MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The Minneapolis civil rights leader who became a driving force in the protests against the Minneapolis police shooting of Jamar Clark has announced her candidacy for Mayor.
Nekima Levy-Pounds announced her candidacy outside the 4th Precinct police station, the same location as an 18-day street occupation by protestors in the aftermath of the Clark shooting.
“I think it’s important to send a message to voters that we have not forgotten what has happened to Jamar Clark,” said Levy-Pounds. “We do no accept what happened as the case worked its way through different facets of the system because we still do not believe justice was served.”
The investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension showed that Clark tried to grab the gun of one of the two Minneapolis police officers that wrestled him to the ground on the night of Nov. 15, 2015. One of the officers fired and killed Clark. Investigators said Clark’s DNA was found on the officer’s weapon. Based on the evidence, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to charge the officers with any wrongdoing, and an internal affairs investigation recently concluded that the officers did not violate department policy.
While Levy-Pounds denied that her campaign is a protest against police, she does believe someone needs to hold police and City Hall accountable for business-as-usual policies.
“We cannot allow police officers to engage in the use of excessive force, to criminalize our citizens and allow our system to operate in a broken fashion,” said Levy-Pounds.
Many of her supporters say Levy-Pounds has the right strengths to tap into the energy created by the Jamar Clark protests.
“We live in a city of a lot of promise,” said Rev. Brian Heron of Zion Baptist Church. “At a time when it seems like the nation is falling apart and people are hating and coming against each other, we have an opportunity to lead the nation and come together as one people.”
Levy-Pounds was a respected professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School specializing in civil rights. She recently resigned from the law school and announced that she was not running for another term as the president of the Minneapolis NAACP. Her successor Jason Sole believes she will see a groundswell of support.
“She is the perfect person for right now, and a lot of people are ready for change,” said Sole. “So in that spirit I think people will stand next to her and people will support her.”
The mayoral election doesn’t take place until November of 2017. A spokesperson for current Mayor Betsy Hodges told Fox 9 Hodges is planning to run for re-election and will make an announcement soon, but did not respond to questions about the Levy-Pounds campaign. Levy-Pounds says she will try and reach out to all citizens.
“If we agree to roll up our sleeves, if we agree to uphold our faith, if we agree to speak truth to power and stand on the front lines and challenge those who are in the seat of power who are complacent, then we can shift the paradigm,” said Levy-Pounds.