12/9/2006 Newsletter


  • Attorney Jill Clark Under Attack
  • Human Rights Day Activities
  • Police State Update: US Citizens Required to Get Clearance to Leave Country
  • NYPD Murders Groom Right Before Wedding


Attorney Jill Clark has tirelessly and fearlessly defended people of color and poor people who have been targeted by the criminal justice system, especially survivors of police brutality and family members of people killed by police.  She often takes important cases free of charge, in order to create significant changes in police policies and practices.  She is truly the people's lawyer.

As part of her work, Jill has encountered and exposed courthouse corruption being used to railroad police brutality victims and others.  This corruption contributes to Minnesota having the highest rate of overprosecution of Blacks in the country (according to the Council on Crime and Justice).  In April 2006, Jill filed a formal complaint against Hennepin County chief judge Lucy Weiland for activities that unfairly stacked the deck against her client.  She filed another complaint in October against Weiland, two other judges and a prosecutor who colluded to deny her client justice.  In both cases, although Jill indicated that she had extensive documentation on file, the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards refused to investigate the case--or even review her documentation.  We've had dealings with this outfit in the past and can tell you that this board doesn't do squat and seems to exist to protect wayward judges, so this was no big surprise.  Still, you would think that some of her documentation might have at least peaked their interest.

Jill has now learned that Weiland filed a formal complaint against her with the Lawyer's Office of Professional Responsibility.  Unlike the Board of Judicial (NON)Standards, this agency takes their responsibilities seriously.  They have launched an investigation of the complaint.  They won't find anything--there isn't a shred of truth to Weiland's complaint, which is mostly a rant about the fact that Jill complained about her.  Still, the process itself is grueling and forces Jill to expend energy defending herself rather than working for the community. 

We must fight back against this vicious attempt to silence one of the strongest defenders of the community against the abuses of the courts and cops.  The people need lawyers like Jill who stand up for us against a repressive system.  If we don't defend her, all other lawyers who do the right thing will be targeted, too and the community will be without the help we need.

If you've ever been helped by a lawyer like Jill, now is the time to come to her defense!  Tell the system, HANDS OFF JILL CLARK!

Press Conference
Tuesday, December 12
12:00 noon
Hennepin County Government Center
300 S 6th Street, Minneapolis
By the fountain on the main floor
Called by the newly-formed Jill Clark Defense Coalition.  Jill will formally announce the complaint to the media and we will announce the formation of our coalition and our intent to stand with and defend Jill and to fight corruption in the Hennepin County courts.  We need lots of folks to be there, hold signs and be visible supporters.

Organizing Meeting
Tuesday, December 12
6:00 p.m.
Minneapolis Urban League
2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis
We will continue to organize our Hands Off Jill Clark campaign and a counteroffensive campaign of going against the corruption in the Hennepin County courts.  Come and join one of our working groups to stand with Jill and take action against the machinery that defends brutal cops and targets police brutality survivors.

A rally will be held on Monday to mark International Human Rights Week.  Let's turn out to make sure that our local brand of human rights violation--police brutality--is included in the mix.  Here's an announcement from the organizers.  Join us there!

Human Rights Day Rally
Monday, December 11
May Day Plaza
301 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis
Come commemorate Human Rights Day and demonstrate against foreign policies of war, torture, and injustice and their domestic counterparts: poverty, degrading treatment, and police brutality. Take a stand for human rights and peace!

Join us to protest U.S. attacks on human rights in Iraq, Palestine, and at home.  Following the demonstration, we will go to the Mapps Coffeeshop nearby at Cedar and Riverside Avenues for speeches and political poetry.

Folks who have been familiar with our work know that every December we hold an annual Survivor, Family and Friends dinner to bring people who are dealing with the effects of police brutality together.  This year, due to space availability, we will move our dinner to Saturday, January 13th.  We'll need volunteers to cook and serve and donations for food. We'll let you know as more details are developed. 


