Minneapolis Mayoral Forum : Replay of the Live Zoom

On Wednesday September 22nd, Racial Justice Network facilitated a conversation between 7 of the Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates.

This was a virtual gathering to explore local community topics through a racial justice lens. Empowering the community to make informed voting decisions in the city elections.
The following candidates participated:
  • Jacob Frey
  • Kate Knuth
  • Sheila Nezhad
  • A.J. Awed
  • Clint Conner
  • Jerrell Perry
  • Paul E. Johnson

The conversation was moderated by Civil Rights Attorney and Activist, Dr. Nekima Levy Armstrong.


Virtual Minneapolis Mayoral Forum Sep. 22

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Racial Justice Network to Hold Virtual Mayoral Forum on Wednesday, September 22

Forum will focus on Racial Justice topics with an emphasis on Criminal Justice

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Racial Justice Network (RJN), a local grassroots organization fighting for racial justice, is holding a series of virtual candidate forums focusing on the upcoming Minneapolis Elections.

On Wednesday, September 22 at 6:30pm, RJN will host seven mayoral candidates including the incumbent, Mayor Jacob Frey. Other confirmed participants are:

  • Kate Knuth

  • Sheila Nezhad

  • A.J. Awed

  • Clint Connor

  • Jerrell Perry

  • Paul E. Johnson

The question and answer portion of the forum will focus on racial justice topics in Minneapolis. A particular focus will be on the candidates’ plan for an equitable public safety system.

“The upcoming city elections will be consequential in determining the next steps towards racial justice in the City of Minneapolis”, said Nekima Levy Armstrong, founder of the Racial Justice Network, attorney, and forum moderator. “It is important for all of us to engage in this election and become informed on each candidate’s platform for bringing justice and equity to Minneapolis. This forum will provide a unique opportunity to learn about these candidates and their plans.”

The virtual forum will be broadcast live on the Racial Justice Network’s Facebook page and will remain there for future viewing by Minneapolis residents.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. https://racialjusticenetwork.com/ 


Silence From Minneapolis City Leaders In Response To Community Stress, Trauma, And Violence

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13, 2021

Silence From Minneapolis City Leaders In Response To Community Stress, Trauma, And Violence

Minneapolis, MN— In just the last four days, the northside community of Minneapolis has experienced a terrifying amount of gunfire at all times of the day and night, in highly populated neighborhoods, near parks and outdoor pools; leaving children and families running for cover outside and inside of their homes. The names of the five people who were fatally shot have not been released; our condolences to the impacted families. To date, city leaders have not made any statements about actions they can and will take to address the immediate needs of the people impacted by this recent rise in community violence.

To fully understand the magnitude of community violence experienced during the last four days, view the City of Minneapolis’ Shots Fired Map. According to the Shots Fired Map, during August 7th – 10th, 2021:

  • 17 shooting incidents were reported, including 5 fatal shooting incidents; 5 people died from gunshot wounds and 12 people survived;
  • 14 of the shooting incidents occurred in north Minneapolis, 4 fatal incidents;
  • 2 shooting incidents occurred in south Minneapolis, 1 fatal incident;
  • 1 shooting incident occurred in downtown Minneapolis, 0 fatal incidents;
  • 97 incidents of gunfire were detected in north Minneapolis and 6 incidents in south Minneapolis by the City’s shotspotter’s devices.

Note: A shotspotter incident does not equal the number of bullets detected; many bullets could be fired and detected in a single incident.

As some may recall, on June 17th, 2020, the mayor and city council declared racism a public health emergency in Minneapolis and published a Resolution with ten actions to address systemic racism in the city, acknowledging the “severe impact racism has on the well-being of residents and overall the city,” with promises of funding, resources and staff to address the harm caused by racism and white supremacy, including the following action: “Develop a comprehensive rapid response protocol to immediate needs and long-term work to address systemic inequities.This includes activating the Office of Emergency Management and Incident Command System, the Health Department, the Division of Race & Equity, and other public facing departments to respond to community stress and trauma.”.

