The Black Activist- Journal of the Black Left Unity Network

A Struggle & Analysis Journal for Black Liberation initiated by the Black Left Unity Network

The Siege of Black Minneapolis

22 Community Under Siege

by Mel Reeves (Minneapolis)

Black and colored Minneapolis is under siege from it’s police department. This force appears to be a throw back to 1950’s Birmingham, a real racist vigilante force. They have been caught in two separate instances jumping on black men while off duty. After one of the incidents one of the Minneapolis cops told Green Bay police that there town was too “nigger friendly.” It seems that maybe he sees his job to make Minneapolis nigger unfriendly. And they have been doing just that they have employed their own version of New York’s “stop and frisk,” which is nothing more than legal harassment. They have cops on the force with several cases of excessive force and the city has paid out millions to settle lawsuits because of police misconduct.

Things are bit desperate here!

 The tip of the iceberg was the killing of 22 year old Terrance Franklin recently. Franklin was shot down by police May 10 in the basement of a house in the Uptown area of Minneapolis in what appeared to be an execution. Police shot him 5 times in the back of the head and twice in the back according to a source whose job it was to examine the body. Authorities have refused to release the autopsy and medical examiners report. But the police, nor the prosecutor has disputed the veracity of our claim.

Police in a story leaked to the Minneapolis Star Tribune claim that Franklin somehow grabbed the police’s sub machine gun and fired two shots striking two officers, before one officer jumped in front of Franklin and shot and killed him. The cops version does not explain how he wound up with 5 bullets in the back of his head or in his back.

Since his killing a campaign has been waged under the banner of the Justice for Terrance Franklin Committee (there is a website and a Facebook page ) to get the police who killed Franklin prosecuted. The committee is made up primarily of young people, several of them were friends of Franklin, who despite efforts to smear him in the press was a well liked young man. There have been four rallies and marches with at least 300 people in each one. The first rally and march at the end of May proceeded through the downtown restaurant district.

The case has so resonated with Twin Citians that it has become the local Trayvon Martin struggle. In fact on July 15th the weekend after the George Zimmerman verdict over 4,000 people came out in support of Justice for Trayvon Martin and Terrance Franklin. The two are similar in the eyes of Twin Citians because they both Franklin and Martin, were shot down by vigilantes, in Franklin’s case the vigilantes were uniformed.

There is a solidarity rally planned for Saturday August 17 in which several unions including a AFSCME local, a CWA local and a SEIU local have endorsed along with the Minnesota State Baptist Convention and one of the AME district councils. The anticipated turnout is about a thousand or more.

The system is feeling the heat because one of the worst smear pieces was run in the local paper yesterday claiming that the young Terrance fingerprint was on the police’s trigger. They even tried to say he had an extensive criminal record without providing proof. He got in trouble as a juvenile, but no one knows how the paper accessed those records. The yellow journalist neglected to publish the results of the paraffin test which would prove whether he indeed fired a gun as the cops claim.

Hennepin County has never prosecuted a cop for killing or injuring a black person. However city leaders and Hennepin County prosecutor Mike Freeman has been trying to assure the community that somehow the process will be fair. Ironically Freeman has shown that he is biased toward the police in interviews with the local newspaper.

Activists hope that the continued protest and pressure will force the power structure like in the case of Amadou Diallo, or Oscar Grant to give up one of its uniformed lackeys.

 Black folks in the Twin Cities are desperately seeking support from our brothers and sisters around the country. We may be suffering from geographical prejudice because nobody thinks there are any black folks here but there a few hundred thousand of us here and we make up over a quarter of the population of the Twin Cities.

We have vowed to keep this campaign going until somebody is charged with a crime in the case of Terrance Franklin and we are also moving to resist the everyday harassment as well.

Those who want to help please email me at Justice, then peace.