News & Politics

Minneapolis Police 'Reform': the Other Important Election Today

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Voters in Minneapolis will go to the polls today to vote for all 13 city council seats and a contentious ballot question on whether or not to dismantle the Minneapolis police department.

It’s the first election since the death of George Floyd — an inflection point in modern American politics — and the radical left has pulled out all the stops to “reform” the Minneapolis Police Department by eliminating it.

The proposal would alter the city charter to no longer require a police department and instead use a “comprehensive public health approach” to nonviolent crime, which may include peace officers.

“This wouldn’t have saved George Floyd’s life,” Nekima Armstrong, a prominent local civil rights lawyer told Yahoo News. “They’re doing this in his name, but in that situation, the store owner would have still called the cops.”

“Our movement demands our city leaders move toward a comprehensive, higher standard in public safety, where qualified professionals, like mental health responders and social workers, as well as the police, can work to make all our communities safer,” the group spearheading the referendum effort, Yes 4 Minneapolis, notes on its website.

Minneapolis police have kept quiet about the referendum, but not Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who is running for re-election in a 17-candidate field.

“If you look at what this does do, and what this does not do, there are no police reforms built into this charter amendment,” Frey told the USA Today Network. “There are no items of reform, police reform, policy change or accountability built into this.”

A poll by local media outlets in September found that 49 percent of residents favored the ballot measure, with about 41 percent opposed in the majority Democratic city, setting the stage for a showdown at the ballot box.

The new department would not be led by the mayor’s office alone but with guidance from the 13-person city council. You can be forgiven if the adage “too many cooks…” comes to mind.

And that’s one of the major problems with this ill-thought-out proposal. Who’s in charge? Who determines when to send a social worker or mental health professional on a call? Should they be accompanied by an armed “peace officer”?

It’s a catastrophe that’s waiting to happen.

“We have an opportunity, once and for all, to listen to those most impacted by police brutality and the communities who have been demanding change for decades,” Omar, who represents Minneapolis in Congress, wrote in a Star Tribune opinion piece two months ago. “We have a mandate, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, to deliver a public safety system rooted in compassion, humanity and love, and to deliver true justice. I hope we fulfill it.”

Ellison called the proposal a “first step of action.”

Do the gangbangers and other violent criminals who have contributed to a 16% rise in homicides, a 5% increase in robberies, and a 3% increase in aggravated assaults care about “compassion, humanity, and love” so much that they refrain from shooting up city streets and killing innocents?

That will be the acid test of this “experiment” in public safety. The question is, how many “peace officers, mental health professionals, and social workers” will have to die before the radical leftists understand they’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake?