MPD Officers – second shooting in two weeks

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2021

MPD Officers involved in second shooting within the last two weeks

Local civil rights group demands all body-worn and squad car footage be released immediately

Minneapolis, MN – We are deeply concerned to learn about the shooting of yet another person by Minneapolis police officers earlier today. This time it happened on the corner of Logan and Lowry in North Minneapolis. An eye-witness account describes counting 68 shell casings after shots were fired at the victim’s car. With the volume of shots fired, it is surprising that the victim only suffered non-life threatening injuries. Racial Justice Network is calling on Mayor Frey and Chief Arradondo to immediately release all unedited officer body-worn camera and squad car footage related to this incident.

Recent events have highlighted that law enforcement can use restraint even while facing armed white individuals threatening them. In many such instances, white people are viewed by law enforcement as human beings who may be making bad choices; as opposed to threats needing to be controlled.

According to a spokesperson from the Minneapolis Police Department, the person who was apprehended did not immediately shoot upon being stopped; the individual allegedly fired a shot once police were smashing their car window to extract them. After a significant number of shots were fired, additional officers arrived and then used “non-lethal” force. It is unclear what, if any, de-escalation techniques were used prior to a barrage of gunfire by police, which could have endangered more residents. Body-worn camera footage should be released to show the public further details of this encounter.

The most recent police shooting occurred just two weeks ago, resulting in a loss of life. In that case, Chief Arradondo authorized the release of body camera footage within 24 hours to the public.

“We demand that all unedited body-worn and squad car footage from the police shooting today, be released immediately to the public. We have seen too many instances in which MPD has used early statements to the media to prejudice the public about the victim of a police shooting,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network.

“Unfortunately, the Minneapolis police have fostered an atmosphere of terror against Black bodies. If you are a person of color who is being apprehended by Minneapolis police, given their history of violence, it is easy to feel that your life is in danger and a person may react with that in mind. Based on early reports, the individual in this case was no longer within the vicinity of the 911 caller; implying any perception of an immediate threat to that caller was diminished. This should have provided time to deescalate the situation for the safety of all,” said Kimberly Milliard, member of the Racial Justice Network.

Our community is still grieving the murders of many lives stolen by MPD and surrounding police departments. Too often, residents of Minneapolis have watched members of the MPD incite violence against their neighbors, family members, and friends. The trauma associated with these experiences runs deep within our city, and events like today’s police shooting require immediate transparency and accurate communication from MPD, as well as public oversight to ensure proper protocols were followed, including de-escalation.

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


Minneapolis Foundation not credible on Police Accountability

Media Contact–

Michelle Gross 612-703-1612

Jaylani Hussein 612-406-0070

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, June 22, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS FOUNDATION NOT CREDIBLE ON POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY.

A coalition of police accountability and civil rights organizations will be holding a press conference to denounce plans by Mayor Jacob Frey to turn over police accountability efforts to the Minneapolis Foundation and an unnamed group of advisors.

 

The Minneapolis Foundation is headed by former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak.  During his tenure as mayor, 38 people lost their lives at the hands of Minneapolis police officers including Chris Burns, Fong Lee, Terrance Franklin and Raymond Ziegler.  He failed to take action to address these killings or the many complaints of police brutality, despite demands from the community.  His administration shut down the Civilian Review Authority, first by defunding it then by replacing it with the utterly ineffective Office of Police Conduct Review.  He oversaw the MPD’s involvement in the corrupt Metro Gang Strike Force.  He condoned rank brutality against peaceful protesters and concertgoers in downtown Minneapolis during the Republican National Convention.

 

“As mayor, R.T. Rybak brought great harm to our community by failing to rein in police, why would anyone think he and his organization have any expertise or credibility on police accountability issues?” – Nekima Levy Armstrong with Racial Justice Network. 

 

WHAT:  Press Conference

WHEN:  Monday, June 22 at 11:00 am

WHERE:  Hallway outside of Mayor Frey’s office

​Minneapolis City Hall, 350 S 5th Street, Room 331

 

“This is yet another hollow act by city leaders who have failed to adopt even the most basic police accountability measures. We can no longer play politics with people’s lives and safety. We must adopt robust real accountability measures now, including community control of the police.” – Jess Sundin with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar.

