Non-profit

Communities United Against Brutality

Type:

Advocacy organization

Communities United Against Brutality is an advocacy organization seeking to enact accountability measures on police in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. The organization was founded in 2000 following the death of Alfred “Abuka” Sanders, who was shot by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department.

The organization is dedicated to resisting abuse of power by police officers and supports various left-progressive policing reforms. The organization works across several different angles to combat police brutality including through political and legislative action, education, research, and providing services to victims of alleged police brutality. [1]

Communities United Against Police Brutality gained national attention in 2020 following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American whose death in police custody sparked international protests. The organization planned several protests in Minneapolis in response to Floyd’s death. [2]

Background

Communities United Against Police Brutality was founded in 2000 following the death of Alfred “Abuka” Sanders, an unarmed black man shot by a Minneapolis Police officer. The organization has no formal membership or dues structure and meets weekly in Minneapolis to plan its work. In 2017, the organization reached a settlement in a lawsuit against the City of Crystal, Minnesota after members of the organization were not allowed to speak at a city council meeting. Little information is available on the legal structure or funding of the organization from its website and tax records databases. [3]

Activity

Communities United Against Police Brutality operates a hotline for individuals to report allegations of police brutality. In response to calls, the organization says it sends out crisis teams to “investigate the complaint, take photos and statements and offer immediate assistance.” The organization also promotes cases of alleged police brutality through media coverage. Additionally, the organization often promotes its preferred policing policies on pollical and legal grounds, holding rallies and protests to demand government action and often suing on behalf of individuals. A key initiative of the organization is to pass an amendment via a ballot question that would require police officers to carry liability insurance, which would mean that “police officers who engage in misconduct would see their premiums increase and some would eventually become uninsurable and be off the force.” [4]

Communities United Against Police Brutality also operates a project called The Committee for Professional Policing, also referred to as the Campaign for Professional Policing. The committee is a campaign that pushes for a charter amendment to require Minneapolis police officers to carry liability insurance. The organization promotes the requirement to save money in settlements by requiring insurance pay-outs instead of taxpayer-funded settlements. The organization has been working over many years to gain support to change the City charter to require insurance coverage for police officers. [5]

Response to the Death of George Floyd

In response to the death of George Floyd in May 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis Police, Communities United Against Police Brutality posted a several updates and organized many protests in Minneapolis. The group also released a statement in response to a press conference held by Minneapolis and St. Paul city administrations and Governor Tim Walz (D-MN) that sympathized with violent looting and protests, stating that “government officials decry property damage, calling it violence, without recognizing the long history of state sanctioned police violence that is orders of magnitude worse. You can build a new structure or replace a broken window, but you cannot bring George Floyd, or the many others killed by law enforcement in this state, back to the living.” [6]

References

  1. “Who We Are”. CUAPB. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://www.cuapb.org/who_we_are ^
  2. “Communities United Against Police Brutality Protest planned for Downtown Minneapolis Thursday” ABC 5 Eyewitness News. May 28, 2020. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://kstp.com/news/communities-united-against-police-brutality-protest-planned-for-downtown-minneapolis-thursday/5743284/ ^
  3. Golde, Dierdre. “A mother’s pain became a call to action”. Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. July 19, 2017. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://spokesman-recorder.com/2017/07/19/mothers-pain-became-call-action/ ^
  4. “What We Do”. CUAPB. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://www.cuapb.org/what_we_do ^
  5. “Home”. Committee for Professional Policing. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://cfppmpls.wordpress.com/ ^
  6. Facebook Post. CUAPB. May 31, 2020. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/cuapb.org/posts/10158129542362221 ^
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