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Minneapolis

Former Israeli Prime Minister Greeted By Hundreds Of Protesters

Minneapolis, MN — Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited Minneapolis on June 6 to speak at a banquet for the Center of the American Experiment, a right-wing think tank based in the suburb of Golden Valley. Around 100 people initially gathered to protest the visit and by the end of the night 300 protesters were outside the Depot. Five people were arrested for reportedly spray painting the street. Unicorn Riot heard from a Palestinian organizer during the protest outside the private event and documented event attendees flipping off protesters. Activists opposed the private event because of Bennett’s past actions in the Israeli government and continued statements against Palestine.

Minneapolis Blocks Community Control Of Police Ballot Measure

Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis city government placed a roadblock in front of the ballot measure to establish community control of the police, May 9. Community members say the fight will continue. Last week, the volunteer organizers delivered the signatures of over 12,000 Minneapolis residents who support putting community control of police on the ballot, through a city charter amendment to establish an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Commission (CPAC). Today, May 9, the city clerk’s office reported to the city council that only 5445 were verified as Minneapolis registered voters, 3498 less than the number required to move their proposal to the ballot.

Minneapolis: Petitions Turned In For Community Control Of Police

Minneapolis, MN – On Wednesday May 1, Minneapolis 4 Community Control of the Police (M4CCP) held a press conference in the Public Safety Center, the temporary home to city hall offices, to turn in their petitions to put community control of the police on the November ballot. The petitions call for an amendment to the city charter, to establish an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Commission (CPAC). The city charter determines the structure of city government and can only be amended by election, or a unanimous decision of the city council with mayoral approval. Citizens can get issues on the ballot by filing a petition signed by 8943 Minneapolis registered voters.

Momentum For Open Bargaining Grows For The Letter Carriers

Hit by years of inflation, and inspired by last year’s contract struggles and big wins by Big 3 auto workers and UPS Teamsters, members of the Letter Carriers (NALC) at the U.S. Postal Service are getting organized to fight for open bargaining. So far 23 NALC branches and one NALC state association have passed an open bargaining resolution first put forward by NALC Branch 9 in Minneapolis. In many more branches, members are discussing the resolution and plan to bring it forward in the weeks to come. The resolution calls for NALC leaders to articulate clear demands up front, and to give regular updates about the progress of bargaining.

Cities Are Taking On Uber’s Bullying

If you’ve taken an Uber ride recently, you’ve probably noticed it cost a lot more than a few years ago. Why is that? We conducted the largest-ever study of rideshare fares to find out, and discovered a story of gaslighting and corporate greed that squeezes rideshare drivers and riders alike, while funneling our money to banks and billionaires. This month, Minneapolis passed an ordinance requiring rideshare corporations to pay drivers at least $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute. In a desperate attempt to block the pay floor, Uber and Lyft are threatening to leave the city, claiming that such a requirement would make rides too expensive for residents.

Community Calls On Governor/AG To ‘Stay Out Of County Prosecutions’

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Police associations and pro-police members of Congress are pressuring Minnesota’s governor to wrest prosecuting power away from Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty over her decision to charge State Trooper Ryan Londregan with murder for the July 2023 fatal shooting of Ricky Cobb II. Minneapolis community groups and leaders have since crafted statements and an op-ed, published below, in support of Moriarty, formerly a public defender whom residents elected in 2022 after her campaign focused on police accountability.

Solar Nonprofit Shows Patience Brings Results To Lower-Income Residents

One installation at a time, a solar nonprofit that matches socially conscious investors’ cash with lower-income homeowners is spreading the benefits of solar in North Minneapolis. Solstar was formed three years ago by solar entrepreneur Ralph Jacobson following his retirement from IPS Solar, the pioneering Twin Cities’ solar company he founded three decades ago earlier. In his entire career, “I hardly ever had Black customers or Black subcontractors,” Jacobson recalled. Solstar is a collective effort for clean energy leaders in North Minneapolis to address those racial disparities. Jacobson, 71, works his network to persuade wealthy individuals to invest in residential solar installations.

How Target Funded A ‘Tough On Crime’ Prosecutor’s Office

Target Corp. pioneered the Community Prosecution Program in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) more than two decades ago during the era of mass incarceration. As part of a broad anti-crime campaign that employed new advanced technology and reshaped the criminal justice system in Minneapolis, the program had particularly devastating effects on Black residents. In 2004, a public-private partnership consisting of Target, the Downtown Council, Hennepin County, and the City of Minneapolis launched a sweeping surveillance collaborative in downtown Minneapolis called the SafeZone, as illustrated throughout Unicorn Riot’s years-long investigative series.