 

This press conference is planned by a broad coalition of organizations including Council on American Islamic Relations Minnesota, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Minnesota Disability Justice Network, Black Lives Matter Minnesota, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro, Racial Justice Network, Cop Watch Minneapolis, and others.


Press Conf : The death of Cornelius Frederick

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 17, 2020

African American Community Leaders Demand That Minnesota End Out-Of-Home Placements for Juveniles After Teenage Boy Dies in a Michigan Juvenile Facility

Please be advised, that on Thursday, June 18, at 11:00 AM, African American leaders will hold a press conference outside of the Hennepin County Government Center (near the Peoples Plaza), to discuss the recent death of a 16-year-old African American boy, Cornelius Frederick, in a Michigan juvenile facility. Cornelius was killed after he was physically restrained by staff after throwing a sandwich. At the time of Cornelius’s death, four juveniles from Hennepin County had been placed there.

Cornelius’s death should come as a wake up to Hennepin County and the state of Minnesota, that placing children in out-of home placements is dangerous and unconscionable. African American boys are over-represented amongst children sent to out-of-home placements in Minnesota.

Given the heightened attention to police-involved killings of African American men at the hands of police in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, it is important to raise awareness about the dangers that youths face when placed in juvenile facilities and the need to end such practices in the state of Minnesota.

Speakers at the press conference will include–

Malaika Hankins, Legal Rights Center

Nekima Levy Armstrong, Attorney and Founder of the Racial Justice Network

Leslie E Redmond, Attorney and Minneapolis NAACP President

Kevin L Reese, founder of Until We Are All Free

Kelis Houston, founder of Village Arms

Elizer Darris, ACLU of Minnesota

Toussaint Morrison, Youth worker


Burrell Case – County Attorney requests Justice Department review

Media Contact–

Lacey Severins, Media Coordinator

612-543-4733

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 9, 2020

 

County Attorney Requests Justice Department Burrell Review

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar to request the U.S. Department of Justice undertake the review of the Myon Burrell conviction in the murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

In response to a letter Sen. Klobuchar sent to the office Mar. 5, Freeman noted that only the Department of Justice would have the resources to independently review a case that includes 30,000 pages of documents plus videotaped evidence.

Freeman also stressed in his letter that not only would his office cooperate with any review by the DOJ but his office would continue the most recent internal review of the case which began about seven months ago. That has included several meetings with Mr. Burrell’s new attorney and an agreement to review additional information which he provided.

In the letter, Freeman also mentioned that there are Minnesota Supreme Court opinions and a district court order which both detail the evidence and testimony in the two trials in which Mr. Burrell was found guilty. Those filings provide a full picture of why he was found guilty and why, ultimately, his conviction was upheld.                                                  

Look for more news on the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office website.


Advocates Call for Amy Klobuchar to withdraw from Presidential Race

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 29, 2020

 

Notice of Press Conference

 

Advocates Call for Amy Klobuchar to Withdraw from Presidential Race, Amid Allegations That She Sent An Innocent Black Teen to Prison for Life

 

Please be advised that on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, a joint press conference will be held at 9:30 AM in the lobby of the Hennepin County Government Center. Representatives from the Racial Justice Network, Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, and Communities United Against Police Brutality will be present to speak.

 

Senator Amy Klobuchar is currently a candidate to become the next President of the United States. While on the campaign trail, she has repeatedly discussed her record as a former prosecutor and claims to have helped address crime in the Black community. Black residents of Hennepin County, Minnesota, have consistently raised concerns about Amy Klobuchar’s “tough on crime approach” and the myriad harms to the community; while simultaneously failing to hold a single police officer accountable for shooting and killing civilians during her time as Chief Prosecutor.

Recently, it has come to the public’s attention that Amy Klobuchar was responsible for overseeing the prosecution and conviction of a Black teenage boy, Myon Burrell, who was just 16 years old when he was falsely accused of murdering 11 year old Tyesha Edwards. The State convicted Myon on the basis of circumstantial evidence and coerced eye witness testimony, with no DNA, fingerprints, ballistics, or other tangible evidence linking him to the crime. Myon has now spent more than half of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit.

