7/3/2008 Newsletter


  • Minneapolis City Council Endorses Rubber Bullets for Protesters
  • Bad Outcome in Maria Inamagua Death Probe: Lack of Medical Care Excused

Fight Back NOW While You Still Can!

Organizing Meeting
Saturday, July 5th
12:00 Noon
Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S. Minneapolis

In 2000, after a number of excessive force incidents by Minneapolis police against protesters, the community successfully pushed for a resolution that bans police from using rubber bullets, prevents cops from concealing their identities, blocks police from infiltrating groups and building dossiers on activists, and provides other important protections.

Over the last month, however, the Minneapolis City Council has been working on new resolutions. They claim they want to make it easier to exercise free speech but, in reality, they passed one resolution requiring us to get permits to demonstrate--something we’ve never had to do before. Then they passed another resolution that has some loosely-worded protections for activists but that throws out the 2000 resolution and all of its truly important protections.

There is a proposal on the table by council member Cam Gordon that would bring many of the important protections from the 2000 resolution into the new resolution. This proposal was shunted off to a council committee which was supposed to hear it on June 25th but they postponed it to their July 16th meeting at request of the police department.

If you want to be safe when protesting the RNC, members of this committee, the rest of the city council and the mayor need to hear from us NOW! They need to know we are not going to let them take away the hard-won protections of the 2000 resolution and we are not going to sit idly by while they empower cops to use rubber bullets on protesters. We need to demand they pass Cam Gordon’s proposed changes to Resolution 2008R-248: Resolution Adopting Police Policies Regarding Public Assemblies.

What can you do?
1) Come to the organizing meeting listed above
2) Contact city council members and mayor
3) Mark your calendar and attend the July 16th city council's PS&RS committee meeting at 1:00 p.m. at City Hall, room 317

City Council Members:
Paul Ostrow 612-673-2201 [email protected]
Cam Gordon 612-673-2202 [email protected]
Diane Hofstede 612-673-2203 [email protected]
Barb Johnson 612-673-2204 [email protected]
Don Samuels 612-673-2205 [email protected]
Robert Lilligren 612-673-2206 [email protected]
Lisa Goodman 612-673-2207 [email protected]
Elizabeth Glidden 612-673-2208 [email protected]
Gary Schiff 612-673-2209 [email protected]
Ralph Remington 612-673-2210 [email protected]
Scott Benson 612-673-2211 [email protected]
Sandra Colvin Roy 612-673-2212 [email protected]
Betsy Hodges 612-673-2213 [email protected]

R.T Rybak 612-673-2100 [email protected]


Ramsey County Jail Medical Practices Excused

U.S. says rare disease was fatal; activists object
By Tad Vezner

A federal report looking into the death of Maria Inamagua Merchan ­ an Ecuadorian woman who died after becoming ill and falling in her cell at Ramsey County Jail while awaiting deportation ­ concluded that jail staff could have done little to prevent her death.

But it added that some of the jail's medical practices were not up to required Immigration and Customs Enforcement standards.

The report, by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, noted that Merchan died in April 2006 of a "serious pre-existing medical condition," notably neurocysticercosis, a rare parasitic brain disease that is prevalent among Latin American immigrants.

"After discussions with clinical experts and a review of medical literature, we concluded that neither more timely medical attention for the head trauma nor a more timely initial medical exam would have ensured the detainee's recovery from neurocysticercosis," the report concluded.

Local activists, who called for the report more than two years ago, decried what they called its "narrow focus."

"This certainly flunks the standard for being prompt and impartial," said Peter Brown, a member of the national lawyers guild and member of the Maria Inamagua Campaign for Justice.

"All I can say is it bears the marks of a manipulated process, in that although (Inspector General) Richard Skinner promised in writing that they would evaluate all relevant detention standards, in fact they do not."

Brown said he was expecting a thorough review of whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, detention standards were being followed, including such things as grievance procedures, communication between ICE staff and detainees, the placement of detainees in general prison or jail populations. Brown contends that many of those standards were violated in Merchan's case.

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