Saturday, November 21, 2015

"We Are All One" – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation

Yesterday evening my friends Kathleen and Tim (left) and I attended the "Justice for Jamar" candlelight vigil outside the 4th precinct police station in north Minneapolis. The event, which drew around 1000 people (above) was a powerful embodiment of community and solidarity.

During the vigil a number of inspiring speeches were delivered by local and national civil rights leaders, including Cornell Brooks, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Nekima Levy-Pounds, the Minneapolis NAACP chapter president, and Mahmoud El-Kati, a former Macalester College professor and an African-American historian. The vigil also involved singing, chanting, and a march to the site a few blocks away where Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man, was fatally shot by police while in custody on November 15. A number of witnesses say Clark was laying on the ground and handcuffed at the moment he was shot by a police officer.

"We understand that all lives matter," Brooks told the crowd at one point, "[but] unless black lives matter, all lives can’t matter . . . We are in it for the long haul."

Following, with added images and links, is an excerpt from David Chanen's Star Tribune article on last night's vigil.

Hundreds of people of all races and backgrounds congregated Friday evening near police headquarters in north Minneapolis for an emotional rally and candlelight vigil that culminated a week of protests over officers’ fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

The president of the national NAACP, who met with state and city leaders earlier in the day at Gov. Mark Dayton’s residence in St. Paul, was among those speaking at the peaceful rally, which many participants called the most significant and inspiring local civil rights gathering in years.

“We are not here to tell you what to do,” Cornell Brooks, head of the national NAACP, told the emotional crowd. “I believe in what’s happening in Minneapolis.”

The death of Jamar Clark, 24, shot in the head during a scuffle Sunday on the city’s North Side, has galvanized Minnesota activists — from North Side residents to Black Lives Matter activists to the NAACP — and garnered national attention. As protesters have camped outside Fourth Precinct headquarters on Plymouth Avenue N. and engaged in sometimes tense confrontations with officers, police and civic leaders have pleaded for time to thoroughly investigate the shooting, which is also being examined by federal officials and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Police have said that Clark lunged for an officer’s gun and interfered with officers and paramedics responding to a domestic dispute in which a woman had been injured. The officers involved in Clark’s death, Mark Ringgenberg, 30, and Dustin Schwarze, 28, are on paid leave.

After the rally, the group marched to the spot a few blocks away where Clark was shot. There, Nekima Levy-Pounds, the Minneapolis NAACP chapter president, said “it could have been any one of us who died.”

“This isn’t about demonizing the Police Department,” she said. “But we are going to get the truth one way or another.”

. . . Throughout Friday, the scene at precinct headquarters was peaceful, with some protesters warming themselves at campfires and donning donated hats and mittens. Among those dropping by to express support were clergy members and students from nearby Anwatin Middle School. Some protesters worked to clear the streets of debris, while others directed traffic.

Helen Williams, who has lived in north Minneapolis for more than 40 years, came to sweep the street and show her support for protesters.

Williams, who has long helped families bury their dead when they cannot afford it, said she is helping the Clark family plan for their son’s funeral. “I’m here to do my part to offer crowd control and hugs,” she said.

Several Minnesota progressive and labor groups issued statements urging a thorough and transparent investigation. State DFL Chair Ken Martin said, “It is hard to have hope for the future when it seems that our community has turned an indifferent eye to the very real and persistent issues facing communities of color in Minnesota. The DFL stands by everyone working peacefully for a transparent investigation and to bring the conversation of fairness and justice to the forefront.”

A coalition of leaders from African immigrant communities said at a news conference in Brooklyn Park that immigrant groups support protesters’ call for clarity and justice in the Clark case.

“The African community is united with our African-American brothers and sisters,” said Abdullah Kiatamba, executive director of the group African Immigrant Services. “We are all one. A harm to one is a harm to all of us.”

