Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Critical Mass Acquittal

As you can read here, here and here, the first trial of an August, 2007 Critical Mass arrestee has ended in an acquittal. For a day-by-day recap of the trial, look here.

I continue to have serious concerns about both the MPD response to this event (see my previous post in this blog), and the subsequent decision to bring these charges forward to trial. This verdict strengthens my concerns, especially given the very short jury deliberation time before returning an acquittal.

It's clear that the defense (led by the skilled civil rights attorney Jordan Kushner) was able to successfully put the MPD response on trial. Testifying officers made claims that were very clearly contradicted by photographic and video evidence - perhaps one of the reasons that officers last August targeted those with cameras and video-enabled cell phones for enforcement action and physical force.

This whole episode is an embarrassment to the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Department, and now the City Attorney's Office. I continue to fear that the City will make the same mistakes this summer, when the whole world is watching (which is why I continue to push for a voluntary protest registration process, which may help shield protest groups from this sort of arbitrary and violent enforcement). I hope the City will seriously consider dropping the charges now on the last two participants from last August and try to put this behind us - and only restrained and constructive law enforcement and legal action this summer will do that.


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