Last week we told you about the City of Ottawa contacting the family of Joseph Jennings, the 18 yr old, unarmed teen killed in August by multiple gunshot wounds fired by five patrol officers in the parking lot of a hardware store near Princeton St Ct. A total of twenty-nine shell casings (another,not in the official report,found by Joe’s body), two bean bags,three bean bag shells,and one taser cartridge were recovered at the scene by the KBI according to the second of this ever-changing report.
It was there,the family put up a memorial for Joseph. The officers were cleared of any “wrong-doing” and are now back on the streets of Ottawa. Franklin County Attorney, Bob Bezek, spoke with Joseph’s Aunt last Thursday,telling her the city wanted the memorial taken down. With her refusal he followed up with an e mail, this time saying the memorial will be taken down by the city. The purposes given were for “safety” reasons, stating that the memorial is an obstruction to the view of traffic and a possible “danger” to individuals. As seen in video and pictures, the memorial, located on the corner of Princeton St Ct, is in no way “obstructing” the view from even a small vehicle and obviously a danger to no one.
While Bezek, friends with the five officers who fired on Joseph,says the family could apply for a permit, in the same sentence he states that it would likely be denied by the city and that trying to insure the monument would be futile, although it has been vandalized on more than one occasion. He was very clear in his e mail that this beautiful memorial,so carefully crafted and taken care of daily by Joe’s loved ones would be taken down as soon as possible.
He gave no alternative location in which it would be allowed to remain in the city,but requested an address to “send the contents” to.
A call flood was started last weekend for the preservation of the monument and has been on-going throughout the week. The city has not budged thus far. So we are,once again, asking for your help on behalf of the family,to call the District Attorney,County Attorney,and Chief of Police in Ottawa,KS. Let them know that there is no justification in taking down the memorial,not even considering a permit application.
Why do they demand this precious memory disappear from sight? Is it so that the mercenaries of the State who killed an innocent young man and those involved in absolving their actions think that the absence of the memorial will take away the daily reminder of their horrific deed? Is it because they want the entire city to forget? Many questions beg an answer in this entire case,but for the immediate time,all the family wishes is to keep the memorial of Joseph’s life,unnecessarily ended, in it’s rightful place.
Please show your support the family by calling the numbers below. Demand the memorial not be touched by the city. Let them know you are in 100% support of standing by this family’s wishes and we will keep these calls coming.
You may also share your condolences and assure the ones held Joe so dear, that they are not alone in this fight for justice and we will not leave a family to grieve in this, by reaching out. Like the Memorial for Joseph page here!
Contact the following and demand that the memorial be allowed to stay in place!
Ottawa, KS DA- Steve Huntington (785)229-8970
Franklin Co. Attorney- Bob Bezek (785)418-3167
Chief of Police- Dennis Butler (785)214-0047
Then, if you have anything you can spare, help Joseph’s family obtain an attorney by donating to the Go-Fund-Me crowdfunder!
Check out the video below, sent to Joseph’s family of the memorial site by an anonymous resident. He says that he too is being harassed by the Ottawa PD, proving the city is wrong in their claims of “obstruction”, as this harassment is part of a broader pattern of injustice by the police in Ottawa.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” ― Henry David Thoreau
(Article by Janel Florez)