Condemn the City of Bloomington for flying the thin blue line flag

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

May 27, 2021

CAIR-MN will Join Community Leaders and Faith Leaders to condemn the City of Bloomington for flying the thin blue line flag over the Bloomington city Police Department.

Minneapolis, MN— CAIR-MN will Join Community Leaders and Faith Leaders to condemn the city of Bloomington for flying the Thin blue line flag -a symbol of white supremacy over the Bloomington city Police Department.

 

See: Bloomington Council Minute May 19

 

The thin Blue line Flag Flown over the Bloomington city Police Department represents bigotry, white supremacy and ideology that is exclusionary and dangerous to black and brown bodies across America. Flying this flag over the Bloomington police department is especially insensitive during the time marking the one-year murder of George Floyd at the hands and knees of law enforcement. The thin blue line flag is a representation of keeping the status quo of unjust policing in the state of Minnesota and Community leaders along with faith leaders condemn this act and call for accountability.

WHEN: Thursday, May 27th at 11:00 AM 

WHERE1800 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington, MN 55431

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

 

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


Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict is a Powerful Step Towards Police Accountability; More Work to Be Done

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Kimberly Milliard
Email address: kdanneker@hotmail.com
Phone: 612-497-4507

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2021

Guilty Verdict against Derek Chauvin is a Powerful Step Towards Police Accountability; yet More Work Remains to Be Done

Minneapolis, MN— We are elated that the first step on the road to police accountability has been taken with the conviction of Derek Chauvin on all three charges for the heinous murder of George Floyd. The guilty verdict in this case is a cause for celebration for the Black community and all people looking to live in a better world.  We celebrate the years-long persistence of Black leaders in our community that made this happen. We can finally exhale and release the tension we have been holding for almost a year, hoping this moment would come.

Three weeks ago, civil rights attorney and Racial Justice Network founder, Nekima Levy Armstrong wrote in an op-ed published by BET, “A guilty verdict is the only acceptable justice for George Floyd. . . . [A second-degree murder conviction signals] to white police officers in Minnesota and elsewhere that they are no longer above the law.”

Even as we celebrate, it is crucial that we not allow the police to characterize Derek Chauvin as one bad apple, when the whole system is in need of significant overhaul. We will, however, hold him up as an example that change is coming and that change is possible.

“Let this be a notice to all police that we will no longer tolerate the unwarranted use of deadly force. If you are at the foot of someone who is being murdered by your colleague(s), it is your responsibility to stop that murder. If you can’t do it for the human being in your care, do it because you will go to jail,” says Billie Jean Van Knight, Racial Justice Network member.

Though we affirm the verdict in this case against Derek Chauvin, the entire system must be re-examined and overhauled, given the disparate harm it perpetuates upon Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. “There are those in civic leadership who would have us believe that Derek Chauvin is an aberration from how policing in Minnesota works rather than emblematic of it,” says Kimberly Milliard, a member of Racial Justice Network, “but we know that by itself, the conviction of one individual former police officer does nothing to change the system which allowed for George Floyd to be murdered in the first place. This is the very system which allowed Derek Chauvin to sincerely believe he could get away with it – because several times before George Floyd, he literally had.”

As we celebrate with community in this historic moment, much work remains to be done in transforming the system of policing. To that end, Racial Justice Network demands the following: 

1.  The immediate end of Operation Safety Net;

2.  Passing by the Minnesota Legislature of the nine police reform bills set forth by the Minnesota Justice Coalition;

3.  Washington County Prosecutor Pete Orput to bring second-degree and third-degree murder charges against former Brooklyn Center officer Kimberly Potter, for the murder of Daunte Wright on April 11, 2021;

4.  The reopening of the cases of all killings by police officers in Minnesota. All stolen lives deserve justice; and

5.  The conviction of former Minneapolis police officers Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao for aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter against George Floyd.

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


A Multi-Racial Coalition of Women and Mothers Calls for Murder and Manslaughter Charges against Kimberly Potter

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Katie Gamades
Email address: kgamades@gmail.com
Phone: 612-735-7713

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2021

A Multi-Racial Coalition of Women and Mothers Calls for Murder and Manslaughter Charges against Kimberly Potter in the brutal police killing of Daunte Wright.