Right now, city leaders need to hold themselves accountable to the promises they made to the community over a year ago to provide resources, including financial resources “to respond to the community stress and trauma.” Emergency resources are needed for mental health, chemical health, medical health, housing and basic needs. We at Racial Justice Network want city leaders to share their “comprehensive rapid response protocol” to address the urgent, and immediate needs for our children, youth, and families living in north Minneapolis. This is a public health crisis that must be addressed with a greater sense of urgency.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com


Follow-up to the RJN's Demand for Brian Cummings to be Fired

JULY 30, 2021

Mayor Jacob Frey 
Minneapolis City Hall
350 Fifth St. S., Room 331
Minneapolis, MN 55415 

Chief Medaria Arradondo 
Minneapolis City Hall
350 Fifth St. S., Room 130
Minneapolis, MN 55415 

City Attorney Jim Rowader 
Minneapolis City Hall
350 Fifth St. S., Room 210
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Penned from–

The Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Racial Justice Network

In follow-up to the Racial Justice Network’s Demand for Brian Cummings to be Fired

Dear Mayor Frey, Chief Arradondo, and City Attorney Rowader:

On July 8, the Racial Justice Network released a press statement in response to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) killing of Leneal Frazier, an innocent Black man, on July 6 during a high-speed police pursuit in North Minneapolis. In our press statement, we called for the immediate firing of Brian Cummings for his dangerous, reckless behavior. We have yet to receive a response; and this letter is a follow up to our demand.

Frazier was a beloved father and the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teen who courageously filmed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of MPD. The trauma and pain that Darnella and her family have been forced to experience is unimaginable. The officers’ history of alleged misconduct prior to these deadly encounters are very similar. Both Derek Chauvin and Brian Cummings had multiple complaints in which they were never held accountable for their misconduct. The enabling behavior by top city leadership empowers officers like Cummings to pursue an alleged carjacking suspect with the same cowboy attitude that we saw during the killing of Winston Smith by the North Star Task Force, or the killing of Jamar Clark or the killing of Terrance Franklin. The consistent outcome was no discipline in each of these cases. It is a troubling pattern of forgiveness toward officer misconduct that sends the message that reckless and dangerous behaviour will not lead to any real consequences. It also sends the message that Black lives do not matter within the city of Minneapolis.

In what industry or career field can an employee be granted so many second chances when they have shown such a clear pattern of incompetency to conduct their job at an acceptable level? Petty crimes, petty violations and infractions, and non-violent offenses often land the ordinary citizen in jail, but Brian Cummings can assault a mentally ill and accumulate 11 complaints and three lawsuits while continuing to collect paychecks. We demand simple accountability for police misconduct; consequences that serve to deter abhorrent behavior so families like the Fraziers can heal instead of reel from another death at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Would any other Minneapolis citizen working any other job be granted this much leniency for misconduct that resulted in such a severe outcome? No.

In 2019, MPD revised its pursuit policy to state that police may no longer initiate a pursuit or must terminate a pursuit in progress if it “poses an unreasonable risk to the officers, the public or passengers of the vehicle being pursued who may be unwilling participants.” Clearly this chase posed an unreasonable risk to the public since a Black man’s life was stolen in the process. Despite suspected carjacking pursuits being specifically risky, Officer Cummings engaged in a known dangerous pursuit against department policy.

Minneapolis became the epicenter for police reform after the murder of George Floyd, yet we have not seen any substantive change in the Minneapolis Police Department in the past 14 1/2 months. You have the power to change this pattern and you can start by firing Brian Cummings. Mayor Frey, Chief Arradondo, City Attorney Rowader, honor your commitment to justice, accountability and reform by firing Brian Cummings immediately for his reckless and dangerous behavior that resulted in the killing of Leneal Frazier.

Sincerely,

The Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Racial Justice Network


Contact Mike Freeman to Demand Charges Against John Rieple for the Murder of Calvin Horton during the George Floyd Protests

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 21, 2021

Contact Mike Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney to Demand Charges Against John Rieple for the Murder of Calvin Horton during the George Floyd Protests

Minneapolis, MN— On the evening of May 27th, 2020 during protests for George Floyd, Calvin Horton was allegedly shot and killed by John Rieple while he was unarmed on the sidewalk outside of the former Cadillac Pawn and Jewelry store. Bystander video posted to Facebook shows Minneapolis police and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies outside of the store shouting and motioning to a crowd of people on the sidewalk and street to move away from the area as the sound of gunfire is heard in the background, “There’s somebody in there with a rifle. Back up!”

