Minneapolis: Recent Victories & Setbacks
From Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar:
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of rallies, protests, and call-ins as Minneapolis continues the fight for true police accountability. Residents celebrated a victory on Thursday, February 24 when former police officers J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao were convicted in a federal court for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence held a rally downtown.
However, a sentencing decision by Judge Regina Chu 3 days prior is a reminder to Minneapolis that the struggle against police terror is far from over. The Kim Potter trial in December was intially considered a win for anti-police crimes activists when she was found guilty of murdering Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black father, in Brooklyn Center. Despite a jury conviction of 1st degree manslaughter, one that holds a maximum sentence of 15 years, Chu sentenced Potter to just 2 years, with 16 months in jail and supervised release for the remaining 8 months. Prosecutors had recommended a 7-year sentence, but Chu was so moved by Potter’s tearful testimony that she was convinced of the defense’s characterization of the murder as “a tragic mistake.”
Anti-police activists continue to organize around the murder of 22-year-old Amir Locke, who was killed during the execution of a no knock warrant on February 2nd. Amir was not named on the warrant nor was he a resident at the apartment and was sleeping with a licensed firearm nearby when he was shot by SWAT officer Mark Hanneman.
Since the murder, there were daily protests for over a week. One of the largest was Saturday February 5th, when the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar held a rally and march at Government Plaza with a crowd of around 4,000 protesters. The demands for the march included an immediate release of all footage related to the murder, the immediate firing and prosecution of Hanneman and all officers involved in planning the raid, resignation of Minneapolis Mayor Frey and acting Police Chief Huffman, and a ban on no-knock warrants. Speakers at the rally included Amir’s father and aunts. Other speakers included CAIR’s Jaylani Hussein and recently elected Minneapolis Board of Estimation and Taxation member Samantha Pree Stinson.
Since February 2, we have been protesting at Minneapolis City Hall (including busting up the mayor’s press conference) at the Hennepin County Government Center, the state capitol, BCA, outside the murder site, Mayor Frey’s house and other political targets. Students held a metro-wide school walkout. Even now, three weeks later, many groups are calling protests in Amir Locke’s name.
Photo Credit: Brad Sigal