To date, Amy Klobuchar has taken no steps to remedy the wrongful conviction of Myon Burrell.

To the contrary, she has used this case while on the Presidential campaign trail to build more political capital. Advocates are calling for Amy Klobuchar to immediately suspend her campaign for President, given her role in sending an innocent Black teenager to prison for life.

 

For more information on the wrongful conviction of Myon Burrell–

MyonBurrell.com

USA Today : Did Amy Klobuchar help send an innocent teen away for life?

Video : AP Probe Raises Doubts About Murder Conviction

MPR News : In Klobuchar’s past, questions linger about a teen jailed for life

MSR : Teen’s life sentence now questioned


Drop the charges and release Samantha Crawley

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 16, 2020

Racial Justice Network & Communities United Against Police Brutality

 

Immediately drop the charges and release Samantha Crawley

 

Minneapolis, MN – We want the unjust charges against Samantha Crawley immediately dropped by Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney. Ms. Crawley is a mother of two, a Drake Hotel survivor, and a young Black woman living with autism and bipolar disorder. She is currently being held in Hennepin County jail on trumped-up assault charges filed against her by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). We want her immediately released, and police assault charges dropped.

 

On Sunday, January 12th, 2020, at 10:59 PM, Ms. Crawley was arrested and brought to HCSO for an unpaid $111.00 traffic ticket. According to Hennepin County court records, last May a citation for an alleged “abandoned motor vehicle,” was sent to an unknown address for her, but the citation was returned to their office. A warrant for her arrest was issued when the traffic fine wasn’t paid, and when she missed the hearing, even though the citation and the late notice were “returned mail,” due to incorrect address. Employees at Hennepin County made the decision to issue an arrest warrant for a traffic ticket they documented in their own court records was never received by Ms. Crawley. 

 

On top of trying to manage the stress of surviving the Christmas day Drake Hotel fire with her two children, having to move three times within two weeks, while managing her disability and mental health symptoms, she was arrested for a traffic ticket she was unaware of, and placed in a Hennepin County holding cell, where she has been grossly mistreated, and her symptoms exacerbated. She is already under intense stress, suffers from panic attacks, and has been denied her medications.

 

Ms. Crawley reports being punished by HCSO jail staff for exercising her right to remain silent. She reports being placed in a holding cell for 8 hours, where she was not allowed to make any calls, strapped in a chair for 3-4 hours, jail staff turned off the intercom system, turned off the water, she was left to sleep on a metal bed – took away the blankets and mattress, and at one point multiple guards rushed her in the holding cell, four officers on her ankles, four officers on her wrists, pushing on her and shouting out multiple commands, causing her to hyperventilate, and feel as if she was choking on her own spit. According to Samantha, when she spat because she felt she was going to vomit and choke, the officers accused her of purposely spitting on them and filed assault charges.

 

Ms. Crawley has been held in the Hennepin County jail for 5 days. Her first court appearance for the police assault charges is Thursday, 1/16/2020, at 1:30 PM and the community will be there to support her. No one should ever be arrested for lack of money to pay a traffic fine, and in her case, she didn’t even receive the notice for the traffic fine – this is our Hennepin County court system and jail system; a dehumanizing system. The City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County needs to do better, be better, and overhaul their oppressive and discriminatory criminal justice systems. We value Samantha Crawley and are calling for Hennepin County to drop the unjust charges and immediately release her.


Activists demand action from Governor Walz on Jamar Clark Case

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 7, 2019

COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS DEMAND ACTION FROM GOVERNOR WALZ ON JAMAR CLARK CASE AND BCA INVESTIGATIONS OF POLICE SHOOTINGS.

 

Please be advised that on Thursday, August 8th at 3:30pm, The Racial Justice Network (RJN) together with fourteen community activist groups will hold a rally and press conference on the steps of the State Capitol, calling for Governor Tim Walz to reopen the investigation into Jamar Clarks’ case and prioritize his commitment to critically examining how the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) handles investigations into police shootings.

