Daily Kos: Undercover officers infiltrate #BlackLivesMatter protest movement in Minnesota; charge leaders

Unbeknownst to organizers, undercover police, pretending to actually care about the causes, attended planning meetings in an attempt to identify organizers and undermine the movement.    

Protest gathering in the rotunda of Mall of America

By Shaun King  DailyKos.com  January 15, 2015

During the holiday shopping season of 2014, hundreds and hundreds of protestors gathered at the Mall of America outside of Minneapolis in Bloomington, Minnesota, to peacefully demonstrate their desire for justice with local issues and national justice causes surrounding the lack of justice following the deaths of John Crawford, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Darrien Hunt, Tamir Rice, and more at the hands of police.

Unbeknownst to organizers, undercover police, pretending to actually care about the causes, attended planning meetings in an attempt to identify organizers and undermine the movement. Now, it has just been announced, a month later, that ten strangely selected protestors, out of the hundreds who protested, are being charged with crimes including popular law professor, Nekima Levy-Pounds.Beyond the reality that these demonstrations were completely peaceful, the random selection and charging of these particular demonstrators with crimes makes no real legal sense. Furthermore, the City of Bloomington is now demanding that protestors pay for the “overtime” charges of police. Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson stated:

“The cost to the taxpayers of Bloomington for the police overtime and additional police resources of other communities currently exceeds $25,000,” it says. “The cost to the MOA for the additional security needed to maintain public safety during the demonstration currently exceeds $8,000.”

Please read below the fold for more on these ridiculous charges.

Here is an example of the outrageous charges filed against Nekima Levy-Pounds.

252638331 Levy Pounds Complaint  [Click to see full complaint]

Here are the official charges against the random selection of protestors and organizers.

Michael McDowell (21)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Mica Grimm (24)

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Kandace Montgomery (24)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

— Public nuisance

— Aiding and abetting public nuisance

Catherine Salonek (26)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Todd Dahlstrom (49)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Adja Gildersleve (25)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Shannon Bade (45)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Jie Wronski-Riley (18)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Amity Foster (38)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Nekima Levy-Pounds (38)

— Trespassing

— Aiding and abetting trespassing

— Unlawful assembly

— Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

— Disorderly conduct

— Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

— Public nuisance

— Aiding and abetting public nuisance

The Minnesota ACLU, responding to these charges and to demands that the protestors pay for the police who were called to the scene, released the following statement.

“There is finally growing concern and dialogue regarding the failure of our criminal justice system to hold police officers accountable for acts of excessive force and other misconduct,” the statement says. “These problems are happening in our backyard and should not be ignored.” More from the statement:

The ACLU-MN released data last year that shows massive disparities in arrest rates for low level offenses between blacks and whites in Minneapolis. Arrest disparities are one of many problems that plague our criminal justice system. Another alarming statistic is that African American young men are 21 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than whites. It is unfortunate that the Bloomington City Attorney has chosen to focus so much time, energy, and taxpayer resources to pursue vengeance for a peaceful gathering on these important issues. Rather than joining the dialogue that has arisen from this national movement, the City has instead chosen to try and silence those who are speaking out.

In another statement, one of the protesters facing charges, Mica Grimm, says, “These charges are absurd.”

“The implications of forcing protesters to pay for police presence they didn’t ask for sets a dangerous precedent that could potentially affect all citizens and negates the very rights afforded by the constitution to peacefully assemble,” Grimm adds. “We will not let these charges silence us. Our message that Black Lives Matter is needed more than ever as just hours ago St. Paul police took the life of another black man under muddled circumstances.”

Another defendant, St. Thomas law professor and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds, says, “It’s clear that the Bloomington City Attorney has chosen to pursue charges as a way of stifling public protest and the voices of those who care about justice.”

“We renew our call for police accountability and an end to the worst in the country racial disparities right here in Minnesota with immediate systemic changes,” she adds.

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO SHAUNKING ON THU JAN 15, 2015 AT 12:15 PM PST.

ALSO REPUBLISHED BY SUPPORT THE DREAM DEFENDERS AND BLACK KOS COMMUNITY.

Sign the petition at the end of the original article.

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