8/20/2007 Newsletter

Contents:

  • End the Legacy of Injustice on the North Side
  • Holding Cops Accountable: An Introduction to Copwatch
  • Dwight Young Court Watch
  • Demetrius Cooper Court Watch
  • Free Speech Working Group is Anything But
  • Mike "$3.3 Million" Sauro Poised to Become 4th Pct Inspector
  • Security Guard Tasers Father Holding Newborn

END THE LEGACY OF INJUSTICE ON THE NORTH SIDE
Support Proactive Urban Initiative's "No More" Rally

For decades, people on the North Side of Minneapolis have suffered all manner of injustices and indignities while corrupt politicians, exploitative businesses and institutions, fake leaders and "sinister ministers" used the misery of the people to line their own pockets.  Just  one example is the tens of millions of dollars given to the city for housing and enterprise zone initiatives earmarked for the North Side but that ended up instead in the pockets of developers who built expensive housing.  Not only are most of the people on the North Side unable to afford this housing but they weren't even given construction jobs to build it.  In the recent surge of school closings, nearly all of the impacted schools were on the North Side.  To top it all off, police brutality and police state measures are at an all-time high on the North Side.

The Proactive Urban Initiative is a group of neighbors who are saying "no more" to the corruption and injustice that have ruled civic life on the North Side.  They are tired of crumbs and broken promises and they are working for real solutions.  CUAPB supports their struggle for justice.  They are holding a kick off rally and anyone from any part of the Twin Cities who is concerned about justice is invited to support this important effort.

Proactive Urban Institute's "No More" Rally
Thursday, August 23, 2007
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Minneapolis Urban League Parking Lot
2100 Plymouth Avenue North


HOLDING COPS ACCOUNTABLE: An Introduction to Copwatch
Saturday, August 25
3:00 p.m.
Walker Church
3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
CUAPB has spent the summer "copwatching" the downtown club scene, the area around Block E, and around homeless shelters.  We have filmed some truly disgusting examples of racial and economic profiling, harassment, brutality and police state measures.  Ongoing harassment of homeless people since passage of the panhandling ordinance and reaffirmation of the lurking ordinance by the city council is especially disheartening.  However, people in the area have told us how helpful it is to have someone there recording police activity.

Come learn how to hold police accountable through copwatch--an activity that is perfectly legal.  We'll talk about your rights and teach you how to copwatch safely and effectively.  We'll also talk about how we use what you capture on film to fight for justice.  We'll follow up that afternoon with a copwatch practice session near the homeless shelters. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.  If you have questions, call 612-874-7867.


JACK PINE COMMUNITY CENTER SPAGHETTI DINNER
Friday, August 24, 6:30 p.m.
Seward Cafe
2129 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis
$10 suggested donation, $3 for kids
Started by an all-volunteer collective of justice-minded youth, the Jack Pine Community Center is a real bright spot on East Lake Street.  Besides being a great meeting and event space, the center provides free internet access, a library, recreational activities and other community services on a drop-in basis.  It's also a hub for organizing against the 2008 Republican Convention.  Come out to support this valuable community resource.


COURT WATCH OPPORTUNITIES

Dwight Young

August 22, 9:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
Dwight's case is one of many we have received related to activities on Block E.  Dwight was on his way home and had time to kill between buses so he stopped in at Gameworks.  He was there for no longer than five minutes when a security guard told him to leave.  Dwight couldn't quite believe it since he wasn't doing anything wrong but he did as the security guard instructed--he left. 

The guard followed him down the escalator to the street and then was walking behind him toward the bus stop.  Dwight turned and said "I'm doing what you said, why are you following me?"  The security guard flagged down two Minneapolis cops--Clark Goset #2354 and Jer Yang #7889--who jumped out of their car and immediately handcuffed Dwight.  When he asked why he was being arrested, they told him to "shut up." When he asked again, Dwight felt the sting of a Taser in his back.  He was taken to jail and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.

Dwight knows he did nothing wrong and he has vowed to take his case all the way to trial.  His case goes to court on Wednesday, August 22 at 9:30.  We need to be there to support him.  If you attended our Survivor, Family and Friends dinner, you'll remember that Dwight was the entertainer that evening.  He's turned his personal quest for justice into a demand for justice for all.  Please be there for him.

Demetrius Cooper
Civil Trial
September 5, 9:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
Demetrius was driving on I-694.  Minneapolis police were chasing another vehicle and that vehicle crashed into Demetrius' car.  He pulled off at the next exit and was getting out to inspect the damages when he heard a Minneapolis cop say, "get your f*cking hands in the air or I'll kill you."  That cop dragged him out of the car and kneed him in stomach, slammed him on the ground, cracking his teeth, stomped his head, and Tased him many times.  When he asked an officer on the scene "why did they do this to me?" the reply was "you were fleeing." He was taken to jail and held for 36 hours.  Besides arresting him and impounding his car, one of the officers on the scene stole money from Demetrius.

Demetrius is trying to get some measure of justice for his injuries and false arrest.  His case goes to civil trial on September 5th.  If you've never attended a police brutality civil trial, they can be very exciting--sometimes some pretty interesting truths come out in open court.


FREE SPEECH WORKING GROUP IS ANYTHING BUT
Working Hard to Repress Free Speech in Preparation for RNC Protests

When the Minneapolis city council proposed joint sponsorship of the Republican National Convention, some  council members rightly expressed concerns about free speech.  Cam Gordon proposed a "free speech working group."  While perhaps a good idea on paper, this is yet another one of Cam's working groups with no  community members on it.  Instead, it is populated with city officials who are mostly either out-of-touch or openly hostile to free speech.  (The ACLU is represented on the working group but, as they say, their client is the Constitution.  They have made no effort to involve the movement or keep us informed.)  To make matters worse, the working group has been meeting in secret and hasn't published their agendas or minutes.  The community had to go to great lengths to get the date and location of their most recent meeting.

