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Minneapolis police murder Tekle Sundberg

By Danielle Korby

Minneapolis protest following police murder Tekle Sundberg.

Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis police once again proved that Black lives in this city do not matter when they shot and killed a 20-year-old man, Tekle Sundberg, who was having a mental health crisis, July 14. MPD officers Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine shot him early Thursday morning after a six-hour standoff at an apartment building in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. Both officers were also part of the SWAT team that murdered Amir Locke in Minneapolis in February of this year.

A vigil Thursday night outside the apartment building where Tekle was killed and was attended by around 100 people. Tekle’s loved ones at the vigil shared outrage that MPD asked Tekle’s parents to come to the scene but were not allowed to enter the apartment building to speak with their son or de-escalate the situation. They also shared that MPD officers waited until many witnesses had left the scene and stopped live streaming before entering the apartment building and shooting Tekle. His loved ones said the apartment building was fully evacuated at that point and said that meant that the only life at risk in the building was Tekle’s life.

“There will be a spotlight yet again on the city of Minneapolis because the city of Minneapolis just can’t get it right,” said Marcia Howard, a teacher at Roosevelt High School and an activist with the George Floyde Square community.

A similar incident happened in Fairbault, MN the same night that Tekle was shot, where a man was also experiencing a mental health crisis and asked police to shoot him. However, that man was apprehended alive by police and less lethal measures were taken. Tekle’s loved ones reminded attendees at the vigil that police often find ways to disarm and de-escalate white men with guns but do not use that discretion for Black folks, showing their blatant disregard for Black lives. Howard added, “That was an execution. That was: ‘Oh, we’re free to go now.’ But that was a person’s life that they dismissed like it was just so much of a bother. Shift’s over, and he is now dead.”

Tekle’s loved ones addressed the media who were present at the vigil, demanding that they tell the truth, stop harassing Tekle’s family, and stop reporting MPD’s propaganda and misinformation. They admonished MPD not only for taking so many Black lives but for their awful treatment of the victim’s families. Tekle’s sister also thanked the crowd for showing their support.

Tekle was a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, and many of his classmates and teachers were present at the vigil. They said that he was a creative student with a big heart who cared deeply for his community, loved art and farming, and was a wrestler.

Speakers at the vigil demanded that MPD release all of the body camera footage from the incident. They urged people to fight for justice for Tekle and to hold MPD and the city of Minneapolis accountable for this latest murder.

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