Noor trial renews call for police accountability, equality

Community leaders and family members of those killed in local officer-involved shootings pushed for justice and police accountability Monday as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor continues.

Activists gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center just as the trial wrapped up for the day. Many of them called for a new review process for how police shootings are investigated.

The small and diverse group is made up of the Twin Cities Coalition for Jamar Clark, Justice for Justine Damond and others.

“African American and Native American people are disproportionately murdered by Minneapolis police,” said Loretta VanPelt with Twin Cities Coalition for Jamar Clark.

“We know the vast majority of officers who’ve killed civilians are white men who have not been held accountable,” added Nekima Levy Armstrong with the Racial Justice Network.

Members of the group said they are working to organize an all-civilian police accountability council to control all aspects of Minneapolis policing, including discipline. The group would also address hiring and firing practices within the department.

“What we are demanding is treat every case [with] the same scrutiny…and we demand the end of BCA investigation of these cases; they are not in any way independent,” said Michelle Gross with Communities United Against Police Brutality.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Minneapolis Police did not respond to a request for comment, but the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office did release a statement saying they are not going to comment on anything revolving around the Mohamed Noor trial until a verdict is rendered by the jury.

Activists referred to other officer-involved shooting cases that did not result in charges, such as that of Thurman Blevins.

“Those officers were not made a public spectacle as what [we have] with Mohamed Noor, who was publicly fired from his job,” Levy Armstrong said.

“The investigation into Justine’s death was not perfect, but its depth and rigor went far beyond anything afforded to other victims of police violence,” said Todd Schuman with Justice for Justine.