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Community leaders speak out against cops in ketamine drugging scandal

By Jess Sundin |
June 20, 2018
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Angel Smith El
Angel Smith El (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - In response to the ketamine drugging scandal of the Minneapolis Police Department and Hennepin County Emergency Medical Services, community members gathered at City Hall on June 19. Representatives of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J), the Racial Justice Network, ACLU of Minnesota and New North addressed the media to demand justice, accountability and reparations for victims.

Just days after the scandal was revealed in a leaked report from city hall, community activist Nekima Levy-Pounds convened the press conference saying, “We are appalled by the egregious allegations that Minneapolis police officers urged EMT personnel to sedate people with ketamine, a powerful and dangerous drug, causing respiratory distress and heart failure in some victims.” She urged swift action by city and county officials, saying, “It should not take someone dying at the hands of police and EMTs in order for people to take action.”

Angel Smith El spoke next, for TCC4J. “The people demand justice. We need more than a report by the city’s Office of Police Conduct Review. The OPCR has no power to discipline officers, even when it finds they did wrong. The chief has made a new policy for police going forward, but you don’t need a policy to know it’s wrong to drug people you have already arrested and restrained. The cops involved in these past cases are dangerous, and we want them off the streets. This is why we demand community control of the police, an all-civilian board with the power to get rid of violent and abusive cops.”

They both, along with other speakers, called for an independent third-party investigation of the scandal, firing of police officers and paramedics involved in abuses, reparations for their victims, and public release of demographic data of those who were sedated with ketamine, including race, gender and geographic locations in which these incidents took place. They urged victims to come forward, and pledged to keep the pressure on.