12/16/2002 Newsletter


  • Police Murder of Christopher Burns
  • Babcock/Smith Case Update

Rally to Demand Justice for Christopher Burns
Thursday, December 19
4:30 p.m.
Peavey Park
Franklin & Chicago Ave in Minneapolis

On November 1, 2002, Minneapolis police violently ended the life of 44-year-old Christopher Burns. Mr. Burns was arguing with his significant other, as couples sometimes do, but there was no physical violence involved. Police rushed into the couple's bedroom, handcuffed Chris, threw him down on the bed, kneeled on his back, put a flashlight under his chin and yanked back violently. He died immediately from a broken neck.

Now police and their buddies in the media are trying to justify this murder by saying it was caused by a legal neck restraint procedure and that Chris died because he had blood pressure problems. DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS LIE!

The way cops get away with killing our brothers and sisters is by having the county prosecutor bring the case before a grand jury. The prosecutor does a rotten job of presenting the case, leaving out most of the facts, and the grand jury then does not indict the cops. Because of this, THERE HAS NOT BEEN A SINGLE INDICTMENT OF A POLICE OFFICER IN THE DEATH OF A COMMUNITY MEMBER IN DECADES!

  • We demand a REAL investigation--a Federal investigation!
  • We demand an independent prosecutor be appointed!
  • We demand ALL the cops involved (including the five who left the scene before the Sheriff and paramedic arrived) be prosecuted!

Christopher Burns was viciously murdered in front of his significant other and four children by Minneapolis police officers. We cannot let them get away with it--NOT THIS TIME, NOT EVER AGAIN! JUSTICE FOR CHRIS BURNS!


Sad and disturbing news in the Babcock/Smith case. Despite the fact that plainclothes cops shot them in their own home AND they were unarmed, the almost all white, suburbanite jury convicted Dennis Babcock and his father, Michael Smith of assault charges. Dennis was sentenced to 10 years in prison, his father received one year in the workhouse and three years probation. Even though neither man had prior convictions, they were not permitted to be out on bail during their appeals (as would be standard in this circumstance). The judge ordered that Michael, who was only convicted of 5th degree assault, be sent to the workhouse immediately and not allowed to stay home for the holidays.

This case defies any sense of justice. Two plainclothes cops, who do not identify themselves as police officers, come crashing through the front door of a family home. They attack the mother as she tries to push the door closed, ripping her shirt open. Her teenage son and then her husband come to her rescue. In the course of the struggle, one man finally identifies himself as a cop to the father. The father steps back, hands up, and is shot in the chest by the cop. The son drops to the floor and tries to crawl away. He is shot four times in the back and ends up with severe internal injuries (he has a colostomy as a result). Uniformed cops who arrive on the scene during the scuffle testify that they came within seconds of shooting the plainclothes cops themselves. So what does the jury do? They CONVICT the family members. A 19-year-old young man is going to jail for 10 years hard time (no chance of early release if you assault a cop) and a father is taken away from his family for a year FOR WHAT THE COPS DID TO THEM! OUTRAGEOUS! To add to the injustice, Dennis needs surgery for his injuries. The jail has repeatedly canceled his scheduled surgery for unexplained reasons.

Dennis' and Michael's lawyers vow to appeal this case. We support them all the way and will be there when they go back to court. In the meantime, we continue to work with and assist the Smith family, who have had grave financial difficulties because of this case. If you would like to assist this family with a food donation or holiday gift, please call our hotline at 612-874-STOP.

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

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