Police Brutality Roundup: "False Reporting" Law Overturned, Taser Policy Changes
from Communities United Against Police Brutality--We are ecstatic to report that the so-called False Reporting law passed by the Minnesota Legislature four years ago has been overturned by the state appeals court. You'll recall that CUAPB took the state of Minnesota to federal court to overturn this awful law, which criminalizes reporting of police brutality if the person can't prove it happened (and sometimes even if they can). We lost at the very conservative 8th circuit federal court and have been in the process of mounting an appeal when this ruling came down from the state appeals court in another lawsuit. See the decision (PDF) here. The decision incorporates many of the First Amendment arguments we advanced, so we are quite happy to see the law go down for those reasons. All-in-all, a wonderful decision for the community.
One excerpt we particularly enjoy: "Our guide in this undertaking is the majority opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in R.A.V., a landmark case declaring a St. Paul ordinance banning certain cross burnings to be unconstitutional. . . . 'St. Paul has no . . . authority to license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquis de Queensberry rules.' . . . '[T]he government may proscribe libel; but it may not make the further content discrimination of proscribing only libel critical of the government.'"
Under these new policies, Tasers are now considered "less lethal" rather than nonlethal. Impact weapons get similar treatment. Recall that in 2006, the city council required the MPD to adopt a fairly stringent Taser policy in order to purchase more Tasers but barely 18 months later, the MPD secretly gutted the policy. Their actions can be directly attributed to the deaths of Quincy Smith and David Cornelius Smith. The new policy makes it clear that Tasers neither can be used on passive resistors or simply noncompliant suspects. Given the large number of complaints we get of people being Tased while handcuffed simply for speaking, if the policy is actually followed this could bring the community some relief.
To quote Dave Bicking, who first broke this story, "It appears that Quincy Smith and David Cornelius Smith have succeeded where the CRA [Civilian Review Authority] failed. It's sick that it takes that kind of price to be paid."
Thursday, October 14 at 6:30 p.m.
3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
In light of the Metro Gang Task Force debacle, the recent death after tasing of David Smith, several high profile incidents and lawsuits, and the second firing of MPD cop Jason Andersen, CUAPB will hold a panel discussion that takes us back to the root question: what role, if any, does policing have in our society. In the lead up to October 22 National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, panelists representing a wide range of political views will present on this highly relevant topic. There will be plenty of time for questions and comments from the public. Please join us for what will be a fascinating discussion.
Friday, October 22 National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality
THERE'S BEEN A CHANGE IN THE START OF THE MARCH!
October 22, 7:00 p.m.
March to mark the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality
Leaving from Lake Street at Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis
Protest the blatant and unpunished murders of Fong Lee, Quincy Smith, David Smith and so many others, and the lack of prosecution of cop corruption with the Metro Gang Task Force. Demand an end to police brutality NOW!
October 22, 8:30 p.m.
Joint CUAPB/RNC 8 Fundraiser
913 W Lake St, Minneapolis
Suggested donation $10
The wonderful owners of Favor Cafe (the only Black-owned business in uptown) are turning over their beautiful club to us for this festive evening fundraiser. A great lineup of spoken word and hip hop artists will provide the entertainment. Regular and adult beverages, appetizers and delicious soul food entrees will be available for purchase, including vegan options. Our goal is to raise funds for legal fees for the RNC 8 and for people who face false charges after being brutalized, including Philander Jenkins, who needs funds to appeal his false conviction.