Brooklyn Center, MN— Please be advised that on Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 3pm, there will be a press conference by Black and white women and mothers regarding the insufficient charges being brought against Kimberly Potter, the white women officer who racially-profiled and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. We will also call for an immediate end to Operation Safety Net, a violent police/military operation that has reigned terror upon Black people and protesters standing in solidarity with them.

The press conference will be held across the street from the Brooklyn Center Police Department at 1500 69th Avenue North, Brooklyn Center.

Today, as our community grieves the loss of Daunte Wright, yet another black man killed by police, a coalition of Black and white women are coming together in solidarity to demand accountability for his death and an end to state-sanctioned violence against the community.

“For over 400 years Black people in America have been killed by state-sanctioned violence. In 1965, civil rights organizer Ella Baker said, “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and activist.

Black women leaders have called for Kimberly Potter, former Brooklyn Center police officer, to be charged with murder and manslaughter for the killing of Daunte Wright. During the protests following Daunte Wright’s death, we have seen the results of Operation Safety Net unleashed on protesters, the majority of whom are young people of color, and surrounding community residents with devastating effects.

Black leaders have called for the immediate termination of Operation Safety Net and the violence and trauma this violent and abusing police/military regime has inflicted upon the community.

“Operation Safety Net is harming Black youth, those standing in solidarity with them, and children living in the neighborhood of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. We demand an immediate end to this deadly and abusive operation. The killing of any human being should be unacceptable to us all, and we as Black and white women are coming together to demand murder and manslaughter charges be brought against Kimberly Potter to hold her accountable for the murder of Daunte Wright,” said Amelia Hansa, member of the Racial Justice Network.

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


Kim Potter charges insufficient

Media Contact–

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

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 14, 2021

Kim Potter charges insufficient

Brooklyn Center, MN— Three days ago, former police officer Kim Potter, a 26 year police veteran, shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man and father of a toddler.  Earlier today, Washington County Attorney announced he would only bring 2nd-degree manslaughter charges against Potter. However, manslaughter charges are insufficient in this case. The body-worn camera footage and the circumstances surrounding this case warrant murder charges.

Body camera footage revealed that Potter had her gun out and pointed at Wright for several seconds before shooting Mr. Wright. Additionally, Potter had her gun on her right side and her taser on her left side. There is also a substantial weight difference between a gun and a taser. Not only was Kim Potter a 26 year veteran on the force, she was a training officer and the president of the police union. Shooting and killing Mr. Wright was not an accident and the charges should reflect that.

“Kim Potter needs to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law for the brutal, reckless, and unnecessary killing of Daunte Wright, just as a civilian would be held accountable and charged with murder under similar circumstances. In fact, Potter’s years of firearms and tactical training and experience should result in her being held to a higher standard than the average person. Daunte Wright was racially-profiled, treated like a threat, and dehumanized by Potter because he was a young Black man. If he had been a young white man, none of this would have ever happened, ” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, Attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network.

“Potter’s actions indicated a history of this behavior which suggests habit rather than “accident”,  notes Jessica Marshik, member of the Racial Justice Network. Marshik continues: “In the fight to combat white supremacy, it is imperative that the state of Minnesota hold white officers accountable for their racist, irrational fear and deadly actions.”

We demand Washington County bring stronger charges of 3rd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter; comparable to those in the case of former officer, Mohammed Noor (a Black Muslim, convicted of killing Justine Ruszczyk-Damond, an affluent white woman). We also reiterate the need for Governor Tim Walz to appoint a special prosecutor in this and all cases of police killings.

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 Calls For Boycott of Benihana Due To Racist, Dangerous Abuse Against Black Customers

Media Contact–

Media Contact: Raeisha Williams
Email address: radollface@gmail.com
Phone: 404-493-2577

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Community Calls For Boycott of Benihana Due To Racist, Dangerous Abuse Against Black Customers

Please be advised that on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 4:00pm in front of Benihana Golden Valley, 850 Louisiana Avenue, South Golden Valley, MN 55426, community members will be speaking out against racist and discriminatory behavior towards African American customers by Benihana’s management.
“Our community is already dealing with the stress and trauma of witnessing what happened to George Floyd after a store owner called 911 on him. As a Black woman and mother of a toddler, I was nervous and fearful of how the police were going to treat us once they showed up on the scene. I was not only concerned for my safety, but the safety of the other Black women who were present, along with my elderly mother. Would any of this have happened if we were white women?”, said Raeisha Williams, founder of Guns Down Love Up.

