerns:

Dear Ms. Klobuchar:

As you may be aware, members of our organization serve as court watchers and provide advocacy to individuals and families impacted by police brutality. We write to express our grave concern regarding the case of Philander Jenkins, which we have been involved with since he and his family contacted us over a year ago.

There appears to be no less than an ongoing campaign of vindictive prosecution against Philander Jenkins by your office. Despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence as well as indications of police misconduct and attempts at evidence planting, your office continues to move forward with cases that should never have been brought in the first place. We are aware that Mr. Jenkins was severely brutalized by Minneapolis police officer Jeffrey Jindra during the initial incident and was further brutalized by deputies in the Hennepin County Jail. There is a strong appearance that these prosecutions are conducted with the aim of covering up these brutalizations and preventing a possible civil case by Mr. Jenkins.

Further, we are deeply concerned with the conduct of Ms. Anita Jehl in these cases. She has continued to bring these cases even when a properly conducted investigation would have shown that she was pursuing the wrong person. In the most recent case, on charges of robbing a cafe, Judge Charles Porter wisely declared a mistrial barring further prosecution yet just days later Ms. Jehl brought Mr. Jenkins in front of other judges without notifying his attorneys, in an attempt to have him recharged in spite of Judge Porter's ruling and to improperly raise Mr. Jenkins bail on a case in which there is no flight risk and no possibility of conviction. One of the reasons Judge Porter declared a mistrial in the case is that at least two witnesses were tainted by being prepared for trial in the room together. Although Judge Porter did not say this, it is clear that since this occurred during preparation of witnesses by the prosecution, someone in your office arranged this meeting--in violation of Judge Porter's sequestration order.

Finally, we wish to make you aware that during the above-cited case, Ms. Jehl attempted to defame our organization to Judge Porter and others during a meeting in his chambers. Judge Porter himself told us that Ms. Jehl raised our organization's name in chambers no less than a dozen times. Please understand that we have worked hard for over four years to provide a valuable service to the community and we will not allow our reputation to be tarnished by a member of your staff.

So that we make ourselves clear: we are demanding that your office drop all charges against Philander Jenkins in this and the two upcoming cases (charges of a home burglary in which the victim said Philander was not involved, and charges of false reporting of the brutality incident at the jail) and that Ms. Jehl be fired or receive serious discipline for her unconscionable actions in these matters.

We await a reply on actions you plan to take to address these serious concerns.
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We will let you know how Amy responds to our concerns. Perhaps she should remember that she is an ELECTED official--she serves at our pleasure. If she "forgets" to respond to us, we'll let you know that, too.


IMPORTANT NEW FILM TO AIR ON PBS: EVERY MOTHER'S SON

Channel 2 Sunday, August 22 at 11:00 p.m.
Rebroadcast the next morning at 5:00 a.m.

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. For more on this incredible film, go to http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2004/everymothersson/index.html and click on "film synopsis."

Even before the national broadcast, EVERY MOTHER'S SON has already had an excellent response from audiences, winning the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City and playing to a packed crowd of young people at the Hip-Hop Convention in Newark.

We urge you to watch this important film. It's a shame that our local PBS station is choosing to air it at such inconvenient times.


SUPPORT US AS WE WALK FOR JUSTICE
CUAPB is participating in the Headwaters Walk for Justice to raise funds for our important work. Please support us. Go to the CUAPB team page. It only takes a minute to donate online or you can print a form and mail in a donation. Money raised will go toward our class action lawsuit against the Minneapolis police department and toward keeping our hotline going. Thanks for supporting our work!

If your email program does not support hyperlinks, copy and paste this URL to get to our team page: https://www.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=52922&lis=1&kntae52922=9C11F2AC22D94E04A8042D1B943CFD9F&supId=0&team=477147&cj=Y


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


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