On Friday, May 24, 2013, Minneapolis City Council awarded $3.75 million to the family of David C. Smith, a 28 year-old African American. The case was handled by the Bennett Law Firm. All tax payers’ money.
Since 2006, the City of Minneapolis has paid over $17 million dollars in tax payer money for wrongful death settlements against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Since mid-2010, the City has paid out over $8 million in such lawsuits, oftentimes due to being misdirected by intentional obstruction of justice by Director Velma Korbel’s Department of Civil Rights (DCR). Ms. Korbel has played a lead role in mis-advising City attorney Susan Segal and her staff, as the DCR aided and abetted the obstruction of justice. All the more reason why Velma Korbel should step down as director.
David Cornelius Smith was killed at the Metropolitan YMCA on September 9, 2010. Although Velma Korbel denied being a board member of the Metro YMCA, their roster showed that she was. When an official request was made to Ms. Korbel to open a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Smith’s death she declined, as usual. She even sent an email to my associate, Mr. Donald Allen, stating our facts were not right, that we were not truthful.
This award, on the recommendation from City Attorney Susan Segal, demonstrates otherwise. We have our facts straight. We are truthful. But not Ms. Korbel and her DCR, which convinced the mayor, the city council and the city attorney that they could cover up this crime and obstruction of justice with impunity.
The Minneapolis Civil Rights ordinance provides the authority for both the Civil Rights Department and the Civil Rights Commission to conduct separate and independent examinations of the circumstances like those surrounding the death of Mr. Smith. In fact, we would encourage you to read our column of September 29, 2010 (“A pattern in practice. Example: The tasered death of David Cornelius,” http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/2010/columns/10q3.htm#1039c0929). I knew then, as the $3 million award shows now, that the mission of obstruction of justice was the path the City allowed this department to follow.
Headline: Star Tribune: October 26, 2010: “$1.8 million for tremendous loss,” in the matter of the killing of Dominick Felder in 2006 by Minneapolis Police. $300,000 was imposed in sanctions by the Federal Court for judiciary misconduct, raising the City’s total outlay to $2.19 million. All tax payer money.
How much longer will this pattern and practice of covering up abuses and violations of the civil rights of African Americans be allowed to continue? How much longer will this pattern and practice of city officials going to extreme lengths in violating and obstructing the rights of the very people they are paid to protect be allowed to continue? Part of the problem: they are paid to protect; they are not required to swear an oath to defend the rights of those whose rights they have obstructed.
How much longer will the pattern and practice of negligence under the cover of law be allowed to continue? How long will the city wink at making legal that which is unethical and immoral? I was glad to hear that some justice is now rendered for the family of David C. Smith, just as it was for the family of Dominick Felder. Hopefully the same will be true for the families of Quincy Smith and Terrance Franklin.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., asked, from the Birmingham Jail, how long would the forces of nullification and reversal be allowed to continue to force us to wait for justice? How long would the forces of obstruction and darkness be allowed to spin their foul magic against the rights and pursuit of justice of African Americans and others? How long will we continue to read headlines about tremendous losses as well as awards to families such as Officer Duy Ngo, a man who won his case but yet was so violated by the conspiracy and the obstruction in his case that he felt his life and spirit go to another place?
A city with those who would obstruct justice is a dangerous city, for it can be applied to anyone. So how long will this city allow the DCR to be an imperial bureaucracy? The breath of fresh air and justice every once in a while to the Duy Ngos, Dominic Felders, and David Cornelius Smiths are welcome but not enough.
Needed is an end to the patterns and practices that prevent the fresh air of justice. How long will the agent provocateurs in the Imperial Department of Civil Rights be allowed to be a sovereign obstruction of justice by the mayor, the city council and the city attorney?
For more background on these cases see the 2008 column of December 17, and the 2009 columns of February 4, April 8, and December 16.
God bless America, and God bless the Black citizens of Minneapolis.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocar chives.htm.