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Minneapolis: Police murder of Jamar Clark marked by family, community

By Jess Sundin

Minneapolis, MN – Seven years after the police murder of Jamar Clark, family members and community commemorated his life with a car caravan and rally in North Minneapolis, November 12. Organizers stated, “Each year we gather to celebrate Jamar’s life and galvanize the community to fight for lasting change. Despite promises from Mayor Frey and MPD police chiefs, little has changed; the Minneapolis Police Department continues to prove, through the murders of Amir Locke and Tekle Sundberg , why TCC4J and community members call for a Civilian Police Accountability Commission.”

They assembled outside Patrick Henry High School, covering their cars with signs bearing slogans such as “Jamar Clark matters” and “Demand community control of police.” After a few announcements, with chants ringing out over a sound system on the roof of a front car, some 60 vehicles caravanned more than three miles through North Minneapolis, ending on Plymouth Avenue, near where Clark was killed.

On November 15, 2015, 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot in the head just 61 seconds after encountering Minneapolis Police Department officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg. In the 18 days after Clark’s murder, community members occupied the 4th Precinct police station, and demanded prosecution of the two officers. Organizers say that while Jamar Clark did not get the justice he deserved, from that struggle, they won the end of the automatic use of secret grand juries to cover up police homicide cases, forcing a bit of transparency in these killings.

“We are here today, because Jamar Clark matters. We are here today because the officers that murdered Jamar Clark have faced no accountability. We are here today because there have been no systemic changes to prevent this from happening again. There has been no justice,” said Kelly Thomas of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar. “We stand here today, lifted up on the shoulders of our ancestors, demanding justice. Demanding meaningful systemic changes.”

She continued, “In TCC4J, one of the ways that we are fighting for our collective freedom is through a Civilian Police Accountability Commission. CPAC. We want police accountability, and we want community control of the police. We can't regulate what we don't control. We can't hold accountable systems that we have no say in. CPAC is how we take control of our futures. CPAC is how we fight back. CPAC is how we start to get justice for all lives stolen by MPD.”

In addition to Thomas, speakers from Black Lives Matter Minnesota, Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and members of Jamar Clark’s family all addressed the crowd. They demanded community control of the police via CPAC, the firing of MPD officers Schwarze and Ringgenberg, justice for all stolen lives, and that a new train route stop in the neighborhood be named in honor of Jamar Clark.

#MinneapolisMN #PoliceBrutality #JamarClark #TwinCitiesCoalition4JusticeForJamarTCC4J