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Fighting for Justice is Essential Work

Statement by Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar |
April 9, 2020
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(Fight Back! News/Staff)

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J).

Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J), is committed to protecting our most vulnerable community members during this pandemic; at the same time, we continue the fight against police abuses. Problems of police violence and economic and health inequalities are rising to the surface of day-to-day life under quarantine. Unlike billionaires, corporations, and politicians, TCC4J is staying on the front lines to defend our communities.

Minnesota’s Stay At Home Order aims to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus. That makes sense for the public health, but we worry about the role of police as enforcers. It can’t be a blank check to raise the levels of policing in our communities or destroy our democratic rights. The Stay At Home Order doesn’t mean you lose the right to leave your house until May 4, it means you should not gather in public. We do not trust police to respect our rights.

City and state officials said police would “educate community members” violating the order, before resorting to other means; but some police have charged people going about their business, in no way violating the order. Police are not educators, and we don’t see them setting aside their force-first routine, especially with Black, brown and Native people. Without community control of the police, racist and violent policing will continue. If you see or experience police abuses, please reach out!

In New York, Detroit, Chicago and St. Paul, cops have tested positive for COVID-19. Police can spread the virus in our communities. In most of Minneapolis, arrests and traffic stops are down; in North Minneapolis, police activity is up. We see cops in our neighborhoods taking no efforts to avoid exposing community members. This needs to change. The enforcement of petty violations is not worth risking lives.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, we were in the fight to free Myon Burrell. His wrongful conviction got a lot of attention when Amy Klobuchar used his case in her (failed) campaign for president. Now Myon, and thousands of others are at risk in jails, prisons and immigrant detention centers, with no protection from the virus and no access to adequate health care.

TCC4J is still working to free Myon Burrell and has joined with others to demand that more people be released from jails, prisons and ICE detention centers. The fight to end racist police violence in our communities, means we need to win community control of the police. Supporters are encouraged to get involved.

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