 

Following a recent meeting with members of the Governor’s staff about the 2015 killing of Jamar Clark by a Minneapolis police officer, members of RJN were told that Governor Walz would not reopen the investigation into Jamar Clark’s case without new materials to review.

 

Following the killing of Thurman Blevins in 2018, Candidate Walz said, “As someone who hopes to lead this state, I wish I could tell you I have all the answers. I don’t. But I am committed to working tirelessly in partnership with communities to find them. We need to come together to tackle this systemic issue – and have an ongoing conversation about how we keep both our communities of color and police officers safe.”

 

Following Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s case, Walz openly acknowledged the need for critical questioning of the BCA’s role and effectiveness in investigating police shootings. With another police killing of a black man by Minneapolis Police less than a week ago, we demand that Walz make this an urgent priority of his administration.

 

Groups who stand in solidarity with this demand include:

Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar

Native Lives Matter

Communities United Against Police Brutality

Women’s March Minnesota

Justice 4 Marcus Golden

Million Artists Movement

Justice for Justine Damond Ruszczyk

Committee for Professional Policing

Take A Knee Nation – Minneapolis

Minnesota Neighbors for Justice

Justice 4 Cordale Handy

Black Truce Peace Organization

Anti-War Committee

Blue LIES Matter


Demanding accountability of the white motorist who ran over Black pedestrians

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 11, 2019

 

RACIAL JUSTICE GROUPS DEMAND ANSWERS AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN CASE INVOLVING WHITE MOTORIST WHO RAN OVER BLACK PEDESTRIANS IN NORTH MINNEAPOLIS.

 

Please be advised that on Thursday, July 11th, 2019 at 12:00pm on West Broadway and Lyndale the Racial Justice Network and Black Lives Matter Twin Cities will be holding a press conference to discuss the mishandling by Metro Transit Police of a pending investigation involving a white male motorist slamming his van into a bus shelter and significantly injuring multiple black men.

 

Metro Transit Police (MTP), a department within the MET Council, has a long and disturbing history of unequal and discriminatory treatment towards African American residents in the Twin Cities. African Americans have experienced racial profiling, harassment, and excessive force at the hands of MTP and those issues have never been remedied. Two days ago, MTP began investigating an egregious incident in which a white male driver from Champlin allegedly hit a Metro Transit Bus twice and then crashed into a bus shelter; severely injuring multiple Black men in North Minneapolis.

 

“It is outrageous that MTP would half-heartedly investigate this case, disregard the testimony of Black witnesses, and treat the perpetrator as a ‘harmless grandpa’, as opposed to a perpetrator in this incident. MTP did not even bother to conduct a sobriety test to determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney and activist.

 

“Had a black man driven his vehicle into a crowd of white people at a local bus stop, there would have been hell to pay. He would have been immediately arrested or killed by police, his mugshot and criminal history would have been all over the media, and he would still be in custody, with almost no chance of seeing the light of day,” said Chauntyll Allen, head of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities.

 

We demand the following:

  1. An independent investigation of this incident;
  2. That charges be filed, pending the outcome of the investigation;
  3. MTP officers who failed to conduct a field sobriety test be reprimanded;
  4. Immediate replacement of a new bus shelter in the area;
  5. A Northside community meeting with MET Council Chair, Nora Slawik, and Chief of MTP, AJ Olson.


Family seeks answers in death of Activist Tyrone Williams

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 4, 2018

 

Family of Community Activist, Tyrone Williams, Seeks Answers in His Death in Minneapolis

 

The family of Tyrone Williams will hold a press conference today, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, at 3:30pm at 701 Elwood Avenue N., Minneapolis, 55411.

 

Yesterday, April 3rd, the Twin Cities’ Community was devastated to learn of the shooting death of Tyrone Williams by an unknown assailant in Minneapolis.

 

Tyrone Williams was a dedicated son, a loving father, a supportive brother, a passionate activist, and entrepreneur. Tyrone spent the last several years on the front lines protesting many injustices, including police violence, white supremacy, economic injustice, and community violence. He stood with Native brothers and sisters in protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at Standing Rock.