We had gotten word that the working group was looking at a really terrible ordinance that would repress free speech for all but the most wealthy and mainstream groups.  Props to the about 20 activists who showed up to  the working group meeting and let it be known how the community feels about that proposed ordinance.  It's a good thing they were there because a revised and even more repressive version of the ordinance was presented at that meeting. 

The proposed ordinance would require all groups holding public events involving 25 or more people to go through a cumbersome permitting process, in which a city agency could decide if the location the group has chosen is "suitable."  This would eliminate the ability to call emergency demonstrations.  The ordinance would ban demonstrations downtown 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.--prime times for reaching commuters. Protests would also be banned from neighborhoods--a huge issue for us, since many serious police brutality cases occur in neighborhoods.  Advertising an event before the permit is approved would be a misdemeanor.  Even if an event had a permit, under the ordinance cops could show up and revoke the permit on the spot and arrest everyone present for being at an unpermitted event, which would also be a misdemeanor.  This would undoubtedly lead to abuse by police.

Quick actions by activists at that last meeting may have given the working group members pause about bringing forth this bad ordinance, which appears to have been authored by the city attorney's office.  Still, even if the working group doesn't recommend it, the Public Safety and Regulatory Services committee of the city council could take it up on their own.  We can't let that happen.  Call the mayor and your city council member and let them know we don't want any new ordinances that will limit free speech, especially with the Republicans coming to town.  Contact info can be obtained at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/government/ If something like this becomes law, we will have our free speech rights repressed for years to come.  Use your free speech now--while you still have it--to let city officials know how you feel about their attempt to end run the First Amendment.  As soon as we have confirmation of the next so-called "Free Speech" working group meeting, we will let the community know so you can plan to attend.


MIKE "$3.3 MILLION" SAURO POISED TO BECOME 4TH PRECINCT INSPECTOR

Even as Minneapolis police chief Tim Dolan is "whiteifying" the police command structure (see  <http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/news/article/article.asp?NewsID=81377&sID=16&ItemSource=L>), word on the street is that he is preparing to appoint notorious cop Mike Sauro to the position of inspector over the 4th precinct.

You'll recall that Sauro, who has been the acting inspector for the last few months, has cost the city $3.3 million in lawsuit settlements and payouts for brutality incidents.  With the North Side already a hotbed of police brutality and misconduct, does anyone besides Dolan and Sauro think he's the right guy for the job?  Putting Sauro in charge will send a very wrong message to 4th precinct cops.

We're working with people on the North Side to craft a strategy to address this outrageous appointment.  Law breakers and abusers have no business being in charge of any police precinct.  We strongly urge you to contact the mayor and your city council member to express your concerns over this appointment.  Contact info can be obtained at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/government/


SECURITY GUARD TASERS FATHER HOLDING NEWBORN
Aug 14, 2007
Juan A. Lozano
http://www.thestar.com/News/article/246245

HOUSTON  In a confrontation captured on videotape, a hospital security guard fired a stun gun to stop a defiant father from taking home his newborn baby, sending both man and child crashing to the floor.

Now the man says the baby girl suffers from head trauma because she was dropped.

"I've got to wonder what kind of moron would Tase an adult holding a baby," said George Kirkham, a former police officer and criminologist at the University of California-Berkeley. "It doesn't take rocket science to realize the baby is going to fall."

The trouble began in April when Williams Lewis, 30, said he and his wife felt mistreated by staff at the Woman's Hospital of Texas so they decided to leave. Hospital employees told him doctors would not allow it, but Lewis picked up the baby and strode to a bank of elevators.

The elevators would not move because wristband sensors on each baby shut off the elevators if anyone takes an infant without permission.

Lewis, who gave the video to The Associated Press, said his daughter landed on her head, but it cannot be seen on the video. He said the baby seems injured since the episode.

"She shakes a lot and cries a lot," Lewis said, noting doctors have performed several MRIs on the child, Karla. "She's not real responsive. Something is definitely wrong with my daughter."

It was not clear whether the baby received any electrical jolt.

The hospital and the Houston Police Department did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

David Boling, an off-duty Houston police officer working security at the hospital, and another security guard can be seen on the surveillance video arriving at the elevators and trying to talk with Lewis. Lewis appears agitated as he walks around the elevators holding his daughter in his right arm.

Within 40 seconds of arriving, Boling is holding the Taser. He walks around Lewis and whispers to the other guard, who moves to Lewis's right side.

About a minute later, Boling can be seen casually standing near Lewis, not looking in his direction, when he suddenly raises the Taser and fires it at Lewis, who was still holding his daughter.

Lewis drops to the floor. The other guard, who has not been identified, scoops up the baby and gives her to the child's mother, who was standing nearby in a hospital gown.

The guard then pulls Lewis to his feet with his arms locked behind him. Lewis's T-shirt has two holes under the left side of his chest where the Taser prongs hit him.

Lewis said he did not see the stun gun.

"My wife said we want to leave and then he just Tasered me," Lewis said. "He caused me to drop the child."

Lewis was arrested and charged with endangering a child. A grand jury in May declined to indict him on that charge, but charged him with retaliation, accusing him of making threats against Boling.

Lewis also has been charged with a second count of retaliation alleging he made a threatening call to Boling at his home.

Lewis denies both charges. He said he is considering suing the hospital but has not filed any legal papers.

Some 11,000 U.S. law enforcement agencies use Tasers, which have been officially listed as a contributing factor in about 12 deaths countrywide, according to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International Inc., which makes the weapon.


Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


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