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Appleton, WI: The fight for justice for Jimmie Sanders continues 6 years on

By staff

Appleton protest demands justice for Jimmie Sanders.

Appleton, WI – Family, friends and community members gathered in downtown Appleton this weekend to demand justice for Jimmie Sanders on the sixth anniversary of his murder at the hands of the Appleton Police Department.

On May 21, 2017, Sanders was shot and killed by Officer Jay Steinke after APD was called to respond to gunfire at Jack’s Apple Pub in downtown Appleton. Upon arrival at the bar Steinke opened fire into the crowd, hitting Sanders – an innocent bystander – four times and fatally wounding him.

The rally was organized by Sanders friends and family, and it provided an outlet for community members to express their rage and sadness at the unjust murder of yet another Black man at the hands of police.

Members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Appleton Students for a Democratic Society participated in the rally, holding signs at Houdini plaza and discussing Sanders murder with passersby.

Michael Stevens gave a speech demanding that the investigation into Jimmie’s murder be reopened. Stevens directed attendees to sign the Sanders family’s petition that calls on the Outagamie County District Attorney’s office to reopen Jimmie’s case and undergo an impartial investigation. People interested in signing the petition can do so at this link:

Stevens called attention to the way that the APD has placed the blame for Sanders’ death entirely on Henry Nellum, the person they had originally been called to respond to that night at the bar. According to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website, Nellum was ultimately convicted of five charges relating to the incident, including felony murder and first-degree recklessly endangering safety, while Officer Steinke got off scot-free.

“Steinke put multiple lives in danger that night and ultimately murdered Jimmie Sanders. He was able to stay on the force and retire two years after he took Sanders' life. He is now walking free, while Henry Nellum is sitting in prison for 16-and-a-half years for a murder he did not commit. Nellum didn't kill Jimmie. Officer Steinke did!” Stevens said.

Stevens concluded, “We don't need more cops pretending to investigate themselves. The community should control the police. We need a civilian elected council that has the final say when it comes to police budgets, policies and employment. If a cop murders an innocent, they should lose their job, and be convicted just like the rest of us. Jay Steinke needs to be in prison for this murder, not Henry Nellum.”

Jimmie’s brother Brian Sanders also gave a speech highlighting the biased and corrupt nature of the investigation into his brother’s murder, and reiterated the call for the case to be reopened and investigated by an impartial outside party.

The rally continued with a march through downtown Appleton and around the police station. Police closed the gate to the station’s parking lot as the crowd marched past.

#AppletonWI #PoliceBrutality #JimmieSanders