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Minneapolis hits the streets to remember Jamar Clark, and keep fighting for justice

Monday, November 14, 2016 20:49
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100 people marched through North Minneapolis, Nov. 13, to remember Jamar Clark, and continue the fight for justice and against police crimes. The event kicked off a week of actions to mark one year since Clark was killed by Minneapolis police. Organized by the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice (TCC4J), the action opened with a rally at Broadway and Lyndale Avenues, then took to the streets for about three miles, marching past the Fourth police precinct and to the site of Clark’s murder at James and Plymouth Avenues.

On Nov. 15, 2015, 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot in the head during a 61-second encounter with Minneapolis police officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg. In the 18 days that followed, community members occupied the nearby Fourth Precinct police station, demanding justice and calling for the prosecution of the two officers that killed Jamar Clark. Courtney Donelson, who took part in that occupation, opened the rally for the Coalition, with a moment of silence by noting, “It’s almost a year since Jamar Clark was killed by the MPD.” Describing what has become an epidemic of police killings, especially African American communities, she said, “Just remember that this happens way too often.”

Also speaking at the rally was Jamar’s father, James Clark. James shared positive memories of his son, and decried the injustice of his death at the hands of police, who claimed to fear for their lives when they shot him. James said, “Jamar didn’t have no weapon, he didn’t have anything but himself. To me the only person that was in danger was Jamar.” He thanked community members for their support, and urged everyone to keep fighting.

Shvonne Johnson, speaking of how the past year has been difficult, offered comfort with her beautiful rendition of the song Something Inside So Strong.

With that, the group took to the streets behind a banners that read “Justice4Jamar” and “No justice no peace, no racist police!” chanting, “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail!” From busy Broadway Avenue, to the quieter streets, on every block, community members cheered for the marchers and joined the chants, as everyone remembered Jamar Clark.

Marchers rallied again outside the Fourth Precinct police station. Austin Jackson of AR-14 for Justice spoke emotionally about beginning his activism there, in the protests for Jamar Clark. 16 shots by Vic Mensa, about the murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police, was played before protesters moved to the nearby site of Jamar’s murder. There was another moment of silence, and two of Jamar’s cousins spoke.

In his last days, Jamar wrote on social media that believed his life had a “higher purpose.” Those who took to the streets of Minneapolis to demand justice for him agree, and honor his memory by fighting to win #JusticeThruJamar, which will be the theme for actions all week.

Monday, supporters will call Hennepin County Prosecutor Mike Freeman, who failed to charge the cops that killed Jamar. He justified his decision with a series of lies. He told the public that Jamar had been involved in a domestic violence matter the police were responding to. This is a proven lie. He claimed that Jamar was acting aggressively, resisting arrest and trying to take an officer’s gun. But these lies weren’t backed up by video evidence, or the accounts of two dozen Black eyewitnesses. Freeman has also brought lenient charges against the white supremacists that shot five people at the protests for Jamar Clark. Call Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550. Demand that he look at Jamar Clark’s case again, and bring charges against Schwarze and Ringgenberg, and urge him to throw the book at the violent racists who terrorized protesters last year.

Tuesday, Nov. 15, the community will gather at Plymouth and James Avenues at 5 p.m., for a candlelight vigil at the site of Jamar’s murder. More information about this and other #JusticeThruJamar events can be found at facebook.com/tcc4j

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