Minneapolis, MN – More than a hundred people gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday, August 31, to honor the life of Kobe Dimock-Heisler on the one year anniversary of his death. Kobe, a 21-year-old autistic man, was unarmed when he was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center Police officers responding to a mental crisis call.
Among the crowd that gathered for justice were Kobe’s mother and father, co-founders of the worker-owned Cedar-Riverside co-op Hard Times Cafe, Amity Dimock and Jason Heisler.
“Autism is not a crime … This is why the police department needs to be defunded.” — Jason Heisler, Kobe’s father
Unicorn Riot was live towards the end of the rally and we interviewed numerous people about Kobe’s situation, how police deal with people with disabilities, and the husband of a person arrested for doing witchcraft by the jail.
Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), along with a handful of other community organizers, accompanied Amity inside of the government center to deliver a letter to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman demanding accountability for the murder of Kobe Heisler. According to the organizers, Kobe’s mother “was instructed to slide the letter under the door as staff left out the back door” to avoid any interaction with the slain man’s family.
Hennepin County Government Center, Minnesota: Michelle Grossman stands in solidarity with the mother of Kobe Heisler denouncing the actions of county attorney Mike Freeman and his office who refused to accept a letter and shirt from the Heisler family. pic.twitter.com/5nWmLLEtpm
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) August 31, 2020
Earlier this month, on August 5, Freeman chose to not charge officers Brandon Akers, Steven Holt, Cody Turner, and Joseph Vu, who were involved in the killing of Heisler.
During the rally on Kobe’s ‘angelversary’, his mother was overcome with grief and in a heartfelt plea, told the crowd she was unable to deliver her speech.
In an exclusive interview with Unicorn Riot, Amity spoke about her son, the treatment she received by the county attorney’s office and her next steps in seeking justice in her son’s case.
Amity said her son “was never a threat to anybody but himself” and that she is looking to see some changes around police responses to mental health calls and how they deal with people with autism.
“Since the Hennepin County Attorney won’t hold these officers accountable for the murder of my beautiful boy, we are pushing to have the Attorney General over this case.” — Amity Dimock, Kobe’s mother
Despite no aggression or property damage taking place, a protestor was arrested after the rally. One of the co-founders of Hard Times was arrested and detained for doing a Wiccan ritual.
We spoke to her husband after her arrest, who said she was accused of doing witchcraft outside side of the government center in a ceremony that included nails, which officers stated could be used as weapons.
During the event, a 45 foot scroll with the names of “Stolen Lives Minnesota” was unveiled. CUAPB has been working on the scroll for years and it contains over 400 names of people killed by police in Minnesota since 2000, along with some other names from before.
Reeling from the loss of their loved one at the hands of police, Heisler’s family is not pausing in their journey towards justice. Stay tuned for further Unicorn Riot reports on the case of Kobe Heisler.
[Update – Sept 3, 2020: The protester arrested was not charged but they’re still “under investigation” for weapons.]