Tag Archives: Minneapolis

Polls: Four Weeks of Protest Have Radically Altered American Views on Police

American voters now support sweeping changes to policing; 83 percent want a ban on racial profiling, 92 percent want police to be required to wear body cameras and White Americans’ concern over police violence has increased by 50 percent since 2019.

By Alan Macleod  Published 6-19-2020 by MintPress News

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Just four weeks of protest have radically altered Americans’ views on the police and what their role in society should be. Once almost exclusively the domain of activist groups, moves to comprehensively change, defund or even abolish the police are rapidly gaining momentum with the public.

new study published this week by Data for Progress shows that voters overwhelmingly (58 percent to 24 percent) support the creation of a new agency of first responders to deal with problems in the community – an agency that would explicitly undermine the police’s purview. The public would like to see the service, whose agents would resemble social workers more than police officers, take over a great number of situations police currently deal with, including mental health crises, drug addiction problems (including overdoses), and issues regarding homelessness. Significant numbers of people want to see the new agency tackle issues like spousal abuse and all non-violent crimes as well. “For elected officials looking to strengthen their communities and take action in the face of mass protest on police brutality, creating a non police first-responder agency proves to be a popular option that deserves their attention,” the report concludes. Continue reading

Share Button

‘I Took the Helmet Off and Laid the Batons Down’: Michigan Sheriff and Police Didn’t Disperse Their Town’s Protest—They Joined It

“Do I think this has solved the issue between police and unarmed black, human beings? No. But I do believe that this type of leadership is a positive step in the right direction and gives me hope for black men and women around the world and for all of humanity.”

By Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2020

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson joins protesters as they walk for George Floyd. Screenshot: YouTube

Amid a national wave of uprisings against police brutality in response to last week’s brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota—but in contrast to a wave of aggressive and violent responses from law enforcement to those demonstrations—a scene in Flint, Michigan that played out Saturday evening offered an alternative to aggressive police tactics as a local sheriff and his fellow officers laid down their riot gear and joined with those members of the community who came out to voice their outrage and sorrow.

When Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson, his deputies, and local officers were confronted by community members who marched on the Flint Township police station, witnesses described how Swanson told the crowd he wanted their pleas to be heard and that the police wanted to be in service of their demands and the protest itself. Continue reading

Share Button

What ACLU Says Was Trump Call to “Literally Murder Protesters,” Facebook Says Doesn’t Violate Standards

“Facebook has once again failed to act against an explicit violation of its own rules and has allowed the violent and racist post to remain up.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2020

Photo: Anthony Quintano/flickr/CC

Civil rights advocates are condemning Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg over a decision announced late Friday to let stand a post by President Donald Trump that threatened to have the U.S. National Guard open fire on demonstrators in Minneapolis enraged over the police killing of George Floyd.

While the ACLU earlier on Friday condemned the social media post by Trump—a message that was shared on both Twitter and Facebook—as “hypocritical, immoral, and illegal” and nothing less than a call to “literally murder protesters,” Zuckerberg in his statement said Facebook “decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.” Continue reading

Share Button

Riot or resistance? How media frames unrest in Minneapolis will shape public’s view of protest

Protesters outside of a burning Minneapolis police precinct. AP Photo/John Minchillo

Danielle K. Kilgo, Indiana University

A teenager held her phone steady enough
to capture the final moments of George Perry Floyd’s life as he apparently suffocated under the weight of a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck. The video went viral.

What happened next has played out time and again in American cities after high-profile cases of alleged police brutality.

Vigils and protests were organized in Minneapolis and around the United States to demand police accountability. But while investigators and officials called for patience, unrest boiled over. News reports soon carried images of property destruction and police in riot gear. Continue reading

Share Button

Minnesota churches face tough questions in offering sanctuary to immigrants

Protecting immigrants is vital work, but what happens when the police arrive at your door?

