A network representing 32 chapters of Black Lives Matter across the country has asked the U.S. Conference of Mayors to embrace its demands to repudiate “state violence” against black people in four U.S. cities including Minneapolis.
In a letter made public today, the network asked the mayors to endorse the demand of Black Lives Matter in Minnesota for the release of any videotapes in order to shed light on the shooting death of Jamar Clark by police.
Clark was shot by police in north Minneapolis on Nov. 15 after an encounter with two police officers. Some witnesses say Clark was handcuffed at the time he was shot, which police deny. A police union official said that Clark was attempting to grab an officer’s gun when he was shot, which activists say is untrue. Clark’s death has sparked numerous protests by Black Lives Matter.
The group’s network also asks that Mayor Betsy Hodges join in the Black Lives Matter in its demand for a special prosecutor in the Clark shooting, rather than leaving the decision on whether to indict police officers in the hands of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and a county grand jury.
The network also asks Hodges to take necessary actions, “both legislative and financial” to require all law enforcement officers to take “bias and cultural competency training”; create an independent review board to investigate allegations of police midconduct with the power to administer discipline; “limit the use of deadly force by law enforcement; adopt policies to end alleged racial profiling by the police; and issue quarterly reports on complaints and law suits filed against the city over alleged police misconduct as well as detailing settlements reached by the city in such cases.
The network also asks that the fourth police precinct in north Minneapolis be converted into a community center, describing the precinct as a “fortress dedicated to the suppression of black people.”
Demands for change were also made regarding the cities of Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles.