Minnesota city settles suit with woman who filmed cops drawing guns on Black motorists

Amy Koopman said she wanted to livestream the encounter on Facebook to ensure the safety of the two black men and to face police consequences.
A white woman charged after recording police drawing their firearms on black motorists during a traffic stop in 2018 has settled her case with a Minnesota city for $70,000.
According to the Star Tribune, Amy Koopman filed a lawsuit against the city of Robbinsdale and officers Christine Allen, Joshua Heasley and Nicole Saba. She was previously charged with obstructing the justice system after live-streaming officers who stopped a car and approached it with guns drawn.
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Koopman was reportedly part of a group that had gathered at a nearby intersection to watch the encounter. Police ordered bystanders to leave to avoid being caught in the line of fire.
Amy Koopman has settled a lawsuit with the city of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, after being charged with misdemeanor over a 2018 livestream of a police encounter with two black motorists. (Image credit: YouTube/ACLU Minnesota)
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She asked the police to put away their guns and after the men were arrested she was subpoenaed for obstruction. A Hennepin County judge then dismissed her charges after concluding that no reasonable officer could view her screaming as physically blocking or interfering with the performance of her duties.
"The ability for police to record, witness, and subject police misconduct to public scrutiny is critical to stopping police and over-police killings," said American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota Attorney David McKinney, who Koopman represented in her lawsuit. reported the Star Tribune. "This settlement sends a clear message to law enforcement agencies across our state that cracking down on people's constitutional rights to keep records or speak to the police is bad public policy and will not be tolerated."
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Court records say Heasley stopped the car after reading its license plates and realizing the registered owner was wanted for first-degree burglary. Allen and Saba joined him at traffic control. The city's response to Koopman's lawsuit alleges that police took the two people safely into custody.
After the dismissal of her misdemeanor complaint in 2019, Koopman, a church clerk and seminary student at the time of the encounter, filed a lawsuit against the city.
City Attorney Jason Hively said Robbinsdale and his insurer, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, agreed to pay Koopman in exchange for her clearing the city and its officers of their lawsuit. He added that resolving the case out of court would minimize attorney fees and expenses associated with a court case.
According to Hively, the city agreed to non-financial terms for policies, protocols and training.
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Under the settlement, Robbinsdale Police must develop regulations that establish bystanders' rights to watch and record police activity while prohibiting officers from retaliating against bystanders who do so or verbally criticize the action. There must also be a policy that subjects officers who violate the law or disregard department policies to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Along with the Minnesota ACLU, pro bono attorneys from the law firm of Bass and Forsgren Fisher McCalmont represented DeMarea Tysver Koopman in the lawsuit. She said she wanted to livestream the encounter on Facebook to ensure the safety of the two black men involved and to face police consequences.
"I am proud and humbled that I was able to keep their feet in the fire and push them as far as we have toward reformation and redemption," Koopman said, according to the Star Tribune. "I hope this alerts other police departments to the fact that there are citizens who are filming them, holding them accountable and fighting them to ensure people's rights are protected."
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The post-Minnesota city likens lawsuit to woman who filmed cops pulling guns on black motorist appeared first on TheGrio.

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