 

“Tyrone’s death will not be in vain. His spirit for social justice will continue on and inspire us all to do even more. We must work with the children and teach them to love themselves, so they can love others. We must combat oppression against African Americans and other people of color in all its forms,” said Rosemary Nevils-Williams, mother of Tyrone Williams and community elder.

 

“My brother is gone. He meant so much to me, our family, his children, and our community. I want to see justice for my brother and for the authorities to find the person who did this. I’m asking the community to come forward with any information. My brother deserved to live. His death has already left a void in our community,” said Raeisha Williams, sister of Tyrone Williams.

 

The family is asking the community to come forward with any leads or information on who murdered Tyrone Williams.


Progressive candidates forgo DFL endorsements

Media Contact–

Nekima Levy Armstrong
nekimalevypounds@gmail.com
612-598-0559

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 4, 2017

 

MINNEAPOLIS MAYORAL CANDIDATE NEKIMA LEVY-POUNDS AND 5TH WARD CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE RAEISHA WILLIAMS TO ANNOUNCE THEIR DECISION TO NO LONGER SEEK DFL ENDORSEMENTS IN THIS YEAR’S POLITICAL RACES.

 

Please be advised that Minneapolis political candidates Nekima Levy-Pounds and Raeisha Williams will be holding a joint press conference on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at noon on the steps of City Hall in Minneapolis to discuss their decision to no longer seek DFL endorsements for their upcoming political races. Additional speakers include Cathy Jones, longtime DFLer and labor union member; and Pastor DeWayne Davis, resident of Minneapolis.

 

The city of Minneapolis has been under the governance and control of the DFL Party for decades. Despite this fact, people of color, immigrants, and indigenous populations in Minneapolis face some of the worst racial, social, and economic disparities in the country. One major reason for the persistent racial disparities is the difficulty that communities of color face in gaining and maintaining political power. Political power is further restricted by DFL caucus and convention processes that are often confusing and unwelcoming to newcomers, immigrants, and young DFLers. Beyond that, resources including time and money are wasted when the DFL convention process lasts for several hours and fails to result in the endorsement of a candidate, which occurred prior to the last mayoral election.

 

“Women of color especially, are often discouraged and sometimes even blocked from pursuing political office by DFL leaders and insiders. The DFL endorsement process reinforces the notion of political exclusivity and severely limits the possibility of viable candidates of color from competing for office during November elections. In the advent of ranked-choice voting, it makes little sense to keep in place an antiquated process that limits voter choices and keeps power in the hands of the few. As a true progressive, I have made a conscious decision to no longer participate in an endorsement process that limits access to electoral power and often results in inequitable outcomes,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis Mayoral candidate and civil rights attorney.

 

“No matter what,” Levy-Pounds continued, “I am going all the way to November and I would ask for the continued support of all who are ready to see a paradigm shift in city politics and a break from “business as usual.”

 

Levy-Pounds is not the only African American female candidate who has concerns about the DFL endorsement process and the exclusionary tactics that are sometimes at play. “I have chosen to not seek the DFL endorsement because I am the people’s candidate, not the system’s, not politics as usual, not the DFL party, but the people’s candidate.

 

“Through my experience with the DFL, I have witnessed the means that they will take to silence the voices of black women running for political office. I refuse to allow my voice to be silenced and I am committed to running for office to uplift and revitalize the North Minneapolis community. Win or lose, it will be by the hands of North Minneapolis residents who turn out at the polls on November 7th and not by a small group of people who participate in the DFL Convention,” said Raeisha Williams, Democratic City Council Candidate for Ward 5, North Minneapolis.

 

According to Cathy Jones, a longtime member of the DFL Party and labor union member, “The DFL party has long secured the voting power of people of color, but has failed to deliver on its promises of producing equitable outcomes for those on the margins of society. Indeed, 68% of residents favor a phased-in $15 an hour minimum wage and yet the DFL Mayor and DFL city council members have refused to respond to the will of the people. Low income workers and workers of color need the support of true progressives in office and not politicians who are focused on maintaining the status quo.”

 

As an alternative to the DFL Endorsement process, both Levy-Pounds and Williams are seeking The People’s Endorsement, a campaign to amplify and uplift the voices of all Minneapolis residents. More details on the campaign will be provided at the press conference.