We're All Prisoners, Now: US Citizens to be Required ''Clearance'' to Leave USA
International Politics October 26, 2006

Forget no-fly lists. If Uncle Sam gets its way, beginning on Jan. 14, 2007, we'll all be on no-fly lists, unless the government gives us permission to leave-or re-enter-the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSA) has proposed that all airlines, cruise lines-even fishing boats-be required to obtain clearance for each passenger they propose taking into or out of the United States.

It doesn't matter if you have a U.S. Passport - a "travel document" that now, absent a court order to the contrary, gives you a virtually unqualified right to enter or leave the United States, any time you want. When the DHS system comes into effect next January, if the agency says "no" to a clearance request, or doesn't answer the request at all, you won't be permitted to enter-or leave-the United States.

Consider what might happen if you're a U.S. passport holder on assignment in a country like Saudi Arabia. Your visa is about to expire, so you board your flight back to the United States. But wait! You can't get on, because you don't have permission from the HSA. Saudi immigration officials are on hand to escort you to a squalid detention center, where you and others who are now effectively "stateless persons" are detained, potentially indefinitely, until their immigration status is sorted out.

Why might the HSA deny you permission to leave-or enter-the United States? No one knows, because the entire clearance procedure would be an administrative determination made secretly, with no right of appeal. Naturally, the decision would be made without a warrant, without probable cause and without even any particular degree of suspicion. Basically, if the HSA decides it doesn't like you, you're a prisoner - either outside, or inside, the United States, whether or not you hold a U.S. passport.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized there is a constitutional right to travel internationally. Indeed, it has declared that the right to travel is "a virtually unconditional personal right." The United States has also signed treaties guaranteeing "freedom of travel." So if these regulations do go into effect, you can expect a lengthy court battle, both nationally and internationally.

Think this can't happen? Think again. It's ALREADY happening. Earlier this year, HSA forbade airlines from transporting an 18-year-old a native-born U.S. citizen, back to the United States. The prohibition lasted nearly six months until it was finally lifted a few weeks ago. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are two countries in recent history that didn't allow their citizens to travel abroad without permission. If these regulations go into effect, you can add the United States to this list.

For more information on this proposed regulation, see http://hasbrouck.org/IDP/IDP-APIS-comments.pdf.


Below is an article by Bob Herbert, who has done some sharp writing on the case of Sean Bell, unarmed, who was gunned down by police on the eve of his wedding.  If you substitute Minneapolis or St. Paul for every reference to NYC, the article could be about the handling of our cases here.  There, the DA simply waits forever to speak to the cops (shouldn't talking to the cops be part of the investigation?).  Here, the cops involved in deadly force incidents are driven together from the scene and meet with police leadership and a chaplain, giving them ample time to concoct their story together before any investigation takes place.  Then there is only a cursory investigation and the whole thing is sewn up, with no accountability for the cops who kill unarmed community members.

Waiting for Answers
December 7, 2006
New York Times

I don't know whether the undercover cops who shot and killed Sean Bell and wounded his two friends should be criminally indicted. I wasn't there and not enough information has emerged publicly to make a determination.

What I do know is that the investigation of this shooting in Jamaica, Queens, in which the victims were unarmed and seemed to have no intention of threatening the police, is not being conducted in a timely or effective fashion.

While the local community is seething with anger over the shooting, there are investigators scrambling like mad to find dirt to throw on the victims and locate any evidence that might, however remotely, tend to justify the shooting. But the authorities have not even asked the cops, who fired 50 bullets at the car with the three men inside, what happened. That is insane.

The office of the Queens district attorney, Richard Brown, is leading the investigation into the shooting. For procedural reasons that have to do with concerns about inadvertently conferring some degree of immunity on the officers, the D.A. has asked the Police Department not to interview the officers who shot at the car.

But the D.A.'s office has been moving in super-slow motion on the case, and no one from that office has interviewed the cops, either. Mr. Brown told me yesterday that he has a tremendous amount of additional information to gather before his office attempts to speak to the cops. "I've got no business talking to these cops," he said, "until I know, or am reasonably satisfied, as to what the facts are."

He said he hopes to speak to the officers next week, but he does not know when the matter might be presented to a grand jury. "You never go before a grand jury with a case," said Mr. Brown, "unless you've got all the Ts crossed and the Is dotted."

