It was believed by the Native Americans that eagles served as messengers between humans and the Creator, a spiritual messenger and symbol of courage and truth and, to some, the embodiment of the Great Spirit. To almost every Indian Nation, the eagle is sacred.
As one Indian legend tells it, a thundercloud appeared on the horizon when the Earth was created, descending upon the tree tops in thunder and lightning; and as the mists cleared , an eagle sat perched upon the highest branch. Gliding slowly from his perch, extending his talons to the ground, he became a man … and so the spiritual representation of eagles as messengers.
As Indian summer arrived this month in beautiful color along the Mississippi River bluffs, we spotted this bald eagle in a solitary old tree over the site of “wakon-teebe”, observing him for quite a while, well aware of our presence, until his descent to the ground out of our view.
Since the killing of Mike Brown, there has been an awakening across this country and the police force needs a revamping in our communities with accountability to a citizens’ board of review. No innocent should be handled in the way that Philando Castile was handled by police.
In spite of the odds, young people of color are making a difference with very real courage. In spite of the danger, they are willing to stand up to injustice. In spite of a system that works to deny them equal opportunity, many are managing to live a life as Philando Castile, doing great good.
We cannot accept the status quo because we all lose when we lose souls like these.
There are too many troubling aspects of the Jamar O Neal Clark killing and events leading up to the fatal early morning hours of that November night – an event that actually began with a series of episodes over many months involving police brutality. He had a case and that case ended with his death.
If we see with our hearts’ and not just with our minds’ eyes, there is no doubt that this young man was denied his rights and essentially murdered in cold blood; and that the account by law enforcement has been manipulated, not to serve the public good, but to serve its own interests. The irony, then, is that this kind of “justice” serves no one, least of all the police department.
- Why would the police pull Jamar out of view of the camera and out of the light? Wouldn’t lights and clear video footage have been helpful to assure a doubting public that the police acted within reason to serve and protect this community?
- The police officers and the EMS deputy, 5’11 and 220 lbs, are big men. Both officers had guns, while Jamar was unarmed, a slim man standing 5’8″, no more than 160 lbs, and only 24 years old. Were these men armed with reason instead of guns, perhaps this young man would still be alive.
- As the EMS deputy approached, Jamar stepped back from the ambulance. Two minutes later, he appeared lifeless with a bullet through his temple … after, it appears, having had his left wrist cuffed by Schwarze while Ringgenberg maneuvered the right hand over his head, without struggle, and slammed Jamar to the ground. NO time to ask questions or use reason with this young man, to get to the truth of any matter. Why was any violence necessary? Why did Officer Ringgenberg use this take-down tactic when he was, obviously, not adept at using it, claiming this slight young man, Jamar, was reaching for Ringgenberg’s holstered gun as that officer lay on top of him and the other officer held a gun to his head. It doesn’t take much in the way of smarts to know that this was a no-win situation for Jamar.
- By most all witness accounts and by video evidence, there were no signs of any struggle from Jamar; but the EMS MVR does show Officer Ringgenberg flailing his legs wildly while laying on his back on top Jamar after the take down at the time of the shooting. Does it seem reasonable that a trained officer would put himself in this position, placing his holstered weapon next to Jamar’s hands, when Jamar could have been easily cuffed standing. By all accounts except his assailants, Jamar Clark was peaceable as he stood waiting for police officers and the EMS deputy on the boulevard.
- Rayann Hayes’ says her last memory of Jamar alive was at the ambulance window looking in. According to Rayann, she was given pain medication and remembers nothing after this in the EMS vehicle.
- Why are relevant medical records closed to public scrutiny?
- Why was ambulance #443 not sent to the forensics garage?
- Why are the run reports for the two ambulances not available to public scrutiny?
- Did Attorney Freeman take into account conflicting reports on the sequence of events involving the security of EMS vehicle #419 the night of the shooting?
- May we have an accounting of all officers and attendants involved with ambulance #443 at rest two blocks away from the scene of the crime, before it was driven to HCMC with Mr Clark?
- What of the red bag placed in Jamar’s transport after he entered, and then another identical (or the same) red bag quickly taken out, before ambulance #443 left? EMS deputy Trullinger then placed this red bag next to an officer at the crime scene. There is no red bag documented at the crime scene.
- Shouldn’t the crime scene have been secured immediately? As it was, video evidence and key witness accounts indicate that there were many unidentified officers walking in and out of said area. Yet very few officers give testimony to this.
- The views of Jamar’s wrists, taken for forensics, are obstructed by bandages, tape and tubes. Only what appears to be the underside of Jamars’ right wrist is shown with the bandage lifted, and this photo is blurry. The left wrist on the underside is not shown. No fluid of any kind was moving through those tubes.
- Had Jamar died at the scene? He suffered cardiac arrest with a bullet through the temple that lodged in his brain.
- Upon exit from ambulance #443, there is no IV on Jamar’s left wrist as it limply falls off the side. The IV was in his right wrist; and it too fell off the side of his transport.
- Crucial details are obscured in the videos from both ambulances and at very low resolution (360). Shouldn’t an EMS MVR be of better quality?
- If life preserving techniques were being used to save Jamar at HCMC, then, why wasn’t the bullet removed?
