Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
MINNEAPOLIS After nine and half hours of deliberations spread over three days, a jury in Minneapolis remained deadlocked Tuesday afternoon in the Clyde Bellecourt trespassing trial. With the hung jury unable to render a verdict, Hennepin County District Judge James Moore declared a mistrial.
The weeklong trial stemmed from the American Indian Movement co-founder's arrest last Christmas Eve at the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis. Bellecourt was at the mall at the end of an "Idle No More" round dance flash mob that was put on to bring attention to the hunger fast of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who was on Christmas Eve on a hunger strike that ultimately ended after 44 days one month later on January 24.
Bellecourt has maintained he was not an organizer of the event, but was singled out by the Minneapolis Police Department because of his long-term activism that dates back to 1968 when he co-founded the American Indian Movement with Dennis Banks and others to fight police brutality against urban Indians in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
He was the only person arrested last Christmas Eve.
The jury began its deliberations last Friday after a four day trial. They continued to deliberate again on Monday and were deadlocked. The jury sent Judge Moore a note indicating they were deadlocked and it did not appear they could break the deadlock.
Late Monday afternoon, the judge asked the jury to go back into deliberation in an attempt to reach a unanimous verdict.
After another attempt to break the deadlock on Tuesday, the jury still could not break the deadlock. Judge Moore then declared a mistrial.
A prosecutor indicated the city would attempt to retry Bellecourt.
"Just because this jury couldn't reach a verdict doesn't mean another jury can't,"
stated Assistant City Attorney Clair Cole after the judge declared a mistrial.
No date has been set for a retrial.
posted September 18, 2013 8:57 am edt