5/10/2003 Newsletter


  • Hearing on INS/MPD Separation
  • Mebrat Yeazizw Case
  • Know Your Rights Training
  • Ete'u Spencer Case
  • School-Land Security? Cop Photographed Class Projects

Here is a list of important events/court support opportunities this week:

Monday, May 12: Minneapolis City Council Hearing on INS/COP Separation Ordinance
1:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
305 S 5th Street, Room 317
In the aftermath of the USA Patriot Act and other repressive measures, John Ashcroft has been trying to get local police departments around the country to agree to become extensions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). This would mean that cops would not just turn over undocumented people if they commit a crime but would actively go out and round up people for the INS. We've been working in coalition with other organizations for months trying to block such an arrangement in Minneapolis by having the city pass an ordinance preventing police from entering into an agreement with Ashcroft. This public hearing is an important opportunity to show our support for the ordinance and urge the council to pass it. Please be there and bring your friends!

Thursday, May 15: Extremely Important Free Speech Case
8:30 a.m.
Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Courtroom 100
St. Paul
Oral argument will be held in the Minnesota Court of Appeals case State v. Yeazizw. This is a case in which police arrested Mebrat Yeazizw for disorderly conduct by speech because she stated to them: "you're arresting me because I'm Black." The purpose of this appeal is to get the disorderly conduct by speech statute stricken as unconstitutional because it is used against so many people of color, activists and others. Another important element of this case is that it provides an opportunity for the court to put some teeth into a doctrine that allows racial/ethnic minorities to get criminal cases dismissed if they have a racist motive. We need to let the courts (and cops) know that we care about these issues and that we are watching. Let's pack the courtroom!

Saturday, May 24: STOP POLICE BRUTALITY BEFORE IT STARTS Know Your Rights When Dealing With Police
2:00 p.m.
IATP Building
2104 Stevens Avenue
Community meeting and training session on how to protect your rights and survive an encounter with police. Topics include:
· Knowing Your Rights
· What to Say (and What Not to Say) to a Police Officer
· Dealing with Traffic Stops
· Your Rights Regarding Searches
· Your Rights Regarding ID Cards
· What to Do (and Not Do) if Arrested
This training will be presented jointly by CUAPB and the National Lawyers Guild--MN Chapter. We'll also be presenting information on what to do if you are brutalized by police and about our class action lawsuit. Be there!

The case of Ete'u Spencer, a man severely attacked by a Minneapolis police dog, was highlighted this week in City Pages. See Paul Demko's first-rate article:
http://www.citypages.com/ (click on article entitled "Dog Bites Man").

We're very proud of the role we've played in helping Mr. Spencer get justice. We first heard from Ete'u on our hotline soon after he came out of the hospital for his injuries. We met with him the next day. As we were meeting with him, he received a call on his cell phone from his public defender, who was badgering him to "take a deal" when he hadn't done anything wrong. We were able to immediately put him in touch with a defense attorney who has his best interests at heart, and a civil attorney who will work with him on a suit against the city for his injuries. When the time comes, we will go with him to court, as we have done with many others. Ete'u will also be part of our class action suit.

Although he's had to go back to the hospital for further medical treatment, he has been getting out flyers and doing what he can to help the cause. He is taking his place as a fighter on this issue, to help the next person get justice. In this way, we work together to help the movement grow in numbers and strength.

Cop Photographed Class Projects
By Associated Press
May 5, 2003, 7:18 PM EDT

BARRE, Vt. -- A uniformed police officer persuaded a custodian to open a school in the middle of the night so he could photograph class projects he found objectionable as an American and as a military veteran.

The projects that Barre Town Police Officer John Mott photographed included a poster of President Bush with duct tape over his mouth and a large papier-mache combat boot with the American flag stuffed inside stepping on a doll.

"I wanted everybody else to see what was in that room," said Mott, who convinced a custodian to unlock the classroom door last month.

Although he was on duty at the time, Mott maintains he was on a break.

"I'm just taking a stand on what happens in that classroom as a resident and a voter and a taxpayer of this community," he said.

Superintendent Dorothy Anderson says she's concerned that Mott used his uniform to gain access to a locked classroom after hours without supervision.

"I find this behavior, at the very least, in violation of our policy for visitors at the school," she wrote in a letter to the police chief. "I also find it disturbing that a police officer would wear his uniform under such circumstances thereby intimidating our employee into letting him in the building at a very unusual hour."

Mott has at least temporarily refused orders from Barre Town Police Chief Michael Stevens and Town Manager Carl Rogers to supply school officials with copies of the photographs.

"I'm going to speak to an attorney first," he said.


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

Get our Newsletter or Volunteer Donate Contact Us


get updates