Black Lives Matter in Minneapolis
A lot has happened since I last spoke with you and if you have been watching the news, then maybe you have seen Minneapolis on its headlines. I’ve seen articles on the BBC, The Guardian, and the New York Times, but if you haven’t heard, then I’ll do a quick recap.
In the early morning on November 15th, an unarmed man named Jamar Clark was in a scuffle with the police. He was fatally shot at the scene and died a day later, determined by doctors as a gunshot to the head. Since then, witness reports have flooded in, saying that Jamar was unarmed, that he was handcuffed, and that he wasn’t resisting the cops. The police say otherwise. They say that Jamar fought back and reached for an officers gun.
There seems to be a lot of inconclusive information in the air, but in the end, it doesn’t matter if Jamar did fight back. It doesn’t matter if he was handcuffed. And it doesn’t matter if he did try to reach for the gun. These allegations are blurring the whole picture. What really matters is that a police officer should not kill a citizen. The police are not the ones to judge if someone deserves to die or to live. They are not the executioner.
Sadly, for black americans, this is the reality. They do not feel safe in their own communities (especially for black folks in the north side of MSP). The police cannot be trusted because racism stills runs deep in the MPD and for all US police departments for that matter. For years, the twin cities’ police department has “repeatedly been caught for racists and white supremacist behavior” (quoted from linked article above), even being linked to KKK-affiliated groups.
Since the death of Jamar Clark, communities have come together to protest for the wrongs done by the police. They also want the police to release important information about the incident, such as video tapes, audio, and personal statements. They want #Justice4Jamar. It first started when protesters stood together on I-94 northbound, blocking traffic for most of the evening on November 16th.
After 42 protesters were arrested, the #BlackLivesMatterMinneapolis movement came together in full force and started the Minneapolis 4th Precinct occupation. This is the police department that houses the officers who were involved in the Jamar Clark shooting. Peaceful protesters have occupied the area for almost 2 weeks now, advocating for #ReleaseTheTapes. Volunteers and advocates from all over the Twin Cities have come to donate food and firewood. Others have served hot food, which is free for all people who attend or visit the occupation.
Earlier this week, on Monday November 23, occupiers mentioned that a few masked folks visited the occupation. They yelled racial slurs and disrupted the peace. They were self proclaimed white supremacists. It was later that evening when these masked folks returned to the occupation, saying the same racist remarks as before. People were mad, causing unrest throughout the whole occupation. Some protesters and occupants tried to mollify the situation, but before anything could be done, the masked men pulled out their guns, shot five protesters, and ran from the scene. Luckily, no one was fatally shot.
On Tuesday November 24th, there was a scheduled #Justice4Jamar march starting at 2pm. The plan was to march from the 4th precinct to Minneapolis’ City Hall and the Federal Courthouse.
Over 2000 people attended to show their support for #BlackLivesMatter and for #JamarClark.
Chants were echoed from the north side all the way to the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Marchers chanted, “Black Lives…Matter!” “Prosecute The Police, No Justice No Peace!” and “Jamar…Clark!” Another chant included putting your hands up in the air and saying, “Hands Up…Don’t Shoot!” After an hour of walking, the march found themselves in front of the Federal Courthouse. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis leaders, local NAACP leaders, and other #BlackLivesMatter allies spoke to the crowd. They spoke of Jamar Clark, what the people were marching for, and they shared stories from locals who had been shot or maced by police and opposing parties.
The speaker’s voices were heard and the cheers and chanting continued all the way back to the 4th precinct. The energy in the crowd was palpable. After the march, a party was held in front of the 4th precinct, which included music and hot food. People of all colors gathered together to promote for peace, to promote for justice, and to promote for change.
The occupation will continue until the desired information is released for the Jamar Clark case. Till then, if you want to get involved or help further the cause, you can find information about upcoming events or fundraising opportunities at the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook page. Their next event is #BlackGiving. Consider volunteering or attending if you’re free on Thanksgiving day.
Black Lives Matter