. . . As Friday night drew to a close, protesters remained at the site, chanting and singing peacefully. Although it appeared that the rally had helped ease tensions, questions about Clark’s death were no closer to being answered.

To read David Chanen's article in its entirety, click here.


Following are more photographs that I took at last night's "Justice for Jamar"candlelight vigil.

Above: This image shows how protesters have "occupied" the space outside the police precinct. Along with sleeping tents, activists have set up a soup kitchen, a clothing stand, several banners, and a number of campfires on the sidewalk and in the street in front of the police station.

Following is how one young person from the Northside recently described on Facebook her experience of the ‎4th precinct occupation community.

Above and below: Many people are demanding the release of police and surveillance videos of the shooting of Jamar Clark. Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP says that there have been "so many false narratives spun by the Minneapolis Police Department as to what has happened. . . . Enough is enough."

"We're demanding release of the tapes," Levy-Pounds said. "We're demanding reform of the police department and we are demanding justice for Jamar Clark right now."

Authorities, however, have said that there was no video of the shooting from police dashboard or body cameras. Investigators are nevertheless reviewing video from business and security cameras in the area. They also are checking witnesses' cellphones but none of those videos captured the entire incident.

Levy-Pounds is also calling for grief counselors for those who witnessed the shooting, saying that Clark's case was "just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the abuse and harassment."

Related Off-site Links:
Hundreds Gather in North Minneapolis for Emotion-filled Vigil and MarchMinnesota Spokesman-Recorder (November 21, 2015).
Vigil for Jamar Clark Held at Minneapolis Police PrecinctKARE 11 News (November 20, 2015).
Emotional Candlelight Vigil Rallies Protesters – Judy Griesedieck and Doualy Xaykaothao (MPR News, November 20, 2015).
Armed White Supremacists Threaten Protesters at 4th Precinct Shutdown – Susan Du (City Pages, November 20, 2015).
The Shooting of Jamar Clark: What We Know – Andy Mannix (MinnPost, November 18, 2015).
Shooting Death of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis Police Officer Unearths Troubled Past, Efforts to Change – Kyle Potter (Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report, November 20, 2015).
Minneapolis NAACP chief demands release of video of Minnesota shooting – Brendan O'Brien (Reuters via Yahoo! News, November 19, 2015).
"We Do Want Justice," Says Sister of Unarmed Black Man Killed by Minneapolis Police – Matt Pearce (Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2015).
The Hard Truth of the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter Protests: Communities of Color Have No Trust in Their Police Force – Jana Kooren (American Civil Liberties Union, November 19, 2015).
Minneapolis Lacks Political Will to Provide Security for All – Marjaan Sirdar (Twin Cities Daily Planet, November 19, 2015).
Minnesota Governor Calls for Federal Review of Police Actions – Phil Helsel (NBC News, November 19, 2015).
13 Things You See At A Minneapolis Black Lives Matter Protest – Abrara Rageh (BuzzFeed, November 19, 2015).
Police and Protesters Clash in Minneapolis Over Fatal Shooting of Black Man – Mitch Smith (New York Times, November 19, 2015).
Fascinating Political Moment in Minneapolis Might Actually Change ThingsTwin Cities Sidewalks (November 20, 2015).
Nekima Levy-Pounds: Minneapolis Protest Leader Shakes Up Civil Rights Politics – Steve Karnowski (Associated Press via ABC News, November 21, 2015).
In Wake of Police Shooting, A Split Among Minneapolis Council Members – Peter Callaghan (MinnPost, November 20, 2015).
Photo Gallery: The Shooting of Jamar Clark Sparks a Turbulent Week in Minneapolis – Kristoffer Tigue (MinnPost, November 20, 2015).
Demonstrations Continue 7 Days After Jamar Clark Shooting – Scott Theisen and Brett Hoffland (KSTP News, November 21, 2015).
Meet the People of the Fourth Precinct Occupation – Michael Rietmulder (City Pages, November 20, 2015).