On March 29, 2021, five Black Women, including an elder and toddler, were refused services after asking for their table to be properly cleaned and to speak with the manager. The police were called by the manager of Benihana’s Golden Valley location in an attempt to intimidate, criminalize, and physically remove the five women from the restaurant. The manager on duty, Kim, verbally threatened to have the woman arrested if the women did not get up from the table in which they were seated and leave the restaurant. The request from the manager came without explanation and/or reason.

“This was the modern-day Jim Crow refusal of service to customers based on the color of their skin,” said Rosemary Nevils Williams, elder, activist and co-founder of the African American Center of Minnesota, in response to being forcibly removed from the restaurant.

“As a St. Paul Public Schools board member, I don’t expect special treatment when I go out to restaurants, but as a Black woman who works on behalf of my community, I do expect to be treated with dignity. I was excited about celebrating my birthday with my wife and my closest friends, but the Benihana manager’s discriminatory treatment turned my celebration into a nightmare. I don’t want to see other Black customers treated like second class citizens in businesses they patronize,” said Chauntyll Allen, founder of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities and Love First.

The Parties’ Demands Include:

• Immediate termination of the racist and unprofessional manager, Kim;
• A Boycott of the Golden Valley location;
• A public apology from the Benihana Corporation;
• Anti- Racism training for the staff, with a focus on unlearning anti-blackness;
• A corporate wide policy against calling the police on African Americans and other communities of color; and
• Benihana Corporation to pay the Culinary Arts tuition of five African American students each
year, during the existence of the company.


RJN in solidarity with Leslie E. Redmond's open letter and call for true justice.

Demand removal of Racist Mike Freeman
from the Conviction Review Unit.

You do not need to live in Hennepin County in order to sign!

MARCH 20, 2021

The Honorable Tim Walz
Governor of Minnesota

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

The Honorable Keith Ellison
Attorney General of Minnesota

445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101-2131

Penned from–

Members of the Racial Justice Network,
Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

In response and support of Leslie E. Redmond’s recent open letter & call for true justice to fellow CRU Advisory Board Members, Community Stakeholders, and Elected Officials.

You can read Leslie E. Redmond’s letter here.

Dear Governor Walz and Attorney General Ellison,

As members of the Racial Justice Network, we stand in solidarity with attorney and former Minneapolis NAACP President, Leslie E. Redmond. We echo Ms. Redmond’s concerns and we further demand that the Conviction Review Unit show integrity in its mission and take responsibility to ensure that a process is put in place that is fair, equitable, community-centered, and justice-oriented.

Ms. Redmond highlighted major issues surrounding community credibility, integrity, and urgency as it pertains to the advisory board that you have established. As members of the Twin Cities’ community, we have seen similar issues arise time and time again in the way that elected officials in Minnesota handle matters regarding criminal justice.

We stand with Ms. Redmond in her disapproval of who has been chosen to serve on the advisory board. Most notably, we recognize the lack of adequate community representation within this group. There are numerous community members with “lived experiences and proximity to community-based solutions,” as Ms. Redmond put it, who would arguably be more qualified to help correct the omnipresent racial disparities within the criminal justice system in Minnesota.

Additionally, there is no excuse to ignore that one of the most egregious perpetrators of this broken system, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, has a seat at the table. As Ms. Redmond pointed out, he has stood in the way of releasing innocent people from prison, like Myon Burell.

The impact of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s overzealous prosecutions in black and brown communities can be felt all over Hennepin County. Furthermore, he has refused to prosecute white suspects who murdered or seriously injured Black people. We saw this happen recently when Freeman announced that he would not be charging John Rieple with the murder of Calvin Horton.

Mike Freeman should not be allowed to review or participate on any justice reform board.

It is unsettling that Ms. Redmond was corrected when she called this group the “Conviction Integrity Unit,” which is an accepted interchangeable name for a CRU. The word integrity, implies action. Integrity implies responsibility. To prevent innocent people from remaining in prison is integrity; it is justice. That is precisely what we expect from the CRU.

We agree with Ms. Redmond’s call for urgency. With all eyes on Minnesota as an epicenter of the movement toward racial justice, these changes need to be implemented swiftly. Community credibility, integrity, and urgency must be at the forefront of the Conviction Review Unit.

We demand that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman be immediately removed from this advisory board and replaced with community members that have been impacted by the racist criminal justice system.