As this was happening, bystanders, police and deputies were also attending to Calvin Horton who was shot in the back and had collapsed onto the sidewalk, unresponsive, a few feet away from the store; in front of a restaurant where they ended up moving him inside as John Rieple allegedly continued to fire rounds into the crowd. Tragically, Calvin Horton did not survive and died from gunshot wounds while waiting for EMS to arrive.

John Rieple was arrested on the scene and held for probable cause at the Hennepin County jail for 36 hours, and then released without murder charges. Six months later, Mike Freeman announced he would not bring murder charges against John Rieple, citing “lack of evidence.” The MPD detectives and Hennepin County prosecutors did not retrieve John Rieple’s rifle at the scene or the store surveillance video, and did not subpoena Rieple’s cloud service provider for copies of the surveillance video. In addition, they did not subpoena the cloud service providers of the surveillance cameras in the area of Bloomington Avenue and Lake Street, which had at least five visible cameras.

This Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 would have been Calvin Horton’s 45th birthday and we are asking the community to join us outside of the former Cadillac Pawn and Jewelry store to honor Calvin Horton in remembrance with his family. We are also asking the community to contact Mike Freeman’s office at 612-348-5550 and citizeninfo@hennepin.us to demand that he reopen Calvin Horton’s case, gather the surveillance video and bring murder charges against John Rieple. In the state of Minnesota, under statute 609.06, Authorized Use of Force, citizens have a duty to retreat and deadly force can only be used in cases of bodily harm, for physical attacks and not to protect property.

We believe there is enough evidence to bring charges against John Rieple, and that the City of Minneapolis has a duty to protect the community against vigilantes more concerned with protecting their insured property than the rights of unarmed protestors exercising their First Amendment rights after a brutal police killing.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com


Representative John Thompson has been UnfairlyTargeted due to his Outspokenness on Police Violence

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 15, 2021

Representative John Thompson has been UnfairlyTargeted due to his Outspokenness on Police Violence
Community Groups stand in solidarity with Representative John Thompson

Minneapolis, MN— On July 4, Representative John Thompson was pulled over for a missing front license plate. This is a common experience for Black men in St. Paul and around the state and country. Law enforcement “finds” a reason to target Black men for items that have nothing to do with public safety. These pretextual stops are an example of “Driving While Black” and an example of racial profiling. The data proves this is a rampant problem in St. Paul. Last year, 43% of all traffic stops were of Black drivers while only 16% of St. Paul’s population is Black. Such pretextual stops rarely yield any substantive impact to public safety and more often are a form of harassment that white people do not face at the same rates. These stops also have led to the police killing of Black men including Philando Castille in 2016, a close friend to Representative Thompson; and more recently to Daunte Wright, a young Black father killed by police in April of this year.

Representative Thompson is being unfairly targeted by his fellow legislators, Governor Walz, and the chair of the DFL party, Ken Martin, for this minor issue. These same individuals rarely use this same, aggressive energy towards their fellow white legislators when they were committed of DWIs, sexual harassment and domestic violence. They also rarely, if ever, hold police accountable when they use excessive force or kill a community member. These individuals also held a second legislative session since the murder of George Floyd without passing any meaningful police accountability bills. It is important to note that Representative Thompson used his voice and influence to push for these bills to get passed; to no avail.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) is using its platform to denigrate Representative Thompson, a Black man and politician, because of his outspokenness on police violence and his commitment to passing meaningful police accountability bills in the Minnesota State Legislature.

The media has also played a role in the vilifying of Representative Thompson. Media outlets rushed to judgement and did not take the opportunity to expose the racial disparities and long-standing patterns of racial profiling that Representative Thompson was speaking about. Instead, the media chose to be a mouthpiece for the St. Paul Police Department

“I am dismayed to see the attacks on one of our few Black male legislators”, said Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network. She continued, “This has gone into the realm of targeting and harassment of a Black elected official simply because he has been one of the most prominent and outspoken voices against police violence and police brutality.”

