Thursday, March 15, 2007

Today! Urgent action needed at state capitol

Communities United Against Police Brutality
March 13, 2007
There are important happenings in both the state legislature and the Minneapolis city council that need your immediate attention. Please get involved.

Public Hearing on HF1130
Thursday, March 15
12:30 p.m.
State Office Building, Room 10
(Building adjacent to the Capitol on the west)
During a previous session, the state legislature passed a horrible law criminalizing the reporting of police brutality that can't be proven. This law was shoved into a funding bill and passed without any public hearings. Because it prohibits criticism of government officials, it is unconstitutional--an identically-worded law in California was struck down by the federal courts.

This time around, Mullery, a right-wing representative from northeast Minneapolis who runs the House Public Safety Committee, has introduced HF1130 to make this horrible law even worse. Under his proposal, the law would not only apply to reporting brutality to cops but would extend this law to cover reporting to the Attorney General's office and to attorneys who investigate cases of brutality in conjunction with internal affairs departments in rural communities. Keep in mind that the State Attorney General's office runs a hotline for racial profiling incidents. Is this an effort to frighten the community away from filing complaints about such incidents?

Come out to this public hearing and let it be known that the law itself is bad and extending it is worse. If you want to speak during the hearing, call 651-296-4262 to have your name added to the list.
Take Action to End the Lurking Ordinance
A very successful community meeting was held last week on overturning the lurking ordinance in Minneapolis. A broad coalition of groups has come together to take this effort on--and there is some work we need to do. Council member Cam Gordon is the prime mover on this effort at city hall. At the community meeting, he explained that the process starts by a council member introducing the subject. To hold public hearings, a majority (7) of the council members have to vote to let the subject go forward. Almost always, this happens as a matter of courtesy for the council member who raised the issue. However, this time we are going against some powerful forces and can't afford to take anything for granted. Some, like council president Barb Johnson, are apparently ignorant of the Constitution. See her comments in the City Pages article below. She doesn't seem to realize that cops actually need a reason to stop people and that the lurking ordinance gives them cover when they have no real reason.

We need YOU to call your council member and nicely but firmly tell them that when the subject comes up, to vote in favor of it moving forward. Even if he or she doesn't support overturning this ordinance, democracy demands at the very least that hearings are held to allow the community to air our concerns. To find your council member's contact info, go to While you're at it, thank Cam Gordon for his efforts by calling 612-673-2202 or emailing

Critics say a Minneapolis law criminalizes walking while black

What Lurks Beneath?

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