 

Additionally, we stand in solidarity with Ms. Redmond and all of the concerns she outlined in her open letter released on March 17, 2021.

 

Respectfully,

Members of the Racial Justice Network,
Criminal Justice Subcommittee

CC: Conviction Review Unit – Advisory Board Members

We need you to sign the petition.

You do not need to live in Hennepin County in order to sign!

SIGN THE PETITION

MPD Officer Delivered a Severe Blow to the Head of a Detained Teenager

Media Contact–

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

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 24, 2021

MPD Officer Delivered a Severe Blow to the Head of a Detained Teenager

Minneapolis, MN— Nearly ten months following the brutal death of George Floyd as a result of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, it is clear that Minneapolis Police have not changed their violent approaches to interacting with community members. Earlier today, police officers can be seen delivering a severe blow to the head of a detained teenager knocking him to the ground. This violent action could have resulted in death or serious bodily injury. (See video: facebook.com/nlmb.jboogie.9/videos/509440333380202 ~2:58 minute mark)

Community members, including several Black youths, were observing the police as they were making an arrest of a Black teenager. Meanwhile, approximately five officers surrounded another Black teenager with two of them holding him and another large white male police officer winding up and taking a full swing punch to the teenager’s head. There is no justification for the officers’ violent actions.

This continued violent approach towards the community only further erodes any remaining legitimacy that MPD may still have. The community wants to feel safe. However, when violent responses are continually delivered by MPD to Black Minneapolis residents, the MPD proves they cannot be the ones to provide community-wide safety.

“The video speaks for itself. The MPD is out of control. Years of inaction by Mayor Jacob Frey and previous mayors to hold police accountable results in officers feeling that they can get away with anything. They don’t take care if they are being filmed or if their body cameras are on. They know they can act with impunity.”, said Sonja Muus, Racial Justice Network member.

We demand that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Arrandono fire the officers involved in this violent action immediately. The time is now to end the violence of MPD.

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


Join us for : We Are Undefeated - a Photoshoot & Book Giveaway

Thank you On Site Public Media for this wonderful video featuring Titilayo Bediako!

Join the Racial Justice Network, WE WIN When We Read, and Love First Community Engagement for

WE ARE UNDEFEATED
A photoshoot and book giveaway

26 March  2021 from 3pm- 5pm
1221 Marshall Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104

You’ll receive Black children’s books by Black authors, have an “Undefeated” themed photoshoot, enjoy some treats, and so much more!

See the event on FacebookVisit We-Win.orgLearn about We Win When We ReadLearn about Love First Community Engagement

MPD Officers Use Excessive Force on Unhoused

Media Contact–

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

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 18, 2021

MPD Officers Use Excessive Force on Unhoused People and Activists

Minneapolis, MN– Nearly ten months following the brutal death of George Floyd as a result of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, it is clear that Minneapolis Police have not changed their violent approaches to interacting with community members. Earlier today, police officers attempted to shutdown a homeless encampment in North Minneapolis through the use of excessive force, rather than de-escalation. This included an officer violently and egregiously kneeling on someone’s neck during the encounter, which could have resulted in death or serious bodily injury. (See video: twitter.com/MnUrising/status/1372555429683855361)

Residents were given two days notice to leave the encampment and were not provided alternative solutions that meet their needs. It is seemingly easier for the City to spend millions of dollars to protect buildings in downtown Minneapolis, instead of offering sensible solutions to unhoused community members.

“We just want to be left alone. We aren’t causing anybody any problems. The neighbors love us and support us. There is no justification for having us evicted from our homes. The stress and mental anguish from being constantly threatened to be removed from our homes is like be punished for just living our lives, and this is torturing and adding more trauma. Not only, do we have problems that housed people have, but we also have to deal with an unfathomable amount of problems, including Covid, which the experts state that encampments are safer than shelters, which many don’t realize are unsafe.” said Nightwolf, resident of the Near North encampment.

“Time and time again Mayor Jacob Frey shows his lack of imagination in solving challenging issues. He reverts back to the same old solution: let the police solve it. We know the police don’t solve these challenges, they exacerbate them”, said Sonja Muus, Racial Justice Network member.

We demand that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Arrandono refrain from using violence and threats of violence against our unhoused community members, who are vulnerable and often grappling with mental illness and trauma. Instead, the City should use its available resources to provide solutions that address the unique needs of unhoused community members and respect the dignity of unhoused persons in our community.

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