11/11/2012 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Where's the Investigation? Protest to Remind Crystal that We're Serious
  • Night of Remembrance and Thanks
  • Freeman Gives Cops a Free Pass in DRE Scandal
  • Two Teachers Suspended for Teaching Students Their Rights
WHERE'S THE INVESTIGATION? 
TIME TO REMIND CRYSTAL THAT WE'RE SERIOUS!
Demonstration at Crystal City Hall
Corner of 42nd Street & Douglas Ave N, Crystal
Tuesday, November 20 at 6:00 p.m.

AND sign our online petition

The Ramirez family was suddenly and illegally locked out of their home after Brooklyn Park police officer Greg Burstad raided their home in Crystal without a warrant (and found nothing illegal), assaulted the grandfather Norberto, then changed the locks on the home.  After four days, Burstad promised to let the family back in but they arrived to see a truck driving away with all of their possessions.  A few days later, Burstad had Norberto deported.

The family reported this crime to the Crystal police.  They asked about the investigation multiple times.  Even the FBI asked about the investigation.  But Crystal police took no action.  Finally, the detective assigned to the case admitted that he was pressured not to investigate.

We filed complaints on behalf of the family with Crystal city manager, Anne Norris.  She refuses to even meet with the family.  The police chief responsible for stalling the investigation has since retired and Norris gave him a chance to get away without consequences.  Norris claims there is an investigation by an outside investigator, Mary Dobbins.  By her history, Dobbins appears to primarily defend cities from complaints.  Dobbins has yet to interview anyone in the Ramirez family or even the attorney that was told by the investigator about being pressured not to investigate.  What kind of investigator doesn't interview key witnesses?

We've made three demands to the City of Crystal--that they investigate the original suppression of the investigation, that they actually investigate the crime against the Ramirez family, and that they identify where the Ramirez family's belongings went and try to recover them.  So far, they are a FAIL on all three counts.  We're reminding the City of Crystal that we are serious about these demands. We'll protest outside of city hall, then speak out at their city council meeting.  JOIN US!

Want to take some action before November 20th?  Please sign our online petition to demand Burstad be fired and lose his police license so he can never hurt another family.

NIGHT OF REMEMBRANCE AND THANKS
Saturday, December 1
5:00 p.m.
4200 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis

Free and open to the public

2012 has been quite a year for CUAPB.  We've accomplished many of our goals but also watched tearfully as our office of eight years burned to the ground in the Walker Church fire on May 27th.  Thanks to the help of many caring people, we've landed on our feet with a great new office.  It's a good thing, since the City of Minneapolis killed off the CRA and we find ourselves busier than ever handling large numbers of cases each week.  We've also been busy representing 29 people in their complaints after being harmed by Ofc. Greg Burstad and others with the Metro Gang Strike Force.  We have a number of other projects underway.

We want to take the time to thank all who have helped us and supported our work this year.  Please join us for a delicious dinner and tour of our new office.  We'll also take a few minutes to remember the 16 people who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement this year.

Thank you for your support and assistance.  We look forward to celebrating and remembering with you.

FREEMAN GIVES COPS A FREE PASS--AGAIN

By now, you've probably read in the Strib that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman refuses to prosecute the cops involved in plying people with drugs and dropping them off at the Occupy MN encampment at Peavey Plaza this past summer under the State Patrol's DRE program.  This follows on the heels of Freeman's failure to hold cops accountable for the well documented massive thefts and brutality of the Metro Gang Strike Force.  One wonders what a cop would have to do to be prosecuted in this county.

Freeman's excuse, according to the Strib article, is that cops wouldn't come forward.  While they certainly have a 5th Amendment right not to incriminate themselves, there is no such right not to testify against other cops.  If Freeman had been serious about prosecuting this criminal conduct, he would have subpoenaed the cops.  The cops would then have three choices--testify truthfully, lie and be prosecuted for perjury, or refuse to testify and be held in contempt of court.  Keep in mind that one cop has already come forward and there is video evidence and several witnesses.  It's not clear why Freeman is so wary of prosecuting criminal conduct by cops, but could it be that he has political ambitions and doesn't want to risk the loss of future endorsements by the Police Federation?

Contrast the actions of Mr. "I can't prosecute the cops" Freeman in the two police misconduct incidents noted above with his prosecution of Antonio Jenkins for an anti-cop tattoo.  Jenkins is being charged with terroristic threats for expressing his frustration against a cop that had previously brutalized him through body art.  Interestingly, the cop who was supposedly so threatened by the Jenkins was one of the cops who arrested him, demanding "where is the tattoo"?  Seems like Freeman is happy to help the cops with a bogus prosecution in retaliation for Jenkins expressing the sentiment--albeit crudely--of many people who have been brutalized by thug cops with no recourse.

IS LEARNING HOW TO FLEX YOUR RIGHTS INAPPROPRIATE FOR SCHOOL?
Darian Worden, The Skanner, Portland, Oregon, 4 Jun 2010
http://c4ss.org/content/2705

Two Virginia teachers have recently been suspended for using materials that teach about police encounters in a twelfth grade government class. The materials included the Flex Your Rights documentary Busted: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters, and a flyer on dealing with police made by the anarchist group Crimethinc. The administrative action was taken after a parent complained to the school and to the police.

The offending materials include such advice as: do not physically resist police officers, do not needlessly escalate police encounters, understand when you can legally refuse a search, and keep control of house parties. It would seem very practical to include them in a class on government for 17 and 18 year olds.

By describing the citizen’s relation to the police officer, the lessons of the class are made personally relevant for the student. The materials offer lessons on an important arm of government, which students are more likely to deal with than they are with a Congressional committee. The materials could also be used as springboards to foster discussion. Exposing students to opposing viewpoints on what government is would likely encourage the student to think critically, and expose them to different views. This is especially important for individuals who are just being given the power to vote, the option to enlist in the military, and are at a point in their lives in which they are likely to face experiences and environments that were previously unfamiliar to them.

The concern over using these “unauthorized materials” shows the hostility for freedom that exists in the government-controlled schooling system. Everything that is to be discussed and learned is supposed to be approved by a political committee, not by the individuals involved in discussing and learning. Government school students are expected to submit to every search and every demand made by authority. Such a system would naturally view the offending materials not as attempts to make everyone understand what the rules are so things can go more smoothly, but as a threat. The fact that the administrative action was initiated by the complaint of one parent shows the influence that an authoritarian minority can have over what future generations are permitted to think about.

And individuals should think a lot about police. The story of the suspension comes from the Twitter feed of Cop Block (copblock.org), which provides new stories about bad behavior from police officers almost every day. Criminally violent or negligent behavior by cops often goes unpunished, while teachers who use unapproved videos and flyers are suspended.

Undoubtedly, there are police officers who are very concerned with protecting the lives and freedoms of individuals – but that is not their job. Police are tasked with protecting and serving the interests of power, in the specific role of enforcing whatever laws those in charge demand. The pathologies of authoritarian power structures are common, and a clique-like mindset combined with administrative procedure discourages officers from exposing or trying to check the bad behavior of others. Audio recordings of the NYPD recently acquired by the Village Voice show a system concerned with anything but protecting and serving the residents of the precinct.

Punishing teachers for teaching about the law and the student’s relation to the law exposes the runaway hypocrisy, caste structuring, and authoritarianism of the state. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but only some are allowed to know the law; you must submit to those of higher status than you; and rules are made by rulers, but only the ruled must strictly follow them.


Communities United Against Police Brutality
We meet every Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
4200 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN
www.cuapb.org
24-hour hotline 612-874-7867


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