- Urgent Court Support and Media Statement: Philander Jenkins
HENNEPIN COUNTY FILES CHARGES AGAINST PHILANDER JENKINS FOR COMPLAINING--THE DAY BEFORE HE GOES TO COURT
URGENT COURT SUPPORT NEEDED: 9:00 a.m. TOMORROW MORNING (3/31/04)
For the second time, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has released an inflammatory document the day before Philander Jenkins is due in court. Back in December, the department released a report by Washington County Attorney Doug Johnson in which he declined to prosecute the Sheriff's department for assaulting Philander Jenkins. Today, that same department released a criminal filing against Philander Jenkins for daring to complain against the department. The timing of both releases on the day before the start of trials is suspicious--it would appear to be an effort to taint possible jury members.
WE NEED PEOPLE IN COURT WITH PHILANDER TOMORROW AT 9:00 A.M. at the Hennepin County Government Center, downtown Minneapolis. They think that just because they call Philander a liar, after they blocked him from having the medical exam that could have proven the assault, that we will not stand with him. THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY WRONG! WE BELIEVE PHILANDER AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO STAND WITH HIM UNTIL HE GETS JUSTICE!
We released the following media statement about the case:
CUAPB MEDIA STATEMENT ON PHILANDER JENKINS
"We find it outrageous that an individual who has complained against abuse while in the Hennepin County Jail is now being charged with a crime for filing that complaint," stated Michelle Gross, Vice President of Communities United Against Police Brutality. She added, "This appears to be a preemptive strike against a possible civil law suit."
"We believe Philander Jenkins and will continue to stand by him until he receives the justice he deserves," stated Gross.
Back in December 2003, Communities United Against Police Brutality expressed our concerns about the shoddy and biased BCA investigation into this matter, as well as the poor quality work of the Washington County Attorney, who declined to prosecute the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department based on a slanted reading of the BCA investigation.
Our concerns have centered around the fact that Philander was repeatedly prevented from having a medical examination by an independent caregiver that would have preserved evidence of the assault by the very same Sheriff's Deputies he complained about.
In addition, the BCA investigation and review by the Washington County Attorney's office ignored important evidence regarding Philander's complaint:
· Contemporaneous statements from two inmates who saw Deputies enter Philander’s cell and described hearing the beating and sexual assault, including hearing Philander tell the Sheriff’s Deputies to "stop pulling down my pants" and "get your hands away from there." These statements were recorded on Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office "First Person Statement" Forms.
· Information on blood or other analysis of kleenex tissues Philander used to stop anal bleeding after the attack. Philander had secreted the tissues into his jail jumpsuit and taken them to the Hennepin County Medical Center. Once there, he gave them to nurses, who put them into a plastic bag and sealed it. A chain of custody and test results for these tissues need to be produced.
· Information on security videotapes of the area of Philander’s jail cell. These were noted in the witness statements. Were they preserved? Who has them?
· Philander’s attorney saw him in the immediate aftermath of the assault. We have seen photographs of Philander’s injuries, including scrapes, bruises and gashes on his face. His attorney saw blood on his jail jumpsuit. None of this was considered by the BCA.
· The BCA investigation indicates that a rectal swab showed "no semen." Philander never stated that the sexual assault involved penile penetration. He stated that he was assaulted with a type of solid object like a stick.
· There was no indication on the report of any examination for anal tears or other trauma typical of anal sexual assault.
Since making our support of Philander Jenkins known, we have received a number of calls to our hotline by others complaining about brutality in the Hennepin County jail. It is our belief that the charges against Philander Jenkins for 'daring' to complain about mistreatment at the jail are meant to have a chilling effect on others who wish to come forward with their complaints. In fact, we recently learned that the Hennepin County jail prevented two inmates from even calling our hotline.
Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)