Clyde Bellecourt arrested while drinking coffee at IDS Crystal Court on Christmas Eve

UPDATED 6:20 p.m., 12/25/2012 - Christmas Eve — a time of peace, a time of good will, a time to handcuff and carry off to jail a 75-year-old American Indian leader who came downtown to shop and have a cup of coffee? 

I wasn't there, so I'll refer you to the video (above) and to a blog post recounting the arrest

 A peaceful Flash Mob Round Dance, organized to bring attention to the Idle No More movement from Canada, ended today with the arrest of Clyde Bellecourt. The Flash Mob Round Dance lasted less than 20 minutes at the IDS Tower in downtown Minneapolis, MN. Bellecourt was uninvolved with the organizing of the event and was informed of the Round Dance only moments before it happened. Bellecourt arrived late to the event and stayed to watch the dancing.

According to the post, police told Bellecourt to leave, and he told them he was not involved with the protest, but was just there to shop. The police insisted, he left, and then he returned to sit on a bench and have a cup of coffee. That's when he was arrested. According to the AIM Facebook page:

Minneapolis Police Department arrested Clyde Bellecourt accused him of organizing the Idle No More rally that took place at the IDS Tower. They told Clyde he was trespassing and Clyde responded with "I'm shopping, but I'm with my people, so yea I'm a part of them". Clyde went to get a cup of coffee and went and sat down. The crowd has disbursed so Clyde sat down to enjoy his coffee. Minneapolis Police Department Officers surrounded Clyde when he was alone and put the 75 year old Elder to the ground. Some of the Idle More people taped the incident and contacted AIM people who all thought Clyde left.

While police did not respond to my request for information, they did tell the Star Tribune that Bellecourt was arrested for disorderly conduct shortly after noon because he refused to leave the Crystal Court, and that "everybody left except him." 

Bellecourt is 75 years old, uses a cane, and was unable to get up after police ordered him to the ground. He was handcuffed, loaded on a stretcher, and carried to jail. He was released a few hours later. According to the Star Tribune article posted Tuesday evening:

"Bellecourt, who also recently had two coronary stents implanted and has diabetes, said he was denied access to insulin while he was in jail. Asked if he was injured in the arrest, he said officers "almost tore my hand off" when they pulled on him while handcuffed."

Bellecourt, who also recently had two coronary stents implanted and has diabetes, said he was denied access to insulin while he was in jail. Asked if he was injured in the arrest, he said officers "almost tore my hand off" when they pulled on him while handcuffed.

Here's a little more info on the Idle No More movement.

The 'Idle No More' movement, a campaign of grassroots First Nations protests, has spread like wildfire over the past week in response to bills passed by the conservative Canadian government....

Bil C-45 includes changes to the Canadian Indian Act regarding how reserve lands are managed, making them easier to develop and be taken away from the First Nation people.

  • it never ends.. - by Jeffrey Chapman on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:04am
  • Words can't convey my anger at this. - by Elaine Klaassen on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:29pm
  • Russell Means: "I don’t want to be remembered as an activist. I want to be remembered as an American Indian patriot.” In "The Progressive" magazine. http://fb.me/1HyZMx339 - by Chris Roberts on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 9:32am
  • The Minneapolis Police Department needs some perspective. What did this show of force accomplish? - by Eddy Morrow on Thu, 12/27/2012 - 8:41am
  • On the Minneapolis issues forum (e-democracy.org), several people are calling for an apology from the city and whoever might be responsible. - by Carla Riehle on Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:25am

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Mary Turck's picture
Mary Turck

Mary Turck (maryturck [at] gmail [dot] com) is a freelance writer, editor, teacher, and lifelong activist, and former editor of the TC Daily Planet.