Communities United Against Police BrutalityTM is a Twin-Cities based organization that was created to deal with police brutality on an ongoing basis. We work on the day-to-day abuses as well as taking on the more extreme cases. Our overriding goal is to create a climate of resistance to abuse of authority by police organizations and to empower local people with a structure that can take on police brutality and actually bring it to an end. We provide support for survivors of police brutality and families of victims so they can reclaim their dignity and join the struggle to end police brutality.
CITY PROPOSING TERRIBLE CHANGE TO POLICE OVERSIGHT MECHANISM
Minneapolis is trying to pretend it is addressing the many problems with the Office of Police Conduct Review, including their dismally low 0.7% discipline rate for complaints from community members. However, what they are proposing will not fix this agency--it actually creates even more problems. After two months, the city finally released the actual ordinance language. It's even worse than we could possibly have imagined.
CUAPB RELEASES VIDEO SHOWING TEKLE SUNDBERG SHOOTING WAS NOT JUSTIFIED
CUAPB has obtained video from a community member that captured the critical moments before Tekle Sundberg was shot and killed by police. To place the video in context, we compiled it with other videos showing the scene from various angles and perspectives. The only conclusion that can be reached from this video evidence is that the MPD shooting of Tekle Sundberg was not justified.
Under Minnesota Statute 609.066, officers may only use deadly force when their lives or the lives of others are imperiled based on the totality of the circumstances in the immediate moment that deadly force is used. What that means is that the decision to kill someone cannot be based on their behavior hours earlier. It must be based on what happened in that moment.
At the time Tekle was shot by MPD snipers Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine, he was standing in the window of his apartment, breaking out bits of glass from the window. He may have had a knife or cell phone in his hand but it is clear he did not have a gun in his hand and posed no immediate danger to police or the public.
Article: Bystander Video Raises Questions in Sundberg Killing (Southwest Connector, August 31, 2022)
MDHR and DOJ INVESTIGATIONS of the MINNEAPOLIS POLICE
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) recently completed an investigation into the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department. You can read the result of their investigation here.
The US Department of Justice is in the midst of their investigation of the Minneapolis Police. Like the MDHR, they are looking at the use of force by the police and whether the police engage in racial discrimination. They are also looking at the use of force against protesters and police treatment of people with disabilities, including people living with mental illness. We have asked them to look into MPD treatment of people experiencing homelessness and the MPD’s poor quality of investigations into murders of people of color.
Our goal is to make sure these investigations are informed by the experiences and demands of the community.
What's the timeline for these investigations?
The MDHR investigation is complete. The DOJ investigation is expected to continue until the end of 2022.
What will come out of these investigations?
The MDHR is putting together a consent decree--a list of required changes. The consent decree will then be presented in court and Minneapolis will be ordered to follow it. The city risks sanctions (fines) if they don't follow it. The MDHR is gathering community input and expects to submit the consent decree to the court in September. They will also select a monitor
If the DOJ investigation is done well, they will learn about the many issues with policing in Minneapolis. They will also put together a consent decree. If the city doesn’t follow it, the federal government could take over our police department, a process called receivership.
Here’s how you can get involved:
- Help decide what should become part of the consent decree.
- Use this form to share your experience and ideas with the MDHR and DOJ.
- Help us collect other people’s experiences and ideas.
You can also report your experiences with the Minneapolis Police directly to the DOJ. Call 866-432-0268 or email [email protected]
This is an important opportunity to address our policing issues—we all need to be part of the solution!
STOLEN LIVES JUSTICE FUND
We refer to people who have lost their lives through the actions of law enforcement as Stolen Lives. CUAPB helps many families of stolen lives to gather evidence in their cases, hire an attorney, deal with media, etc. We also operate a fund to help pay for independent autopsies, investigators, legal fees and other needs that allow families to achieve a measure of justice.
We have started a newsletter that will feature cases we are working on and the impact of the Stolen Lives Justice Fund in the lives of families. Please check out these editions. Please consider supporting the fund by becoming a monthly sustainer. Your help makes a world of difference to the families of people lost to police violence.
Stolen Lives Justice Fund Newsletter #1 (October 2021)
The City of Minneapolis hired the firm Hillard Heintz to write an after-action report on the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) response to the uprising that followed the killing of George Floyd. Despite being paid $229,490.55 for the 86-page report, they looked at only 30 hours of body camera footage --that's three hours a day for the ten days they covered in their report. They talked to only a few people who were hand-selected by the city, and otherwise engaged in poor practices in preparing this biased report. Their focus on central command structure issues while erasing essential historical context, their tendency to frame protesters as outside of the community and not members of the community, and their lack of attention to violations of civil rights and civil liberties render this report invalid.
It would seem that this after-action report’s purpose is to orchestrate a more efficient quelling of dissent rather than examining the root causes of that dissent. The HH report provides a city-friendly narrative that it's the protesters that are the real problem, not the continued police violence that the City enables and that the community is forced to protest. Thus, it takes us in the wrong direction entirely.
The city’s reliance on a biased corporate entity to prepare this report is part of a trend of privatizing police reform, rather than listening to and adopting community recommendations. When the city contracts this work to outside entities, it is those firms -- not the public -- who shape the direction and scope of police “reform,” which in this case looks like increased militarization and suppression of dissent.