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Twin Cities MLK Day actions demand justice for victims of police killings

By Loretta VanPelt |
January 23, 2016
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Minneapolis, MN - Over 100 people braved sub-zero weather, Jan. 18, to demand justice for Jamar Clark and Marcus Golden in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Black Lives Matter Saint Paul and Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar Clark organized the event.

Black Lives Matter Saint Paul met on the Saint Paul Side of the Marshall Avenue/Lake Street bridge and protesters also gathered on the Minneapolis side. They shut down traffic to the bridge and met in the middle. Once there, the aunt of Marcus Golden spoke. Monique Cullars Doty stated, “We may be freezing outside, but our hearts are warm for justice.” She also stated that the video footage of Golden’s death has been taken down numerous times from their website, indicating there is something there Saint Paul Police do not want the people to see.

Golden’s mother, Ericka Cullars Golden, also spoke to the crowd, telling of Golden’s character and how the media made her son out to be the bad guy, stating “Let’s talk about these other people who aren’t right, they want to talk about my son like he is an evil demon, that he did this and he did that, they’re not right, they’re the ones who started this nightmare…” She also stated that she wanted to seek justice for her son, and said, “Things are not right in Saint Paul.” There were also calls to re-open Marcus Golden’s case. The rally ended with Jamar Clark’s Cousin Alexander Clark speaking.

Later on Jan. 18, in Minneapolis at a Martin Luther King Jr event at a park named after him, the Black Liberation Project shut down Mayor Betsy Hodges before she could speak. The protesters spoke of her condoning the actions of cops during the Fourth Precinct occupation. An 18-year-old protester spoke of her experience of being “dragged by her hijab and beaten” by Minneapolis police during that time. Others spoke of how Mayor Hodges does not care about Black people in the city. Mayor Hodges was forced to leave the stage.

In the days leading up to the protest, it was revealed that a Saint Paul police officer by the name of Jeffrey M. Rothecker made incendiary statements in which he suggests that people who are driving run over protesters. That officer has since been placed on paid administrative leave.

On Jan. 19, there was a call-in day by the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar Clark, targeting the office of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, to demand that the shooting of Jamar Clark goes to trial and not to go to a grand jury.