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Sit-in at Minneapolis mayor’s office demands justice for Jamar Clark

By staff |
June 13, 2019
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Protest for justice for Jamar Clark at Minneapolis mayor's office.
Protest for justice for Jamar Clark at Minneapolis mayor's office. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Community members took over the office of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, June 12. They demanded the mayor take the actions - actions that he has the power to take - to get justice for the family of Jamar Clark.

Earlier that afternoon, after a rally organized by Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice for Jamar (TCC4J), protesters marched into Frey’s office, demanding to meet with him. They bore a funeral wreath constructed of dollar bills to represent the lack of a meaningful settlement in Jamar’s case.

During an all-day session last month - at nearly the same time that the city announced a $20 million settlement for the family of Justine Damond Ruszczyk - the city of Minneapolis refused to even make Jamar’s family a settlement offer. Damond Ruszczyk, a white woman living in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, was murdered by a Minneapolis cop in 2017. Minneapolis cops murdered Jamar Clark was in November 2015.

The three demands for the action were: a just settlement for the family of Jamar Clark; the firing of the officers who killed Jamar and that the mayor refer the two cops for prosecution.

In just a few weeks, over 1000 community members have signed a petition urging city officials to agree to a settlement that could “show that we value the life of a Black man from North Minneapolis as much as that of white woman from Southwest Minneapolis. No amount of money will bring beloved community members back; but if Justine’s life is worth $20 million, so is Jamar’s. Justice demands it.”

Once in the mayor’s office, the 35 protesters started playing videos (with the speakers on blast) that showed witness statements from the scene of Jamar’s murder, to drive home the message to the mayor that he must fire Jamar’s killers, police officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze. They posted dozens of signs to the office walls listing their demands. The emcees read out the names of people who signed the petition. The occupiers gave out phone numbers to the mayor and city councilors and did a mass call-in. Speakers from Native Lives Matter, Communities United Against Police Brutality and others affected by police violence and murder spoke.

A statement sent out by TCCC4J during the occupation read, “The mayor has the power over the police department, so we put the burden of guilt upon him. He could take real action to get a measure of justice for Jamar and other victims. But he does nothing. That is just one of the reasonsTCC4J is fighting for a Minneapolis Police Accountability Council - an elected council of civilians who have the power over the cops. Until that day comes, we will keep fighting officials like the mayor who keep cops like Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze in full MPD uniform, not fired and on trial for murder.”

Building security tried several times to get the community members to leave, but they refused. After four hours, they left in defiance, having exposed Mayor Frey as another do-nothing politician complicit in the murder of Black and brown people.