(Photo by Cirien Saadeh)

Thousands protest at Mall of America, spark mall shut-down

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[PHOTOS] #BlackLivesMatter momentum continues, protesters march on downtown Minneapolis

Over a thousand artists and activists gathered in downtown Minneapolis on Dec. 13 to rally and march in solidarity with the national #BlackLivesMatter movement that aims to highlight the lack of equality and accountability in police dealings with the black community in the United States. The march, organized by a group called the Million Artist Movement, began with a rally at the Hennepin County Government Center, where artists, activists and other leaders from the black community spoke to the crowd about taking action by approaching their elected officials to demand change. The crowd also performed a die-in, lying down in honor of fallen black Americans at the hands of police, and by reading off names of black individuals whose lives were taken by police officers. The march headed west down 6th from the Government Center to Nicollet Mall. Continue Reading

Michelle Gross: Police-community relations, body cams and the cooptation of the community agenda

These are interesting times.For nearly 25 years, I’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to and act on the very serious issue of police brutality, 14 of those years as part of Communities United Against Police Brutality. Mostly it’s been an uphill battle. White folks largely have responded with disbelief and the idea that the victims “must have done something to deserve it.” People of color have been much more aware of the issue but often resigned to the idea that little could be done to effectively take it on.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Now, thanks to the widespread use of video cameras and the courageous people of Ferguson, MO and elsewhere, the reality of police brutality is finally coming home in ways that are undeniable to anyone with a TV set. As cities explode in widespread unrest, public officials on all levels are forced to at least act as if they are interested in addressing the issue.Now, along comes Obama. Continue Reading

Ending racism in policing begins with the Red Tent

I was talking to Jose at work the other day about the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the lack of indictments on the police officers who killed them. We both are appalled how it went down. While I’ve experience abuse of power at the hands of the police just a few times, Jose has had many negative, unprovoked, experiences in which the prejudice of the officer was the cause for the encounter and the tone of the exchange. As we talked I tried to make the point that while the officers are responsible for their actions the blame also is also on our culture and the police system that trained them. In part, they only did what they were raised to believe and trained to do. Continue Reading

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Is it about race? Readers weigh in on Chris Lollie arrest

More than 800 comments poured in after video surfaced of St. Paul resident Chris Lollie being tasered by police for not revealing his name while he waited to pick up his children from daycare. Lollie is black and the three officers in the incident are white. Discussions on the article ranged in perspectives, but got heated as people discussed police brutality, experiences of racism, and the video-in-question. Most comments fell into two camps: questioning the legitimacy of the video or the legitimacy of the officer’s actions. Continue Reading