11/30/2015 Newsletter


  • CUAPB: 15 Years of Police Accountability Work
  • Reflections on the Jamar Clark Killing and the City's Response


15th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, December 12 at 5:00 p.m.
4200 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis
Dinner and Guest Speaker Rashidah Grinage
Free and open to our friends and supporters

Please join us as we celebrate our 15 years of working for police accountability and to end police brutality, and as we look ahead to the future.  We will serve a delicious down home dinner.

Our guest speaker will be Rashidah Grinage, Director of the Coalition for Police Accountability.  On December 15, 1993, Rashidah lost her husband and son to an unspeakable act of police brutality but she turned her grief into action by working with others to secure accountability and justice in Oakland, CA.  Her inspiring story will renew your commitment to social justice.


By now, everyone receiving this has heard about the Jamar Clark killing that occurred in North Minneapolis on November 15 and that has led to ongoing protests.  Although the official investigations by the FBI and BCA are ongoing, a number of witnesses state that Jamar was subdued on the ground when he was shot in the head. 

It has been a real study in PR watching how the police have tried to dodge accountability and justify their actions.  It started when 30-40 squad cars arrived on the scene, pointing guns and Tasers and pepper spraying witnesses as they snatched people's cell phones, tainting any investigation from the start.  It continued when the cops involved--Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze--
were not even interviewed until 4 1/2 days after the incident and likely got to view video of the incident before providing statements.  The character assassination of Jamar Clark is also part of the mix--it started with him supposedly interfering with an ambulance, then a claim that he beat the woman who was on the ambulance (a claim disputed by witnesses) to wild, groundless accusations by Police Federation president Bob Kroll that Jamar was trying to grab an officer's gun--a virtually impossible scenario given information from numerous witnesses.

Beyond their bumbling PR efforts, the city has mishandled this whole situation in many other ways.  Unleashing a SWAT team on a handful of protesters sitting in front of the 4th precinct practically invited huge numbers of people to join the protest and turn it into an occupation.  At one point, there were police sharpshooters on top of the 4th precinct pointing weapons at the crowd below, which included three city council members.  Talk about a frightening specter of the police state in action.

The city made plenty of noise about wanting to hear from the community but made it a virtual impossibility.  Three CUAPB supporters attempted to talk--just talk--to our elected officials at the November 20 city council meeting and were summarily dragged out of council chambers.  Others who came to speak never even got the chance to try.

Oh, but the city was quite eager to hear from SELECT members of the community when Public Safety Chair and 5th Ward council member Blong Yang suddenly added a public hearing to the agenda of his committee's 12/2 meeting with no actual notice to the community.  Amazingly, there was a crowd of people ready to complain about inconveniences they were suffering as a result of the 4th precinct occupation.  Early the next morning, the MPD attacked the occupation, arresting people and destroying property, apparently at the direction of Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janee Harteau.

The same city administration that has engaged in this kind of buffoonery and brutality ensured that a Jamar Clark case would happen in the first place by destroying civilian review and putting in place an agency that has received over 1000 complaints in the last three years yet HAS NOT SUSTAINED OR DISCIPLINED EVEN ONE COMPLAINT by a community member.  Score: cops 1000, community 0.  In short, the city has blown every opportunity to prevent this killing while botching the aftermath.

The article Minneapolis Lacks Political Will to Provide Security for All outlines additional ways the city "leadership" has backed away from their stated commitment to equality whenever the wind blows in a different direction.  It's clear this city administration won't give a damn until we force them to give a damn.

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