By Christopher Zumski Finke. Published 3-17-2017 by YES! Magazine

Police monitoring the crowds at the Minnesota Women’s March. Credit: Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

In 1982, a man by the pseudonym René Hurtado found himself living in a suburban church in Minnesota. He had fled El Salvador, his home country, after participating in a U.S.-backed military unit during a civil war. After coming to the United States, he spoke out about the terrible things he had done—torturing prisoners with electrocution and needles, for example—as a member of the CIA-trained Salvadoran military. El Salvador wanted him back, and the U.S. government wanted him deported. Instead, Hurtado hunkered down at St. Luke Presbyterian Church in Hennepin County, Minnesota, while his case played out in the national media and in immigration courts.

Hurtado still lives in Minnesota more than 30 years later. Today, his story has new relevance as Minnesota’s churches again embrace their role as sanctuary spaces, this time in response to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and aggressive deportation policies. Continue reading

Share Button

How Black Lives Matter came back stronger after white supremacist attacks

By Celia Kutz. Published 11-30-2015 at Waging Nonviolence

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis marches after the shooting by white supremacists. (Facebook/Adja Gildersleve)

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis marches after the shooting by white supremacists. (Facebook/Adja Gildersleve)

When five protesters were shot by white supremacists in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 22, my world turned a bit upside down. My time as an activist there, from 2006-13, has largely informed how I organize and do movement building. I knew at a lot of the people involved and was quickly on the phone. The protesters’ campaign demanded justice for Jamar Clark, an unarmed African American who was killed by Minneapolis police a week before.

I knew that the protest site, the Fourth Precinct Police Station on Plymouth Avenue, had previously been the location of a storefront center for black activism named The WAY. Thirty-five years ago, Police Chief Anthony Bouza bragged about how he would turn the site into a police station to show who was on top. Now the location spotlights the violent police role in institutionalized racism in Minnesota. It’s no wonder that freelance shooters would show up. Continue reading

Share Button

Minneapolis as the ‘New South’: Police Data Shows Severe Racial Disparities

‘In Minneapolis, the eyes of the law look at Blacks and Native Americans differently than whites,’ says ACLU

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published May 28, 2015

In Picking Up the Pieces, the ACLU “demonstrates how racial inequalities in the city extend to the way police enforce low-level offenses, which only increases the feelings of alienation many Minneapolis residents of color have towards state and local government more generally.” (Photo: Taber Andrew Bain/flickr/cc)

Black people and Native Americans in Minneapolis face “extreme racial disparities” at the hands of local law enforcement, with black residents nearly 9 times more likely than whites to be arrested for a low-level offense, according to a new analysis released Thursday.

“Minneapolis police show the same patterns of racial bias that we’re seeing across the country and that demand reform,” said Emma Andersson, staff attorney with the ACLU, whose Criminal Law Reform Project worked with the ACLU of Minnesota to examine more than 96,000 arrests made by Minneapolis police officers for low-level offenses—any offense with a fine of $3,000 or less and/or a year or less in jail—from January 2012 through September 2014.

“In Minneapolis,” Andersson continued, “the eyes of the law look at Blacks and Native Americans differently than whites. The resulting injustices—more fees and fines, more time in jail, more criminal records—hurt Minneapolitans and undermine public safety.” Continue reading

Share Button

Minnesota Nice At Last?

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that six cities will be pilot sites for a federal program. The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice was announced last September, and is aimed at reducing racial bias and improving ties between law enforcement and communities. The six pilot cities are Fort Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Stockton, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.

Now, you’re probably thinking: “OK – I can understand Gary, Fort Worth and Birmingham. Stockton and Pittsburgh I can understand. But Minneapolis? Minnesota nice?”  

Yes, Minneapolis – and it belongs on the list. Last October, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota released a report which shows that a black person is 8.86 times more likely to be arrested than a white person for disorderly conduct, 7.54 times more likely to be arrested for vagrancy and 11.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. Continue reading

Share Button