Rebellion wins demand: All four Minneapolis police charged in murder of George Floyd
St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced this afternoon, June 3, an increase of the charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, adding a second-degree murder charge to the indictment against him. In addition, three additional Minneapolis police officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder; they stood by watching Derek Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes until his body was lifeless. They are expected to be taken into custody today.
Charging and arresting all four has been the main demand of the uprising that has rocked Minneapolis and Saint Paul for the past seven days. In the past 24 hours, the results of the uprising are already reaching further.
The Minneapolis Rebellion has been the largest urban uprising since the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles after the acquittal of the cops who beat Rodney King. The Minneapolis Third Precinct police station in South Minneapolis is a burned shell. Many went ‘shopping for free.’ Every block of Lake Street for five miles around the Third Precinct had buildings burned or vandalized. In addition to the police station, two post offices, at least one Target store, many liquor stores, pawn shops, cellphone and auto parts stores were all hit. A one-mile stretch of University Avenue in Saint Paul's Midway neighborhood experienced some heavy damage, and North Minneapolis was also hit, including the Fourth Precinct, where Jamar Clark was killed by police in 2015. More than 360 businesses were vandalized or had doors and windows smashed. 66 commercial buildings have been destroyed by fire.
The state of Minnesota is launching a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. The state knew full well before the uprising that in the past five years, Minneapolis police used force against African Americans at a rate at least seven times higher than that for white people. Yesterday the State Civil Rights Commission finally located the political will to address it as a problem.
The Minneapolis School Board also voted unanimously to remove police from the public schools. This is a demand that youth in our community have been raising for at least five years as the city has tried to clog the schools to prison pipeline – one that saddles youth with criminal records for high school shoving matches and truancy. The practice of cops in schools places African American, native, Somali and Hmong youth in a system of constant monitoring, with life-altering consequences.
Additionally, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Parks Police are altering their cooperation agreements with the brutal MPD, a force filled with notoriously racist officers. Minnesota’s largest law firm, Dorsey and Whitney, will no longer provide pro bono assistance to the city of Minneapolis to prosecute misdemeanor and traffic offenses.
These moves and reforms are positive, and a direct result of the uprising that has unfolded in response to the murder of George Floyd. More than that, there also needs to be a complete overhaul of the many laws and policies that shield police officers throughout the state from facing consequences for their brutality.
The Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar and others are demanding community control of the police, a set of policies and structure that give the community the power to determine who does the policing and how.
It took a week of constant protest, and an uprising that included the takeover and burning of the Third Precinct Minneapolis police station, ‘shopping for free,’ and burning numerous businesses for the wealthy elites and their paid-for politicians to take note. Now they offer reforms, and we will take them. The fact that anything positive is coming out of this is because it’s a big fire and the water is starting to boil. Ultimately, we need a society that is not ruled by the rich and powerful but by workers and oppressed people in control – not of little slices of life but the whole pie.