NAACP Minneapolis host peaceful #Justice4Jamar concert for healing

 

Alexander Clark, Jamar Clark's cousin speaking to the crowd, November 24.
Alexander Clark, Jamar Clark’s cousin speaking to the crowd at the concert.

The NAACP Minneapolis chapter hosted a successful #Justice4Jamar concert, in the name of peace and community healing. The concert, which was planned prior to Monday night’s shooting of five people at a Black Lives Matter protest, felt especially poignant in light of the violence the night before.

The event was held in front of the Fourth Precinct police station at 1925 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis. The concert began at 5 pm, but earlier that day an estimated 2,000 protesters marched from Plymouth Avenue North to downtown Minneapolis and back, sending a message to Minneapolis City Hall. Sometime during that time period, it was announced by police that three suspects — speculated as having White supremacist associations — were being held in connection with the shootings.

Sounds of Blackness
Sounds of Blackness

The#Justice4Jamar concert was hosted by Shed G. of KMOJ 89.9 FM radio station in North Minneapolis, and included local singers and rap artists, speakers, Native American dancers and drummers. The featured act was three-time Grammy award-winning group Sounds of Blackness. The group closed with the song Black Lives Matter, one of the latest tunes added to the group’s repertoire. Gary Hines announced that proceeds from the song’s sales will be donated to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Native American dancers showing support for justice
Dancers at the #Justice4Jamar concert

The MSR spoke with a few of the protesters who interacted with the shooters before the shooting. “People don’t realize that some people have declared war on us all because we want justice,” said Don Carlito of Minneapolis. Carlito said the shooters appeared to be White and were wearing masks and bulletproof vests. He said the three looked out of place because they refused to remove their masks.

While standing in front of the Fourth Precinct police station building, Carlito pointed to a camera above his head on top of the building and said he was certain that the same camera captured all three suspects because he was first standing in the exact same spot when he confronted them. He also stated that if the police don’t have them on tape, the footage was deleted and that would convince him of a possible connection between the shooters and the police.

(l-r): Wesley Martin and Devontay Taylor
(l-r): Wesley Martin and Devante Taylor

Wesley Martin, who was shot in the leg while chasing the suspected shooters, said he and his friend Devante Taylor asked the shooters to remove their masks or prepare to leave. “They called us Black n*ggers and that’s when everybody rushed at them,” said Martin and Taylor simultaneously. The shooters ran and a chase began.

According to Martin, after they were out of the range of the cameras on 14th and Morgan Avenue N., the shooters showed their bulletproof vests, pulled out their guns and began to fire hitting Martin in his leg. In spite of his injury, Martin showed up for the concert the next day, undeterred by the violence. “It was just in my leg and I wasn’t scared to be here today,” he said at the concert, adding that he will continue to demand justice for Clark.

(l-r): Frank Taro, Clyde Bellecourt and Norma Renville
(l-r): Frank Taro, Clyde Bellecourt and Norma Renville

Throughout the nine days of protest and occupation of the Fourth Precinct police station, support has come from a wide variety of people and groups with various mission statements and racial and religious backgrounds. The unified coalitions born out of tragedy has epitomized the positive and hopeful possibilities in the fight for justice, and have rallied both seasoned and younger activists, alike.

Spike Moss is someone who has been fighting against police brutality in Minnesota a long time. The MSR spoke with Moss during the #Justice4Lamar concert. “First of all, as a person who has fought police brutality for 54 years, it’s about time the truth be told. Every time I stood up against police brutality in the past, I was vilified, criticized and ridiculed in this town. Not just by White people, but some Black people didn’t want to believe this was happening to our people. I’m just glad to see it’s all over the nation and the Lord allowed me to live long enough where I, along with other people, could see that I was on the right all along. That means a lot to me,” said Moss.

Spike Moss
Spike Moss

When asked about next steps Moss said, “You got to take it to the Capitol to change the laws that protect police when they are wrong.” Moss was also asked if he thought there should be a mandate for police to carry their own personal liability insurance as a means to prevent taxpayer dollars from paying for police misconduct claims. He replied: “The police should have their own personal insurance involved.

“Taxpayers are currently paying for everything, like time off of work and their lawyer. We need to put a stop to that. If there is a lawsuit that was caused by the police, the police should pay for 60 percent of it and the city should pay 40 percent of it.”

Moss continued, “As far as our crime laws, assault is assault and murder is murder and the police found guilty of either should be prosecuted to the letter of the law. Going further than that, I served on the mandated Justice Department police mediation (2005 to 2010). The agreement was, that if the Minneapolis police did not follow that agreement, they were supposed to go into federal receivership. The Minneapolis Police should go into receivership,” he stressed.

In other news, protesters in New York demonstrated today in Washington Square to show solidarity with #Justice4Jamar protests in Minneapolis. See photos below as shared on social media:

Also, the funeral for Jamar Clark was held today in North Minneapolis. Scenes from the procession can be seen below as shared on social media:

More events are planned throughout the week. The info below is from a November 23 NAACP Minneapolis press release.

  • Thursday, November 26, at 3 pm, the NAACP will join with Zion Baptist Church and Rev. Brian Herron to host a community Thanksgiving meal, open to all.
  • Sunday, November 29, an outdoor inter-faith church service and march will take place at 11 am, open to all.

All events will be held at the Fourth Precinct at 1925 Plymouth Avenue North in Minneapolis. Call 612-210-3734 for more details.

The MSR will continue to provide information as the story develops.
James L. Stroud, Jr. welcomes reader comments to jlswriter@gmail.com

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