Police Murder in Minneapolis:
Occupation Demands Justice for Jamar Clark

November 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


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Cops, Lies, and Videotape

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Sunday, November 15, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 24-year-old Jamar Clark was killed by the police. The cops claim Jamar tried to grab one of their guns in a scuffle. But many, many witnesses say the cops handcuffed Jamar, knocked him to the ground, and then shot him in the head.

Ten-year-old Ze’Morion Dillon-Hokins saw what happened from the front door of his house, 15 feet away. He told the Daily Mail Online that Jamar Clark was handcuffed and then, “They took out a gun and ‘popped’ him in the face. He took two more breaths. I saw the smoke from the gun.” Ze’Morion said Jamar was face down when he was shot and the officers ‘‘flipped him over’’ after the gun had been discharged; that Jamar was dragged to an ambulance, where one handcuff was removed while the other remained on his wrist. Ze’Morion’s mother, Tequila Dillon, said: “He [Ze’Morion] was in shock afterwards.... He saw it all and it has upset him. He came in and fell right over and said: ‘They are killing us.’”

The struggle to demand justice for Jamar Clark began on the spot with a really angry crowd of people confronting the police and yelling, “Fuck the police.” Later, a couple of hundred people gathered at the intersection in response to a call by the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, marched to the police department’s 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis, and took over the outside and lobby area of the building.

The police tried to force people to leave. But the crowd, made up of people of different nationalities, defied the cops and declared a “no cops zone.” Again, very angry crowds, many from the neighborhood, confronted the police. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis hung a banner at the station and an encampment began with people saying this occupation would not end until their demands were met—which includes a demand that the video of the shooting be made public.

For a week now, this encampment of determination has continued to grow. There have been ongoing rallies and marches in the streets, a city council meeting was disrupted, and on Friday, November 20, students walked out at some middle schools and high schools.

Demanding Justice for Jamar Clark

Jamar’s father, James Hill, has refused to call for calm and instead told Daily Mail Online: “It was a cold-blooded execution of a man whose hands were tied. Where is the justice in that? I can’t describe seeing your son laying there in hospital with his eye shot out and being that way. He was as good as dead the moment the police shot him. They kept him alive to buy some time while they figured out what to do. This is a terrible situation, but I welcome people protesting. That is another black life gone. That is again one too many.”

On Monday night, November 16, about 300 people demonstrated on Interstate 94, bringing traffic to a halt for hours. The police arrested 51 people. Meanwhile, all kinds of people were coming to join the encampment and speak out. Bettie Smith, whose son Quincy Smith was killed by the police in 2008, spoke at a news conference in front of the precinct, saying, “The police need to be held accountable for murdering our children. None of our children deserve to be shot and killed, and then talked about like they are animals.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 16)

The names of the two cops who shot Jamar Clark were not made public until Wednesday—and these two murderers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, had been placed on paid leave. This same day, police moved in and began dismantling the encampment, throwing away blankets, food, and books. But people refused to leave, and later that night there was another tense standoff between protesters and the cops, who tried to disperse the crowd with pepper spray. According to news reports, rocks were thrown at the police. AP said that the cops reported several officers being injured and several squad cars damaged.

Protesters reported that the police, who came out in military-style riot gear, fired rubber bullets, teargas, and mace; jabbed and hit people with their batons, dragged people by their hair, and pointed guns at people. They even poured out milk that protesters were using to counteract the teargas. Two journalists were arrested at the I-94 protest.

On Thursday, an image went viral on Twitter: a cop pointing a gun at Jeremiah Ellison, the son of U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, who said in a retweet of the image: “Photo is agonizing for me to see. My son is PEACEFULLY protesting w/ hands up; officer is shouldering gun. Why?”

The encampment was rebuilt right away, and that night a crowd of at least 250 people gathered outside the precinct, joined arms and partially surrounded the building. One of the slogans was “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail.” Another was “Handcuffs, don’t shoot.” Slogans were spray-painted on the precinct walls, like FTP (Fuck the Police) and Justice for Jamar.

On Friday, federal investigators announced they would not release the video of the shooting of Jamar Clark. That night, the city council meeting was disrupted—people who tried to speak out about the police murder of Jamar were removed from the room. Earlier, a number of members of the city council had expressed support for the protesters.

Later in the afternoon, union leaders held a solidarity rally outside the police station. One speaker, Kyle Edwards of AFSCME Local 3800, representing University of Minnesota clerical workers, said working-class people are becoming aware that “we’re all in this together.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 22)

Determined Encampment

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?" is a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. The film is of the November 2014 historic Dialogue on a question of great importance in today's world between the Revolutionary Christian Cornel West and the Revolutionary Communist Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

On Friday, there was a rally and march of several hundred people, of different nationalities and all ages, but young people in the majority. Native American dancers came out to the encampment to perform.

There is a real sense of community—people united and taking care of each other, and all kinds of discussions going on around the many fires people have going to keep warm. There has been an air of both defiance and celebration in the joy of people coming together to fight the power—people are not only marching in the street, but are also playing music and dancing in the street too! A woman from the neighborhood talked about letting people into her home to have a warm place to sleep. All kinds of donations are pouring in.

As there was in Ferguson, when people from all over the country came to join the struggle against the murder of Michael Brown, there seems to be a real welcoming atmosphere towards different people joining the struggle. One speaker talked about how we have to stay united; not let them use divide and conquer. He said, “If you got tensions between each other, work it out, keep it out, because they will try to use that against us.”

Livestream from Unicorn Riot, an alternative media collective, includes interviews with all kinds of people. A Black man making hot water for cocoa for people says, “I got a crib down the street, but I need to be here.” He has been going to his job during the day and then coming to the encampment. He says, “My co-workers, they see the button [with a picture of Jamar Clark] and they haven’t been out here and they don’t know, they just see the news.... People be like why you going over there? Because that’s where I need to be at. My job is to make sure we got hot water for the hot cocoa and hot apple cider so people can get warm and keep doing what they have to do.... Look at all these diverse people—you see Black, white, Asian, Somalians, you see everybody. It’s justice to be served. It should be done the way it should be done. I’m here, I’m not going nowhere.”

Another interview on Friday night is with a group of Black middle school and high school students. They talk about how they had led and/or been part of a walkout at school that day, how they had left school to join the encampment and were now staying in a small, portable wooden structure called the “Justice Shack.” One of them talks about the importance of history—knowing about how their names are from slave owners and how “they used to hang us.”

Another group of Black and white high school students who don’t seem to be from the immediate area came to the encampment with hot food, blankets, and donated supplies. They talked about how glad they are to be part of the struggle and when asked why they had come, they said, “We want a better future for ourselves, where Black people are not getting shot for minor things; Minnesota doesn’t have a death penalty, why are we executing people?”

And like in Ferguson, there are also many of the “brave elements” from the neighborhood who have come to join the struggle—very, very angry and expressing just how much they hate the police (“fuck the police!”), how much they are dogged by the police, and how fucked up it is that they are arrested, sent to jail, etc. for all kinds of things when the police just get away with murder. When asked what justice means after the murder of Jamar Clark, one guy said, “Fuck the police, we outside, you don’t have to shoot my brother... Black people is killing us, but you all killing us, too, all over the world... you all not helping us killing us... justice will look like the police doing time.”

Stay tuned to www.revcom.us for updates on the developing situation in this struggle for justice for Jamar Clark.



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