By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Civil rights activist Nekima Levy-Pounds is running for mayor of Minneapolis.

Levy-Pounds announced her campaign on the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis police.

The former president of the Minneapolis NAACP and University of St. Thomas Law School professor made it official in front of the 4th Police Precinct in Minneapolis — the site of a three-week encampment last year to protest Clark’s death.

Nekima Levy-Pounds (credit: CBS)

Nekima Levy-Pounds (credit: CBS)

“I’m here today to declare that it is time for a change,” Levy-Pounds said.

Amid calls of “Bye, Bye Betsy,” Levy-Pounds accused Mayor Betsy Hodges of failing people of color.

“I am tired of seeing the disparities that are impacting our people,” she said. “I am tired of seeing our young people not have a sense of hope for their futures.”

Levy-Pounds gained fame last year in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Clark, an African American man, by a white Minneapolis police officer. She helped lead an 18-day protest of police shootings and tactics.

She promises to “clean up” the police department if she becomes mayor.

“You need someone of courage, who is not afraid of the police union, not afraid of the rank-and-file officers who don’t want to change,” Levy-Pounds said. “The only one that I fear is the Living God!”

She has the support of many north Minneapolis community and religious leaders who said Hodges has not improved their lives, and were critical of her role in the aftermath of Clark’s shooting.

“We’ve wasted enough time with Betsy Hodges, let’s be truthful,” said Jason Sole, the incoming president of the Minneapolis NAACP. “She stood against us on numerous occasions and she didn’t stand on the right side of history when Jamar Clark was killed.”

Hodges has said she is running for re-election, but has made no formal announcement. A spokesman for her campaign said she had no comment Tuesday.

Minneapolis Police Union President Lt. Bob Kroll said in a statement: “I think the city deserves a lot better choices for candidates for mayor.”

Pat Kessler