Activist Nekima Levy-Pounds enters Minneapolis mayor's race

The former Minneapolis NAACP president chose the anniversary of Jamar Clark's death to enter the race

Civil rights activist Nekima Levy-Pounds launched a campaign for mayor of Minneapolis Tuesday.

Her announcement came on the one-year anniversary of the death of Jamar Clark, a young black man who was fatally shot in a confrontation with two police officers on the city's north side.

The backdrop Levy-Pounds chose was the fourth precinct police station. That's where protesters angered by police treatment of racial minorities demonstrated for 18 days last year until officers broke up their encampment.

She tells MPR News last year's rallies sparked her move toward politics. "It was a catalyst for me stepping out more on the front lines fighting for justice," Levy-Pounds said.

Levy-Pounds stepped down as president of the Minneapolis NAACP last month. She's also an attorney and former law professor at the University of St. Thomas.

She said she's running for mayor to end racial disparities and improve police treatment of minorities, the Star Tribune reports.

The election is nearly a year off. Mayor Betsy Hodges is in her first term. Her campaign tells the Star Tribune Hodges will make an announcement later this year "because she has more work to do and isn't done with it yet."

Levy-Pounds promised Tuesday that as mayor she would "clean up" the police department, WCCO reports, saying she's not afraid of the police union or officers who don't want to change.

The president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, Lt. Bob Kroll, told the station Minneapolis "deserves a lot better choices for candidates for mayor."

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