- Any statement that there were no handcuffs because there were no contusions on Jamar’s wrists, presumes that he struggled. An absence of bruising would have been just as likely if, as witnesses claim, Jamar was cuffed without a struggle.
- Officers Schwarze and Ringgenberg were delivered to the 4th Precinct together in Officer Sworski’s squad car, who self-assigned. Supervision of a sergeant is standard procedure. Therefore, there was quite a bit of time for the officers to talk between themselves after the MVR automatically shut off in the 4th precinct parking lot.
- The gun in question was handled by Sworski before being returned to Schwarze. This Smith and Wesson brushed Officer Connor’s hat on the dashboard, as well. NO way to handle crucial evidence from the scene of a killing. Why was it not bagged at the scene of the crime with both Schwarze’s and Ringgenberg’s gear? Another failure to secure a crime scene.
- The officers did not provide their clothing for forensics until December 2015. Is this standard procedure in an investigation?
- Officers Schwarze and Ringgenberg arrived at 4th precinct prior to the incident for break; and so their videos for the day downloaded and the MVR shut off automatically. It was at 00:40 am that they were called to the scene on a code 3 reportedly arriving at 00:48:14. Since the officers did not activate their emergency lights on the way to the crime scene, the MVR remained off. They chose not to activate it manually.
- With over 60 responders at the scene of this crime, emergency lights flashing, it begs the question, where are relevant MPD MVR’s from 00:40 to 01:20am on that fateful night? Surely there must have been something of substance on at least one of these videos.
Freeman’s one-man jury, using the perpetrators’ testimony above all, was flawed by prejudice. It will not, nor should it be, the last word. Words and/or manipulations of facts to create preferred outcomes will not make any of this right. As it is in art and with any act that uses illusion to portray a particular vision, seeing is believing only to a point. There is no amount of manipulation that will make truth out of a lie.
When it came time to decide whether to let her go on suffering or to euthanize her, I took the latter. She approached it as if it were another adventure, sitting proud and accepting, ready for whatever would come. Of course she couldn’t have known.
I held her in my arms as the drug took effect and stayed with her far past the time life had ebbed, never forgetting her face in the moments after, that golden beauty, that love of my life. Of course, one never forgets a thing like this … and it is even harder to forgive.
I knew that she would suffer no more. I knew that she was peaceful and without pain in the moment of death, but the pain in my heart lingers still, for there is no closure where love is concerned.
My mother died almost two years ago in June 2012 peacefully in her sleep from lung cancer after much suffering. She wanted her body donated to science, so that whatever remained of her in a long life would possibly be used to make another person’s life easier.
I never wanted to hear about it even though I knew that this was her choice. The thought of this woman, my mother, in any other way but whole … playing her piano, dancing in the living room to her music, her free-spirited and realistic view of life … was unfathomable. I prefer to think of her, as my emerald-eyed cat, observing, in spirit from afar, this troubled planet with that unforgettable look of knowing. I will miss them both.
How would we treat this planet if we saw wolf as our “brother” and earth as our “mother” ?
Sigurd F Olson believed that the wolf was an impressive influence in the wilderness and that its removal could change a situation that has been in the making for centuries. He saw how integrated its well-being was with the well-being of all creatures, and understood that artificial management of the wolf would change the character of the wilderness.
Chief Seattle believed, like Olson, that all things are connected. He understood, like John Donne, not to ask “for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”… for all of us. Whatever happens to one essentially happens to all. How can we continue to contaminate our water, our air, murder our brothers and sisters, destroy the wild places and animals under the guise of “management”, without suffering the consequences of this disrespect?
The North American Indian understood this and respected the earth as “mother”, the wolf as “brother” …. As we propose to slaughter this creature starting in the upcoming Minnesota deer hunting season with 6000 hunting and trapping licenses for 400 pelts, how could the purpose be any clearer? We have made the wilderness our battleground – for what? The wolf will be gone or “managed” into a tame shadow of its true self. Our wilderness areas will be turned into amusement parks, game farms, and vacation areas for the wealthy or sold to corporate greed for timber and precious metals. Our children will never know the true wealth and beauty of life-affirming and pristine wilderness. We will have arrived at the “end of living and the beginning of survival” as Chief Seattle so wisely predicted some 157 years ago.
As a friend once asked, “what has become of us when we can’t tell the difference between a national park and a battlefield?” Battlefields, historic buildings, and monuments to men’s wars are now included as National Parks alongside our park lands. How can this be reconciled with the original intent of the National Park System to preserve the masterpieces of creation for all time and all people?
If you would like to speak up against the wolf hunt scheduled to begin this November, 2012 in Minnesota, please contact your representatives, the DNR and check out the links below. Through your understanding and support perhaps we can move in a more rational direction and stop the taking of another priceless treasure, pitting brother against brother.
Anita Suzanne Tillemans
October 26, 2012
Office of the DNR Commissioner, 500 Lafayette Rd, St Paul, MN 55115 Tom.Landwehr@state.mn.us 651-296-6157
Office of the Governor, 130 State Capitol, 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, St Paul, MN 55155 firstname.lastname@example.org 651-201-3400, 1-800-657-3717, Minnesota Relay:800-627-3529Fax: 651-797-1850