Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
"smh" is internet chat slang for "shaking my head."
That is what I did when I heard an assistant city attorney said he would retry Clyde Bellecourt for a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
This after a Minneapolis jury spent nine and half hours over three days deliberating Bellecourt's guilt. The deliberations turned into a hung jury. The judge who presided over the week-long trial declared a mistrial.
Bellecourt, 77, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, was on trial for his arrest last Christmas Eve for trespassing. On that day, he had gone to the IDS Center IDS Center on Nicollet Mall 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.
"By the time I got to the round dance flash mob in support of the people in Canada, I was late. I was 15 minutes late. The police told the two hundred people there to leave or be arrested for trespassing,"
Bellecourt told the Native News Network after his arrest.
“I was not an organizer of the event. But because of who I am, they singled me out.”
"One police officer came over to me and told me to break it up. I told him I was not the organizer of it. He kept calling me "chief" and told me I was their leader. I told him I have never been colonized and told him: "do your own work." I then went upstairs to Starbucks. I have two stents in my heart and I am diabetic. My blood sugar was low, so I needed some coffee. I went back downstairs, sat down and was drinking my coffee when I was approached again by the police. An officer told me to leave nor or I was going to jail."
"They grabbed my cane. I told them I would walk out if they gave me back my cane. They told me no and handcuffed me and put me down on the floor."
The photograph of Bellecourt lying on the mall's floor surrounded by five law enforcement officers on the evening of his arrest came over to Native News Network that same night which left me smh on Christmas Eve.
Last winter across Canada and the United States there were hundreds of round dance flash mobs conducted in support of Chief Spence and the Idle No More movement. Indicative of flash mobs, they began and ended quickly, typically without incident.
So, Bellecourt's contention he was singled out is very plausible especially in the days of homeland security. Most assuredly because of his vast American Indian Movement activism that spans back five decades, it can be assumed the Minneapolis Police Department know about his movement even at the golden age of 77.
Those of us who know Bellecourt, he still has an intimidating demeanor with a thunderous voice that loves to mock the wigs worn by the likes of George Washington, but he does not give speeches that would incite young American Indians to go out and riot. In other words, he is tame warrior.
His arrest on trespassing was over kill on the part of the Minneapolis Police Department last Christmas Eve. The charge of trespassing was contrived given Bellecourt purchased items sold at the Starbucks in the mall.
If they thought Bellecourt was a threat, why wasn't there a charge of inciting a riot?
As far as the attempt to retry Bellecourt on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing, it would seem more logical to go after some real thugs who are out on the streets of Minneapolis committing felonies.
Why waste one more tax payer dollar on the matter?
The whole matter leaves me "smh."
posted September 19, 2013 11:50 am edt