4/2/2003 Newsletter


  • Update on Omar Jamal Arrest
  • Court Date for Antiwar Arrestees
  • Arlon Lindner Strikes Again
  • Rickey Jones Case Update

As we reported yesterday, Omar Jamal was arrested by the FBI/INS based on allegedly filling out his asylum papers incorrectly some five years ago. He is being held in INS detention in Bloomington. Amazing how anyone would think to go back and look at forms that were filled out five years ago--could it be that Omar Jamal's outfront activism is what prompted the intense interest in these pieces of paper?

The following is taken from a message sent last night by a friend and political colleague of Omar and gives a good rundown of Omar's situation and the help he needs:

"I am really devastated, but keeping my spirits strong. I really want to thank all the people who are supporting me and my family right now. I want to thank people for calling the INS office and the Washington County Jail to let them know that you are aware of my situation. This really helps to keep me strong right now, and I want to thank Dean Zimmermann and Keith Ellison for helping me in their roles as elected officials. We must keep up the fight for justice and I know that with your support I will be able to rejoin my family soon and continue to work on behalf of my community."--Omar Jamal

I just got off the phone with Omar Jamal who is being held in the Washington County Detention Center until his bail hearing that is expected to be some time on Thursday, 4/3/03, at the INS court at 2901 Metro Drive ( In Bloomington near the Mall of America).

There will be another update as soon as we find out what time on Thursday the hearing will be. Even though not everyone will be able to get into the hearing room to support Omar Jamal on Thursday, he expressed that he would like everyone to be there on the outside to support him if they are able, and to welcome him if he is released.

Omar Jamal will give an official statement about his situation after his hearing on Thursday.
Obviously Omar knows about all the phone calls we have been making and they have helped--let's keep it up!
Call INS in Bloomington, MN. 1 (800) 375-5283, or (612) 313-9020, ext. 0
Ask to speak with the district director. Politely but firmly let him/her know that Jamal is well-known in the community, not a flight risk, and should be released immediately. Let him/her know that many people are watching this case and that we insist he be given due process and treated fairly.

We just learned that antiwar protesters who were arrested at last Tuesday's action at the Federal Courthouse will have their court hearings on Thursday, April 3 at 9am, 10am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm, in the Public Safety Building (jail). We are trying to get clarification on the exact location of this building and will send this out when we get it so folks can stop by to lend their support.

Bonehead state rep Arlon Lindner just plain doesn't get it. A few weeks ago, he managed to insult both the GLBT and African American communities in one fell swoop. While putting forward a bill that would strip GLBT folks of protections against discrimination, he tried to rewrite history by saying that gays and lesbians were not persecuted in the Nazi Holocaust and that his bill would combat AIDS and prevent the United States from becoming "another African continent."

As a result, eight state representatives are bringing Lindner up on ethics charges. The hearing in front of the House Ethics Committee is open to the public and that's one hearing I personally would not miss for the world! (We announced at yesterday's rally that the hearing will be at 4:30--we just found out it is really at 6:30. See the link to the House of Reps calendar below.)

Hearing on Ethics Complaint Against Arlon Lindner
Monday, April 7
6:30 p.m.
State Office Building, Room 10

Okay, so Lindner's original comments were bad enough, right? Well, Arlon just keeps on screwing up. Through his lawyer, Lindner sent a letter to each of the representatives who filed the complaint against him. The letter was a routine legal request for discovery. However, the way he addressed it was anything but routine. Neva Walker's letter was addressed to her as: Rep. Neva Walker--Black. Well, Ms. Walker has never been married, doesn't use a hyphenated name, and has never had the last name Black. Obviously, someone forgot to remove the race notation before signing and sending out that letter.

As quoted in the Strib, Ms. Walker had this to say about it: "I do believe it was an accident and somebody forgot to erase it. . . . I am an elected official and I deserve respect, and that misprint is a lack of respect."

Lindner's lawyer, James Anderson, had this to say: "Basically, it's a tempest in a teapot," he said, adding that "some people are just hypersensitive if from a simple mistake they can call someone a racist."

Lindner seems to be having a lot of these "simple mistakes." At some point, they become a pattern. Apparently, this guy needs to pull his head out of the dark ages.

The trial for Rickey Jones ended yesterday and the verdict came down last night. Mr. Jones is a photographer who works downtown and who has captured on film a number of police attacks on people in the downtown area. As a result, he has become a target of harassment from four police officers. This week's trial stemmed from one of those incidents of harassment.

The almost all-white jury found Rickey not guilty of all charges except for disorderly conduct. He was ordered to say at least 20 feet away from all police officers. Ironic, since police keep attacking him, not the other way around. This kind of verdict, in which the jury knows the person didn't do anything wrong but feels compelled to give the cops "something" is quite common. Rickey plans to appeal.

During the trial, the prosecution brought up the fact that Rickey has filed seven complaints with the Civilian Review Authority. Since all of these complaints have magically disappeared without so much as an investigation, they tried to use this against Rickey, to imply that he is lying about being harassed. A few months ago, police federation prez John Delmonico threatened to go after people who file "false" complaints against police. Since the CRA almost never upholds a complaint, this is starting to look like an interesting tool for cops and the judicial system to use against people who dare to complain.

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

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