“The MPPOA needs to end their attacks on Representative Thompson immediately,” said Pete Gamades from the Racial Justice Network.” “If MPPOA would take this same aggressive stance against police officers who commit violence and terrorize Black and brown communities, the community would be in a far better place.”

We are demanding that this aggressive targeting of Representative John Thompson end. We call on Governor Tim Walz and the chair of the Minnesota DFL party, Ken Martin, to retract their negative, gaslighting statements and show support for one of the few Black elected officials within the Minnesota DFL party. Lastly, we call on St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell to acknowledge the glaring racial disparities in police stops by his department and commit to eliminating racial profiling and police abuse.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com


MPD kills another Black Man during high-speed chase

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 8, 2021

MPD kills another Black Man during high-speed chase

Community Groups demand officer Brian Cummings is fired immediately and that MPD follows its own policy to end high-risk pursuits

Minneapolis, MN— At around 12:30 AM on July 6th, Leneal Frazier, a Black man, was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) during a high-speed chase. Frazier was an innocent bystander who was not involved in the police pursuit. Frazier was a father and the uncle of Darnella Frazier, the teen who courageously filmed the murder of George Floyd. The trauma and pain that Darnella and her family have been forced to experience is unimaginable.

The dangerous, high-speed chase that resulted in Frazier’s death should have never happened. In 2019, MPD revised its pursuit policy to state that police may no longer initiate a pursuit or must terminate a pursuit in progress if it “poses an unreasonable risk to the officers, the public or passengers of the vehicle being pursued who may be unwilling participants.” Clearly this chase posed an unreasonable risk to the public since a Black man’s life was stolen in the process. We demand that MPD follow its own policy and put an immediate end to these dangerous high-speed pursuits.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. In October, 2020, three Black teenagers were killed during a similar high-speed police pursuit. There was seemingly no accountability for the tragic deaths of these children.

When officers are not held accountable for their actions, it sends a signal that their behavior is acceptable, even when their actions lead to unnecessary fatalities. Brian Cummings, the officer who recklessly crashed his squad car into Leneal Frazier’s vehicle, has a long record of complaints with no discipline. This is eerily reminiscent of Derek Chauvin’s long track record of misconduct and abuse of civilians, with little to no discipline by MPD. One database indicates 11 complaints have been filed against Cummings and three separate lawsuits. One lawsuit, settled by the city of Minneapolis, alleged that Mr. Cummings used excessive force when tasing someone on a mental health call.

“Yet again, another Black man is killed by MPD. Whether it is with their vehicle, knee or gun, Black people are not safe from the violence of those who are supposed to protect and serve”, said Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network. She continued, “Our prayers are with the Frazier family as they have to endure compounding traumas inflicted on their family by MPD.”

“When will Mayor Jacob Frey take decisive action to end the violence of MPD?,” said Billie Jean Van Knight from the Racial Justice Network. The miniscule changes that Mayor Jacob Frey has put forward have not stopped police violence. The Mayor must go beyond catchphrases, platitudes and minor tweaks to our system of policing. Instead of fixing this system which routinely fails, underserves and abuses Black residents, he has continuously asked for more funding for police, which does not solve these problems.”

We are demanding that Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Arradondo fire Brian Cummings immediately for unjustifiably killing Leneal Frazier. Cummings also needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for recklessly using his car as a weapon on a residential street. Finally, we demand a complete and thorough review of all MPD policies related to high-speed pursuits.

 

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com


Letter to Gov Walz, Re: Winston Smith

JUNE 10, 2021

The Honorable Tim Walz
Governor of Minnesota

130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55155

Penned from–

Members of the Racial Justice Network

In response to the violent and horrific death of a Black man and father, Winston Smith, who was killed last week by Sheriff’s Deputies from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties under the authority of the U.S. Marshals

Dear Governor Walz,

As the world watches Minnesota and our demands for genuine transformation, accountability, and transparency within our system of policing, we face yet another violent and horrific death of a Black man and father at the hands of law enforcement.

Winston Smith was killed last week by Sheriff’s Deputies from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties under the authority of the U.S. Marshals.

