The name of Jerome Copeland was first made known to the public two weeks ago in this column with his permission. It has been greeted with silence in all quarters of the so-called institutions for justice. I am not surprised.
When Mr. Copeland was incarcerated for three weeks in the Hennepin County Workhouse, the county attorney’s office knew that he was possibly the most significant witness in the officer-involved shooting death of Jamar Clark. I would invite all to review the transcript of his questions and answers session with the investigators of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the FBI on November 18, 2015.
I hear a lot of discussion about the great commitment to liberal thinking and justice in Minnesota. Which type favors you: the one seemingly for Whites or the seemingly different one for African Americans? If not for the passionate defense of Mr. Copeland’s constitutional and equal protection rights under the law by his Hennepin County public defender, Ms. Bovee, who still believes in constitutional protection for all clients, the Hennepin County prosecutors would have made Mr. Copeland disappear on a trumped up charge for a significant period of time as the latest African American denied equal protection under the law.
It was no coincidence that after our column of January 28, 2016, in which we referred to Mr. Copeland but not by name, that some within our own community claimed incorrectly to know who the key witness was, even though they were not present on the morning of November 15, 2016. Various individuals of our community have joined forces with special agent Chris Olson of the BCA and the prosecutor of the county attorney’s office to destroy the credibility of Mr. Copeland and to quash his eyewitness account by claiming it was someone else.
If it were not for a Hennepin County district judge who was clearly persuaded by the arguments and evidence presented by Bovee, the result could have been Mr. Copeland becoming a non-person in the tradition of South Africa. This pattern and practice of justice is far too common in this country of ours.
We have reason to believe that Mr. Copeland’s Q&A did not “appear” as a transcript until the investigative report was sent back on a second occasion by the BCA. Too often in our justice system eager officials either use fear and intimidation to “help” witness memory and testimony to reflect official biases, or they knowingly accept false “evidence” that fits their bias. Their bias feeds on its own ideology that leads them to believe that their bias is actually factual (which is why questioning and interrogations should be videotaped for later review and confirmation).
In an early April local radio interview, Mr. Freeman finally confirmed the unasked question the white 4th estate should have raised: that he was uncomfortable about his statement and that he did not have all of the testimony of all of the witnesses. He should have been asked which witnesses he was talking about.
Under the state constitution, only the MN State Supreme Court can be petitioned to order the opening into the investigation of the death of Jamar Clark. I assume all associated with calling for no grand jury reviewed that constitutional option and decided they didn’t have energy, commitment, or witnesses to raise that constitutional question before the Minnesota Supreme Court.
I await the decision of the Department of Justice in setting the time and date for a review by a federal grand jury.