UPDATES: "Unless Black Lives Matter, All Lives Can't Matter" Says NAACP Head – Bill Sorem and Michael McIntee (The Uptake, November 22, 2015).
Department of Justice Lawyers Will Fly to Minneapolis to Probe Jamar Clark Shooting – Greg Moore (Associated Press via HuffPost Black Voices, November 22, 2015).
Governor Dayton: Video of Jamar Clark Shooting is InconclusiveKSTP News (November 23, 2015).

Shooting Near 4th Precinct Leaves Five Hospitalized (right, photo via Twitter) – WCCO News (November 24, 2015).
White Supremacists Shoot Five Black Lives Matters Protesters – Mike Mullen (City Pages, November 24, 2015).
Police Search for Suspects Who Fired Into Crowd at Black Lives Matter Protest in Minneapolis – Karen Zamora (Star Tribune, November 24, 2015).
The 4th Precinct Protest Shooting: The Photos You Haven't Seen MPR News (November 25, 2015).
The Men Who Shot at the Minneapolis Protesters Want to Scare All Black People – Steven W. Thrasher (The Guardian, November 24, 2015).
Why Minneapolis and Ferguson Are More Similar Than You Think – Jeff Guo (The Washington Post, November 24, 2015).
3 Arrested, 1 Released in 4th Precinct Shooting; #Justice4Jamar Demonstrations Continue – Peter Cox, Doualy Xaykaothao and Tim Nelson (MPR News, November 24, 2015).
Hundreds March Through Minneapolis Following Shooting Near 4th Precinct – Rachel Chazin (KMSP News, November 24, 2015).
Social Media Offering Clues Into Shooting Suspects' Motives – David Chanen (Star Tribune, November 24, 2015).
Accused Minneapolis Shooters Fascinated with Guns, Militia Groups and the Confederacy – Travis Gettys (Raw Story, November 25, 2015).
How Black Lives Matter Came Back Stronger After White Supremacist Attacks – Celia Kutz (, November 30, 2015).
Officials Call for End to 4th Precinct Occupation, Protesters Vow to Stay – Bill Hudson (WCCO News, November 30, 2015).
Protesters Say They Aren’t Leaving the 4th PrecinctWCCO News (November 30, 2015).
Rep. Keith Ellison Loses Influence on Police Shooting Protest – Bob Collins (MPR News, December 1, 2015).
Minnesota's 1st Black Congressman Comes Under Fire from Protesters Whose Cause He Supports – Steve Karnowski (Associated Press via U.S. News, December 2, 2015).
When Do We #SayHerName? Examining the Systems Behind the Death of Jamar Clark – Kari Mugo (Twin Cities Daily Planet, December 2, 2015).
Jamar Clark Case Highlights Quest for Transparency – Ruben Rosario (Pioneer Press, December 3, 2015).
Minneapolis Police Clear Out 4th Precinct Protest Site – Jon Collins and Tim Nelson (MPR News, December 3, 2015).
Black Lives Matter Protesters Evicted from 4th Precinct Occupation – Mike Mullen (City Pages, December 3, 2015).
Protesters Rally at City Hall After Minneapolis Police Clear Fourth Precinct Encampment – Erin Golden (Star Tribune, December 4, 2015).
Protests Highlight the Racism Behind "Minnesota Nice" – Mary Turck (Aljazeera America, December 4, 2015).
Minneapolis Protesters Signal Impatience with Civil Rights "Old Guard" – Laura Yuen (MPR News, December 7, 2015).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
At the Mall of America Today, a Necessary Disruption to "Business as Usual"
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
Quote of the Day – June 19, 2015
"Say Her Name" Solidarity Action for Sandra Bland
Something to Think About – November 19, 2015
Quote of the Day – November 25, 2014
Thoughts on Prayer in a "Summer of Strife"
Quote of the Day – July 13, 2013

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

1 comment:

Mary Lynn Murphy said...

Great, Michael. Wonderful photos.