The public has received scant details about what happened and why and even those details have changed repeatedly over the last few days. Not only has the public been told that there is no body camera or dash camera footage available, which is unfathomable in 2021; but now we are being told by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) that the identities of the officers will not be revealed because they were supposedly acting undercover.

It appears that no one is accepting responsibility or taking accountability for the police killing of Winston Smith.

As Minnesota residents, we deserve better and we demand better. Since you became Governor, multiple people have been killed by police under very questionable circumstances. Yet, we have not seen the calls for more transparency, stronger policies to protect the public from unwarranted police violence, and a more robust disciplinary system be addressed by you or your administration with a sense of urgency. 

We have made clear for many years that the BCA is not a credible or competent agency for investigating killings by police officers. In addition to their lack of credibility, the BCA has major conflicts of interest which should result in the agency’s immediate removal from investigating the police killing of Winston Smith.

As you may know, Ramona Dohman, the current head of the U.S. Marshals for the District of Minnesota is the former boss of Drew Evans, the BCA Superintendent; stemming from her time as Commissioner of Public Safety for Minnesota.

Further, the Star Tribune recently reported that some BCA agents have been deputized by the U.S. Marshals to become members of their task force(s). Thus, we believe that it is impossible to expect a fair and impartial investigation. What we have seen thus far is evidence of a cover-up of the killing of Winston Smith.

We, the members of the Racial Justice Network, are calling for the following demands to be met:

  • Immediately bar the BCA and all law enforcement agencies from participating in the US Marshal’s Northstar Task Force and any other federal task forces;
  • Immediately remove the BCA from investigating the shooting of Winston Smith and request an independent federal investigation;
  • Create an independent panel to review task force agency conduct and the memorandum(a) of agreement/understanding between Minnesota law enforcement agencies and federal law enforcement agencies. The independent panel should report findings and recommendations to the public; and there should be accountability for officers who engaged in civil rights and human rights violations of civilians;
  • Hold Minnesota law enforcement officers who participated on the NorthStar Task Force that killed Winston Smith accountable under law. Their identities should also be released to the public, as well as any footage regarding this police killing;
  • Pass meaningful police reform legislation and use your executive power and resources to establish an Independent Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute killings by law enforcement officers in the state of Minnesota.

The truth of what happened to Winston Smith and so many other individuals who have been killed by police in Minnesota, remains hidden beneath the thin blue line of injustice because of policy failures at the highest levels. 

Governor Walz, the world is watching. We demand change. We demand a response from you and decisive action. We are not looking for lip service, politics as usual, or empty rhetoric. Even with all eyes on Minnesota, we continue to experience the same violent policing and adherence to qualified immunity that encourages lethal tactics and abuse of citizens. We demand change, not more empty promises.

Sincerely,

Racial Justice Network


Lack of Transparency in Federal Law Enforcement Task Force

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address: pete.gamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-310-6151

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 5, 2021

Lack of Transparency in Federal Law Enforcement Task Force

Community Groups ask who is in charge and what are the terms of the MOA in light of a recent killing of a Black man by police in Minneapolis 

Minneapolis, MN— On Thursday, June 3, a Black man was brutally shot and killed by local and federal law enforcement agencies in Minneapolis. Winston Smith was a father of three and a local comedian. Details surrounding the circumstances of his death have been scant and have changed frequently.

According to early reports, the law enforcement officers who shot Mr. Smith were operating under the “North Star Fugitive Task Force” led by the US Marshal Service. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said there is no dash cam video or body worn camera footage of the incident because the US Marshal Service does not allow it. However, the Minnesota US Attorney’s Office confirmed this is not factually accurate. Law enforcement officers participating on Federal Task Forces are allowed to use body worn cameras.

There are so many questions that need answers; and the lack of transparency by law enforcement officials is incredibly alarming. For example:

  • Why was this Task Force allowed to operate without body worn cameras? Did Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey sign off on this decision?

  • What policies and procedures does this Task Force operate under and who is accountable for their actions?

  • What are the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between this Task Force and local government?

  • Why did this task force place everyone in unnecessary danger by trapping and ambushing Mr. Smith in a parking lot in a busy part of town?

