No grand jury is good news

But justice is arresting and prosecuting the two Mpls police officers

MellaneoussquareA few news stories in Minneapolis and St. Paul declared that a victory has been won by those seeking justice for Jamar Clark after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that he would not use a grand jury to decide if police who killed Jamar Clark should be prosecuted.

While that is a step presumably in the right direction and it is a public acknowledgement that the power structure in Minneapolis is feeling the pressure, it is not a real victory. Real victory is seeing Minneapolis police Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze doing the perp walk after being charged with killing Clark.

A reporter called me and asked what I think of the victory, and when I asked, “So they prosecuted those cops?” he hung up. While the decision to not invoke a grand jury is clearly a sign of progress and a small victory, the demand for the Minneapolis cops Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze to go to jail and be prosecuted is the first step in that process.

The community and activists, especially the Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar Clark, have rightfully and consistently called for prosecution of the police. There have been other demands, but the main demand has always been centered on having those cops arrested and charged with either first-degree manslaughter or second-degree murder.

A young man has had his life snuffed out, and the powers that be and their sometimes partners in crime want us to believe that someone saying basically that they are considering doing — what they should have done in the first place — is a victory. The county attorney’s office should have already charged Ringgenberg and Schwarze with a crime. In their rush to declare victory for us this very important fact was overlooked.

Admittedly, the press conference and announcement of no grand jury was quite a show. It appeared that the old “lock ‘em up and lock ‘em down” Freeman was getting emotional. It was amazing that all of this time and effort has been put into not trying to prosecute these cops. Yes, that’s what this is all about, the show and performance is really all about making it “appear” that the system is just while trying mightily not to deliver justice.

Freeman, in his statement, even invoked democracy, claiming that this democracy seeks to “continually make things fairer, more just and accountable.” According to the rhetoric, we live in a system where everyone is equal before the law and subsequently no one is above the law.

However, the failure to prosecute the police when they commit crimes against the public places them clearly above the law. As we have said at protests, either this is real democracy or it isn’t. And the fact that citizens have to take to the streets to even have the system consider prosecuting police violence is a sign of the double standard in this so-called democracy. There should be one law for everyone.

Everyone is aware that no show is needed — no press conference is needed — for Hennepin County to arrest and prosecute people in our community on a daily basis, and sometimes on little to no evidence. In this case there is plenty of evidence.

So what are they waiting for? They are waiting to see just how much the community wants this prosecution. They are watching to see if people turn up and turn out to whatever actions are organized by the groups that have taken the lead in fighting for justice for Jamar Clark.

Talk is cheap. Justice is nothing short of the prosecution of Ringgenberg and Schwarze for the killing of Jamar Clark.


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