Late at night and unannounced, we were afforded a great amount of courtesy and respect by being invited into Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges' home by her husband Gary Cunningham to engage in a dialogue regarding the murder of Jamar Clark at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.
"Whether you live on the north or the south side of Minneapolis, or anywhere in the metro area, all Minneapolis neighbors deserve the same level of respect that we received tonight," stated Sam Gould, a Minneapolis artist and longtime activist.
Sam, along with Ashley Fairbanks, led myself and a motley crew of 13 Minneapolis residents and artists that decided to leave the 4th Precinct on the North side to ask the mayor to have the MPD stand down, after witnessing repeated accounts of abuse on Minneapolis citizens and peaceful protestors tonight. Those accounts of abuse performed by the MPD present including but not limited to: physical intimidation, rubber bullets, tear gas, and mace. Not only this, we witnessed MPD officers point a loaded weapon at Minneapolis Council Member Cam Gordon, followed by the brave actions of Minneapolis Council Member Lisa Bender stepping in front of the officer, telling him to stand down. If Council Members are asking the Minneapolis Police to stand down at gun point, Mayor Hodges should do the same from the safety of City Hall. Further delay from Mayor Hodges only exacerbates what is already a tenuous situation. We call on Mayor Hodges to stand with Minneapolis residents and meet the demands of protestors, to represent those that elected her to be our mayor, and to get out in front of this tragic situation.
Group of Minneapolis community organizers, activist and leaders took the motion to walk up to Mayor Betsy Hodges residence in South Minneapolis last night after protesting at the 4th Precinct promoting Justice for Jamal Clark. (Photo taken by Emerson Leandro)
Footage of protesters inside Mayor Hodge's home at this link https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1098859110124174&id=100000002854235
Another account this evening was when MPD pulled up with military gear and non-lethal rubber bullets which struck a 14 year-old in the chest who was peacefully protesting. In fact, the young man who we are refraining to state his name due to him being a minor, was conducting a dance routine to prevent young protesters from getting restless.
"We were standing around and things were actually calming down, when all of a sudden a white van pulled into the crowd with cops pushing out and shoving people while aiming their weapons at close range." shared Bey.
Through poisen we must find the medicine to cure our pain. We must stand up and speak. Sometimes our circles need motivation to take action. I am honored to have been amongst other people in Minneapolis who dedicate every breath and minute to seek equality and justice. We are family members, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who through our work are passionate to utilize our voices and experiences to serve our community. It was a memoriable, historical and brave action we took as a collective demanding answers and wanting to bridge communication through peace and respect for our rights as law abiding citizens. - Maria Isa Perez