  • Why is there a pattern of these dangerous apprehension tactics being used like in this case and in Dolal Idd’s case?

“The lack of transparency in the MOA allows all of these agencies to escape responsibility for lying, their faulty decision-making and devaluing of Black life”, said Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network. She continued, “We need real answers about what happened and why; who authorized this and why are they silent about it? Black people are not safe in this city.”

“We see white armed suspects apprehended without incident over and over again,” said Billie Jean Van Knight from the Racial Justice Network. “These aggressive tactics do not keep the community safe, but actively damage it.”

We are demanding that law enforcement officials and state and local political leaders such as Mayor Jacob Frey promptly answer these questions coming from the community. We also demand a complete and thorough review of all task forces working in the City of Minneapolis. This review needs to include a detailed action plan to end these aggressive tactics and to increase transparency and accountability in how the city is being policed.

 

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com


Community & George Floyd Square Caretakers Condemn the City of Minneapolis for Closing GFS

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Jaylani Hussein, CAIR-MN Executive Director
Email address: jhussein@cair.com
Phone: 612-406-0070

 

Media Contact: Zaynab Mohamed, CAIR-MN Community Advocacy Manager
Email address: zmohamed@cair.com
Phone: 612-229-5585

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 3, 2021

Community and George Floyd Square Caretakers to Condemn the City of Minneapolis for Closing George Floyd Square and Reopening the Street Without Meeting the Demands of the Community.

Minneapolis, MN-This morning, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) will Join the Community leaders and George Floyd Square caretakers to Condemn the City of Minneapolis for opening the George Floyd Square Without meeting the demands of the community.

 

See: See: Minneapolis workers clear traffic barricades at George Floyd Square

COMMUNITY MEMBERS FIERCELY OPPOSE INHUMANE ATTEMPTS BY THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS TO SHUT DOWN GEORGE FLOYD SQUARE

Please be advised that today at Noon (12pm), June 3rd, 2021, leaders and community members will be holding a press conference at George Floyd Square regarding the inhumane actions of the city of Minneapolis in attempting to shut down George Floyd Square.

At around 5AM today, the city of Minneapolis sent dozens of city workers, bulldozers, and other equipment to George Floyd Square to remove mementos, signs, and other precious items left by visitors, as well as barricades surrounding the square. The actions of city officials to disrupt and dismantle a sacred memorial site to get back to business-as-usual is highly disturbing, traumatizing, and inhumane.

WHEN: Thursday, June 3rd at 12:00 PM 

WHERE: George Floyd Square – 38th & Chicago

CONTACT:
CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070, jhussein@cair.com;
CAIR-MN Community Advocacy Manager Zaynab Mohamed, 612-229-5585, Zmohamed@cair.com

“I was traumatized by the reopening of the street at George Floyd Square. I just cried because it was traumatizing to see what has happened. No one told me or the community. But one thing I will not do even though they opened the street: I will never drive my car down the street where my nephew was killed, knowing that he had cried out for his mama,” said Angela Harrelson, Aunt of George Floyd and Co-chair of the board of the George Floyd Global Memorial.

 

George Floyd Square has become a local, national, and international place for healing, memorialization of the life of George Floyd and many others who have been killed by police, and a place of resistance against oppression, racism, and white supremacy. There is literally no other place like it in the world.

 

“For the last 12 months, I have served as one of many volunteer caretakers of George Floyd Square. All I could do was weep when I saw how the city worked to tear down the one sacred space we have to memorialize those who have been killed by police. There are no words for the pain I feel. The fight for justice continues, said Jeanelle Austin, South Minneapolis resident and volunteer.

 

Jaylani Hussein executive of CAIR-MN said, “George Floyd square should be respected and the demands by the community for police accountability has yet to be met. The case for the remaining officers is pending and GFS is and will always be a national memorial for victims of police violence.”

 

Last August, activists and community members presented a list of 24 demands to city leaders in order to address the short and long term concerns of community members, including the lack of economic opportunity in the community surrounding George Floyd Square (See Justice Resolution here). The city has not met those demands or responded in good faith to community concerns.

CAIR-MN’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

La misión de CAIR-MN es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

––

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines. racialjusticenetwork.com