A veteran investigator told me yesterday that there have been several meetings in the D.A.'s office about the Sean Bell case but that Mr. Brown and his top aides are not yet sure how to proceed.

The truth is that neither the Police Department nor the district attorneys in New York are equipped to properly investigate controversial police shootings. The prosecutors and the cops have a special, co-dependent relationship that exists around-the-clock, year-in and year-out. They work together all the time on criminal cases and other matters. They view one another as members of a close-knit criminal justice family. They watch each other's backs.

When cops are involved in shootings that may not seem justified, there is an instinctive institutional response from other cops and prosecutors to close ranks around the accused officers. The instinct is to protect them, not to indict them.

Tugging against those instincts in this case, as in the Amadou Diallo killing in 1999, is the sensational nature of the shooting and the tremendous public outcry and press coverage it has generated.

The interests of the larger community can be served only when problematic police shootings are thoroughly and fairly investigated by objective, impartial and independent investigators. The police have shown over many years that they are not up to this important task, and neither are the district attorneys. This is why so few cops have been brought to justice over the years in cases of blatant police misconduct and brutality.

There is an inherent and apparently insurmountable conflict of interest at work when district attorneys investigate cases of alleged police brutality. It's time for New York to face up to this. It's time to establish a truly independent office--perhaps a special state prosecutor, or a permanent, fully staffed independent office at the district attorney's level--to investigate this type of police misconduct.

The victims of unjustifiable police killings are most often (but not always) black, and in most cases they are black men. It's time to recognize that racial stereotyping and race prejudice are still big problems in New York, and that the police often behave differently when confronting people who are black.

A special investigative office, which could look at these incidents and encounters only after the fact, is not enough. There is also a need for Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to become proactive, to acknowledge that racism is still an issue in the Police Department and to overhaul police training and address poisonous police attitudes in an effort to prevent these senseless tragedies.

Forty-one refers to the number of shots fired at Amadou Diallo by undercover NYC cops who never identified themselves to him.  Thinking he was being robbed, Amadou offered his wallet.  The cops opened fire, killing Amadou in the doorway of his apartment. The case was moved to upstate New York (another sleazy tactic to allow police to avoid accountability to their local community) and an all-white grand jury cleared the cops.

Copyright Robert S. Witanek, 2000
[email protected]

POW ONE Came the bullet from the gun
POW TWO And it went right through
POW THREE Could have been me
POW FOUR And he fell by the door
POW FIVE They weren't taking him alive
POW SIX Don't it make you sick
POW SEVEN As his body reddened
POW EIGHT Terror by the State
POW NINE As he lay there dying
POW TEN They shot him again
POW ELEVEN And again and again
POW TWELVE But he already fell
POW THIRTEEN Them cops a-murdering
POW FOURTEEN Them thugs a-slaughtering
POW FIFTEEN Blood was a-drifting
POW SIXTEEN More and more sickening
POW SEVENTEEN Shot to smithereens
POW EIGHTEEN Them cops crazy
POW NINETEEN Time for fighting
POW TWENTY Blood kept a-running
POW TWENTY-ONE They kept pumping on them guns
POW TWENTY-TWO Could have been you
POW TWENTY-THREE Blood flowing in the streets
POW TWENTY FOUR Sounds of war
POW TWENTY FIVE Wake Up! Come Alive!
POW TWENTY SIX Them Jury Acquit
POW TWENTY SEVEN Stop the blood letting!
POW TWENTY EIGHT They sent it upstate
POW TWENTY NINE Amadou Diallo Time
POW THIRTY No more murdering
POW THIRTY ONE A wallet not a gun
POW THIRTY TWO Don't wait till its you
POW THIRTY THREE Take it to the streets
POW THIRTY FIVE The time has arrived!
POW THIRTY SIX No more dirty tricks!
POW THIRTY SEVEN Never again! Never Again!
POW THIRTY EIGHT Justice is Late
POW FORTY No more warning!
POW FORTY ONE Put injustice on the run!

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

  • Michelle Gross
    published this page in 2006 Newsletters 2016-09-20 05:08:05 -0500

Get our Newsletter or Volunteer Donate Contact Us


get updates