Ex-EPA Scientist Calls Pollution Regulations A ‘Smokescreen’

Minneapolis, MN — On January 11, 2024, community members gathered to discuss the future of the Smith Foundry in Minneapolis’ East Phillips neighborhood. The iron-casting facility has been found to violate health regulations, thereby likely threatening the well-being of people living nearby. In November, residents had called for the closure of the foundry after discovering records from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicating that the company had been exceeding Minnesota emission limits of particulate matter since 2018 — without notifying the state. Despite the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) pledging to meet regularly with the community, MPCA authorities were absent from the meeting, citing a “conflict of interest” and a lack of staff.

Marvin Haynes Exonerated And Released From Prison After 19 Years

Minneapolis, MN — In a historic ruling, Hennepin County Judge William Koch vacated Marvin Haynes’ murder conviction, dismissed his charges with prejudice, and ordered his release from prison where he was sentenced to serve life. Haynes walked out of MCF-Stillwater as an exonerated man into the loving arms of his family and supporters on Dec. 11, 2023. Marvin Haynes was 16 years old when he was framed for murder by the Minneapolis Police and Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. Haynes’ wrongful conviction was supervised by former Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar and upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court years later in an appeal.

Palestinian-Black Solidarity Teach-In

Minneapolis, MN – 150 people gathered at Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis on January 4 to listen to an in-depth discussion about the link of the Black liberation struggle and the struggle for liberation in Palestine. Jae Yates, an organizer with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J) and Sabry Wazwaz, a Palestinian organizer, spoke about the connections between U.S. police violence and the violence the Israeli occupying forces are inflicting on the Palestinian people. Yates gave the history of Palestine and how groups like the Black Panthers and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee were supporters of Palestine in the 1960s and 70s.

From Demolition Plans To Neighborhood Ownership

Minneapolis, Minnesota — It’s been a long road to ownership of the hotly contested Roof Depot site for the residents of the East Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis, and they recently cleared one more hurdle in their way. On November 8, the City of Minneapolis accepted a guarantee from East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) of their contribution of $3.7 million, effectively sealing EPNI’s end of the deal to purchase the Roof Depot from the city and launch next steps toward their vision for the site. The battle over the Roof Depot began nearly eight years ago in the Minneapolis city government as residents and activists fought to stop the city from demolishing the existing building to construct a new water distribution facility.

Minneapolis City Councilors Reject Recruitment Deal With Cops

On Friday, Nov. 17, Mayor Frey called a special council meeting where they voted down a tentative deal struck by the mayor and police to attempt to increase staffing of the MPD with cash bonus incentives after “critically low staffing levels” have plagued the department, bogging down 911 response times.  One week before the council voted down the proposal, Mayor Frey and the police union signed the agreement to pay $18,000 in bonuses to current officers over a two and a half year period, and $15,000 to new recruits over a three year period. The money for the agreement was to be taken from a $19 million fund that was allocated by the Democratic-controlled state legislature for the City of Minneapolis, following the murder of Floyd by MPD, but still needed city council approval. 

Another Win For Union And Worker Center Collaborations

In the late summer of 2021, a group of workers from First Avenue, the iconic Minneapolis music venue, were fed up with low pay, last-minute scheduling, lack of parking, and safety concerns, and wanted to implement some of their own ideas in their workplace. Unsure of how to get it done, the workers decided to first contact  Restaurant Opportunities Center of Minnesota (ROC-MN) to learn more about their workplace rights. Fast forward to November 2: Over 200 bartenders, event staff, and other in-house workers across seven venues affiliated with First Avenue marched on the boss and delivered a petition that included the faces and names of over 70% of staff who want to unionize with UNITE HERE Local 17.

New Report Contradicts Official Reason Behind Target Closings

Minneapolis, Minnesota — Data does not support Target’s claim that it’s closing stores due to theft, a new report finds — while others accuse the corporation of financial fraud, saying it is fudging its finances and falsely flagging shoplifters. Due to “organized retail theft,” Target announced in September that it was closing nine stores, along with three in Portland, Oregon that closed in October. The independent media watchdog Popular Information breaks down crime statistics at six of the nine stores Target is shuttering and found that there are other different reasons than the official one the retailer gave for the closures.
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