“Lie back, and think of England.” That appears to be the Minneapolis city council’s new approach to law enforcement. According to the Daily Caller’s Kyle Hooten, the city issued a new advisory for its citizens.
“We want those who live and work here to be safe!” the advisory declared. It sounds more like they want the criminals to be safe, but … hey, they live and work here too, right? (Via Twitchy):
Here's the not cropped, unmarked version of that message pic.twitter.com/Dpf1nqRknc
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) August 1, 2020
Note the irony in the valediction at the bottom of the page. The city council added “To Protect with Courage,” even while demanding an end to the police department and advising their citizens to become compliant victims. This isn’t a courageous statement, even if its advice is rather pedestrian; it’s a declaration of surrender. The “compassion” in this declaration is aimed at the criminals rather than the victims.
In a sane world, a statement that starts by noting a huge spike in violent crime — carjackings especially — would be followed by “and we’re hiring more police officers to protect the citizens.” Instead, the city council had the temerity to demand that police do more while simultaneously cutting both their funding and their credibility:
MPD officials not authorized to speak publicly estimate the department, which is budgeted for 888 officers this year, could lose as much as a third of its workforce by the end of the year.
The shortages highlight the challenge facing the city’s beleaguered police force as it faces calls for its defunding, or even abolishment.
Residents say that police are taking longer to respond to emergency calls, even as homicides, shootings and robberies have all increased by double digits from last year.
Some of that frustration surfaced during Friday’s City Council meeting, when Council Member Andrea Jenkins questioned officers’ apparent reluctance to enter the area surrounding Floyd’s memorial at E. 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue, a long troubled corner that has been the site of several shootings in recent weeks.
“People in this area, they’re not experiencing slow response, they’re experiencing no response. They’re being told that this is called a no-go zone by MPD,” she said in the meeting broadcast on Zoom.
Jenkins, it should be noted, is one of the biggest advocates for abolishing the Minneapolis police department. If Jenkins had her way, there wouldn’t be any police to respond to these calls at all. As it is, the city council’s push to eliminate the police has delegitimized their presence by a considerable amount, making it even tougher to show up in hostile neighborhoods. Police are now worried that any show of force will require escalation, and they know that the city government won’t back them up. And Jenkins has the nerve to scold the police over a lack of enthusiasm for their jobs? Come on, man.
That’s why, as the Star Tribune reported over the weekend (same link), more than 100 officers have left the force since the end of May. They expect dozens more to hit the exits soon, perhaps hundreds, which means they are well on their way to that one-third reduction even without any action from the city council. That also means that the city is in violation of its charter, which requires a certain staffing level for its police department in a formula that presently would demand 725 “employees.” If the city remains in violation of its charter, the state could seek to revoke it and place the city under state control, although that would be a last-gasp effort at best. At the very least, however, it will prompt an avalanche of lawsuits, not least from businesses that are now being told that it’s open season for crime in the streets of Minneapolis.