Judge declares mistrial in Clyde Bellecourt trespassing case


After jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, a Hennepin County Judge declared a mistrial in the misdemeanor trespassing case involving 77-year-old Clyde Bellecourt, a civil rights activist and co-founder of the American Indian Movement.

The jury of four men and two women notified Judge James Moore twice on Monday that they were unable to come to an agreement. Each time Moore insisted jurors go back and try again until the jury said for the third time Tuesday that they were still deadlocked, the Pioneer Press reported.

Last Christmas Eve, Bellecourt was arrested after a demonstration of solidarity by a Canadian tribal group at the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis.

Bellecourt said he had been watching the demonstration and refused to leave the building when security guards ordered him to do so. Bellecourt, who has diabetes, said he told guards that he needed to finish eating a sweet roll and coffee to raise his blood sugar before he left.

The activist told the Pioneer Press Tuesday that he spoke to a juror and was told that within an hour of getting the case last Friday, the vote was 5-1 for acquittal, but the lone holdout held her ground.

The city intends to retry Bellecourt, the newspaper said. A trial date has not yet been set.

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