Activists shut down panel about transparency in law enforcement

By Loretta VanPelt |
December 6, 2016
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Minneapolis, MN - On Dec. 3, community members and activists gathered at Wayman AME Church in North Minneapolis for a panel discussion about how to “bring back transparency in law enforcement.” Panelists included Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, police federation President Lt. Bob Kroll, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputy Kellace McDaniel and Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. All were unprepared for the heat they got from the crowd assembled in the church.

Activists who have done work around the Jamar Clark case were ready to ask the hard questions, especially of Bob Kroll and Mike Freeman. The discussion started out with ten pre-selected questions, and then those present were able to ask questions. But an hour in, that was not to be.

Bob Kroll was challenged for his affiliation with City Heat, a white supremacist motorcycle gang, and for his public statements calling Black Lives Matter protesters “terrorists.”

Asked about his biggest regret being a prosecutor, Mike Freeman stated that using grand juries in other police shootings was a mistake and that going forward, since the Jamar Clark case, he will no longer use grand juries. The audience asked him why his biggest regret was not his failure to charge a single officer in 52 cases of police murdering innocent people under his watch. James Clark, Jamar’s father, confronted Freeman about his son’s case and the racism he sees from law enforcement in the community every day. Dennis Cherry, Sr., a witness to the Clark murder, asked why the accounts of two dozen Black witnesses were ignored in Freeman’s decision not to prosecute Clark’s killers.

Activists challenged Freeman on the case of white supremacists who shot five young men during the Fourth Precinct occupation. Cameron Clark, who was wounded in the attack, was present at the event. Chauntyll Allen asked Freeman why he sat with the family of one of the shooters during a bail hearing. Freeman denied this, but several audience members took to their feet, saying they had seen him with their own eyes.

Moments later the panel left, not wanting to hear the truth. Those who attended did not believe that any transparency happened. In the words of one audience member, it was a “dog and pony,” show.

The meeting took place just blocks from where Jamar Clark was shot by two Minneapolis officers on November 15, 2015.