Occupy Confronts Mayor Over Police “Ambush”, Calls For His Ouster

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After a loud persistent demonstration at Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak’s office on April 9, 2012, the mayor agreed to meet with Police Chief Tim Dolan and the representatives of Occupy Minneapolis on April 10, 2012. The group was mostly quiet and more disciplined that the demonstration the day before. Before meeting the organizers asked the group to be silent as possible and “more civil.”

It was a tense confrontation. The Occupy speakers presented specific complaints asking for a yes or no answer. Sam Richards, one of those arrested said, “For a mayor who is often lauded as a champion progressive, it’s slightly shocking how quiet you’ve been on this issue.”

Others questioned the allocation of such massive force, the attacks by the police and the general problem of police actions against the African American Community.

The responses by the mayor and the chief were mostly, “If you have evidence present us to the mayor’s office or the police department.” When repeatedly pressed if he condemned police violence, the mayor responded, “I already have.”

Mayor wants the evidence

Another occupier said that, “Prior to April 7th’s re-occupy, law enforcement said it was going to ramp up to RNC(Republican National Convention) like capabilities. Is the Minneapolis Police Department working with Stanek (Hennepin County Sheriff) the Homeland Security Fusion Center to target and attack occupiers?” Rybak denied any connection DHS or any outside agencies. He further sad that the reported discussion last year of mayors talking about Occupy did not include him, “I wasn’t part of any of those discussions.”

To the continued frustration of the occupiers, the answer to almost all questions was, “Bring us the evidence. To the Mayor’s Office, Police, or Civilian Review Board.” As the meeting broke up they decided that the evidence had already been submitted and no one wanted to be further targeted. The group briefly convened outside City Hall and agreed to meet and draw up a petition to remove Mayor Rybak.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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