Newsbrief: Drug Raid Leads to Mini-Riot in Minneapolis 8/30/02

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An August 22 drug raid in the North Minneapolis neighborhood of Jordan ended in a small riot after a 11-year-old boy was wounded by police gunfire. Minneapolis police officers executing a marijuana warrant shot and killed a pit bull in front of the target house when at least one bullet ricocheted, wounding the youth and angering a quickly-gathering crowd. Tensions have been rising between the black community and Minneapolis police since August 13, when police shot and wounded a 19-year-old neighborhood man. Earlier this summer, a black woman and a white police officer shot each other to death in a shoot-out.

In the wake of last week's shooting, between 75 and 100 people burned cars, smashed windows, railed at police and assaulted local TV news crews who had arrived to cover the incident. Police retreated temporarily before massing in force around midnight that night to retake control. "They were pelting us with rocks and bottles," a police spokesman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "We needed to get out of there."

Police arrested one person, Sylvia Powell, on drug charges and seized one weapon and several bags of marijuana. Minneapolis police portrayed the extended Powell family as anti-police and heavily involved in "narcotics," and told reporters that threats from the Powells during a previous marijuana raid caused them to wear full body armor during last week's assault. But the Pioneer Press also reported that Powell family members, including the wounded youth, Julius Powell, were active in a community "peace garden" next door to the raided house.

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and city council members met Saturday with a Justice Department mediator to discuss working with the black community to reduce tensions in the wake of three police shootings of blacks this month.

The Minneapolis NAACP this week called for an independent federal, state or local agency to investigate reports of brutality, excessive force and misconduct by members of the Minneapolis Police Department. But a younger generation of community activists, including groups such as Communities United Against Police Brutality, met Saturday afternoon to develop a list of community demands for change at the Minneapolis Police Department.

The group meeting Saturday is considering filing a federal lawsuit against the police department and challenging the Civilian Review Authority, which they charge is weak and unable to effectively address police misconduct. In a depressing indication of the state of affairs in the Twin Cities, the group's demands of police include a "zero-tolerance policy for officers who use racial slurs," "end the department's shoot-to-kill policy," and "no arrests for 'talking back.'"

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Issue #252, 8/30/02 Editorial: War Crimes Against Patients | Incarceration Nation: US Population Under Correctional Control Hits New Record | Not All Students Will Start School This Week -- Tens of Thousands Lose Aid Due to Drug Convictions | Initiative Foes Play Hardball in Michigan -- Effort Threatened by Certification Board, Conyers Calls for Investigation of Federal Lobbying | RAVE Act Opponents Gear Up | More Black Men in Prison Than College, Study Finds | Dr. Hurwitz Calls It Quits: Leading National Pain Management Physician to Close Practice, Cites Fear of Feds | The (F)Utility of DAWN: Experts Look at the Drug Abuse Warning Network | Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Publishes Comprehensive, Nationwide Guide to Clemency | Medical Marijuana Through the Ages: New Info on MarijuanaInfo.org | Offer: Tapes of Stossel Legalization Special Now Available | Newsbrief: Texas Opens Belated Investigation into Tulia Bust | Newsbrief: New Hampshire Cop Wants to Seize College Dorm After Drug Raid | Newsbrief: Western Washington US Attorney Solicits Marijuana Cases, No Bust Too Small | Newsbrief: Canadian Cops Call for National Drug Strategy, Oppose Legalization | Newsbrief: Canada Medical Marijuana Battles Continue -- Protests in Toronto, Minister Changes Tune | Newsbrief: Drug Raid Leads to Mini-Riot in Minneapolis | Newsbrief: Oklahoma Governor Overrules Parole Board, Orders Man Held for Life for Cocaine Possession | Newsbrief: Vietnam Beefs Up Customs Drug Budget | Newsbrief: Asian Speed Shows Up, Feds Feed USA Today "New Drug" Story | Demos Fellowships in Criminal Justice and Democracy Reform | Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar
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