Activists calling for “Justice 4 Jamar” issued their own video on the eve of an expected decision whether to prosecute the Minneapolis police officers who shot and killed Jamar Clark.
The response was prompted by a warning video from Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau that activists called “inflammatory.”
Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds and Pastor Danny Givens, both leaders in the coalition that have protested the killing, recall the Minneapolis police history of paying out millions to settle police misconduct cases, but failing to “effectively discipline police who engage in misconduct.”
“For decades, the black community has tolerates abuse at the hands of MPD, but those days have now come to an end. We will not tolerate police engaging in excessive force against our community,” says Levy-Pounds in the video.
Givens says as Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman prepares to announce his decision whether to prosecute the police officers “our community is making plans to engage in nonviolent, peaceful protest and to exercise our rights to free speech.”
A FaceBook post from Black Lives Matter says it is planning a rally at 6pm in Elliot Park whichever day Freeman makes his announcement.
Video and Transcript
The Minneapolis Police Department has a long history of violating the rights of residents of the City of Minneapolis.
Over the last decade alone, the city of Minneapolis has paid out nearly $20 million dollars to settle police misconduct cases. Despite these staggering settlement amounts, the city has failed to effectively discipline police who engage in misconduct.
Pastor Danny Givens:
We believe that a violent police culture that lacks accountability, puts the lives of all citizens in jeopardy.
Last November, the shooting death of Jamar Clark by MPD led to an 18 day occupation outside the 4th precinct.
Despite the protests being largely peaceful and nonviolent, we were met by a militarized police force in riot gear. We were sprayed with tear gas and mace without warning, police pointed guns at protesters, including children, and some of were even struck by rubber bullets.
And both women and children, alike, were even physically assaulted by those sworn to protect and serve. Protecting the safety of the African American community has never been a priority for the Minneapolis Department.
For decades, the black community has tolerates abuse at the hands of MPD, but those days have now come to an end. We will not tolerate police engaging in excessive force against our community.
We will not tolerate the criminalization of the African American community. As we await the Hennepin County attorney’s decision on whether to charge the officers who killed Jamar Clark, our community is making plans to engage in nonviolent, peaceful protest and to exercise our rights to free speech.
We expect MPD to treat our community with dignity and respect. We expect MPD to exercise restraint and to refrain from abuse in their response to protesters.
The MPD, for once, must strike a balance between protecting our first Amendment right to free speech and protecting public safety.