MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — In the tense days after a black man's death at the hands of Minneapolis police, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison stood with protesters as they besieged a police station.
Yet as the protest has worn on, the Minneapolis Democrat has come into sharp criticism from some protesters who call him a "sellout" for joining in a call for them to take down their tents outside the station and to remove their roadblocks.
Do we fall out over tactics if we share goals? I'm 100% focused on "issues that led to" Jamar's killing, not tactics https://t.co/ItCcb1lf2c— Keith Ellison (@Keith Ellison)1448931620.0
What if seniors need EMS services? What if EMS/fire truck takes 10 extra minutes to get to Rainbow Terrace? https://t.co/aBq4USqBSp— Keith Ellison (@Keith Ellison)1448932225.0
Pls read Letter From Birmingham Jail. MLK didn't just sit on Edmund Pettus Bridge. Moved to 1965 Voting Right Act. https://t.co/3HsNy9OKnC— Keith Ellison (@Keith Ellison)1448933031.0
I'm not saying "go home"; keep protesting. I'm saying take it to grand jury where #justice4jamar hangs in balance. https://t.co/be73oh3LY0— Keith Ellison (@Keith Ellison)1448934984.0
Ellison has been playing a delicate balancing act, trying to bridge the gap between the protesters, whose goals he shares, and officials who might be able to make the changes they want.
Ellison is Minnesota's only black congressman. He says police accountability is a nationwide problem that must be addressed, but burning bridges won't help advance that policy agenda.