Few things are consistent when comparing Blacks and Whites, from employment to jurisprudence. Black unemployment is historically, consistently twice as bad as White unemployment (see Front Page). The main factor in the difference — race.
Minneapolis has agreed to two high-profile settlements in 2019 because its police killed people. The White woman’s murderer is behind bars and her family received $20 million from the City. The murdered Black man’s family just agreed to a $200,000 settlement from the City and Clark’s murderer still works for the Minneapolis Police Department.
Honestly, half as good/twice as bad would be a huge victory here. Instead, it’s the local microcosm of more of the same; a shot at justice and recompense for Whites, and Black people wiping spit from their eyes while being told that everyone is treated equally.
Even without every bit of information, does anything seem consistent here?
Minneapolis police kill White woman Justine Ruszczyk, surname Damond, in July 2017. The murderer, Black man Mohamed Noor, was fired from the force, convicted of third-degree murder and sentenced to over 12 years in prison. Damond’s family received a $20 million settlement from the City.
Minneapolis police kill Black man Jamar Clark Nov. 2015. The murderer, White man Dustin Schwarze, was not charged with a crime and is still paid to patrol people, Black people. Settlement talks between the City and Clark’s family broke down, particularly around the request to at least have the murdering officer fired from the force and to match the $20 million Damond settlement before the family agreed to a $200,000 settlement.
The main difference — race. This is blatant, naked, taunting racism.
The Minneapolis City Council is left with the decision to officially approve the tentative settlement and can do so as soon as Aug. 23.
They should vote down the settlement. The history of the Clark case shows many in Minneapolis don’t care about Black people — or care a great deal about Black dehumanization. Returning the settlement with a clear directive to Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal and City staff for a settlement in the ballpark of what the Damond family received will also send a message that somewhere in the City administration there lies care for Black life and dignity.
Solomon Gustavo was a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.