Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Appleton, WI: Demand justice for Jimmie Sanders rally on the 4-year anniversary of his murder by police

By Hollie Poupart

Appleton, WI march demands justice for Jimmie Sanders.

Appleton, WI – On May 21, over 50 people from across eastern Wisconsin gathered to remember the life of Jimmie Sanders, who was shot and killed by Appleton Police Officer Jay Steinke four years ago. Jimmie Sanders was an innocent bystander who witnessed a bar fight where a single gunshot was fired. The firearm discharge drew Appleton police to the scene. Officer Steinke was one of the first to respond, barging onto the scene and shooting recklessly into Jack Apples Pub.

The actions of Officer Steinke led directly to Jimmie’s death and injured Henry Nellum, the man whose gunshot drew the police in the first place. However, then-Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider ruled Steinke’s use of force justifiable. In the kind of sick twist that only the U.S. injustice system can provide, Henry Nellum was charged with Jimmie’s murder instead. Last September, Nellum was convicted of Jimmie’s murder and will serve 16-and-a half years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Bryan Sanders, the brother of Jimmie Sanders, called out the Appleton police department during the event, saying, “My brother had his back turned when shots rang out, and then [the Appleton police] lied and told the public that he was the aggressor.”

Friends and family bravely returned to the scene for the one of the first times since Jimmie’s murder. They took time to mourn and called the community to continue applying pressure on the APD to admit wrongdoing. A lawsuit against the Appleton Police Depart was filed on behalf of the Sanders family in August of 2020.

Those in attendance marched to the police station and to the location where Sanders was killed while chanting and demanding a civilian-led police accountability council, or CPAC. The evening concluded with a candlelight vigil, a moment of silence, and words of unity for people to take with them moving forward. The event was co-hosted by Bryan Sanders, the Wisconsin Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Food Not Bombs Fox Valley, and Appleton Students for a Democratic Society.

The struggle for justice for all stolen lives continues in northeastern Wisconsin. On May 23, members from these different groups will be gathering in Green Bay to stand with the family of Jonathon Tubby, another area victim of killer cops, as they host a press conference off the heels of the announcement that their federal case was dismissed by Judge William Griesbach. The press conference will be held at 12:30 p.m. at Thornberry Creek at Oneida.

#AppletonWI #PeoplesStruggles #PoliceBrutality #JimmieSanders