As has been known for a while, Minneapolis residents have been raising some complaints with their City Council of late. One community leader named Liz Cruz has been beating the drum for a couple of months now. Unlike residents of other cities who might be complaining about potholes in the streets higher taxes, however, Liz and her neighbors are talking about gunfire, robberies, and carjackings. Up until now, City Council President Lisa Bender has been mostly silent, dodging the media and town halls organized by constituents. That finally changed this week when Ms. Bender released a statement to the local press. She spoke about an “epidemic of violence” in the community that’s primarily “affecting young Black men.” But as to the idea that her efforts to defund the police could be a factor? She’s not having it. (CBS Minnesota)
Some say talk of defunding or dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department led to some of this recent violence. Bender disagrees.
“I stand by the commitment that I made…in Powderhorn Park after George Floyd was murdered by the police. We need a wholly-new approach to community safety in Minneapolis. We need to prevent crime before it happens, and our current system is not working to keep people safe,” Bender said…
“I think we need to restructure within our city how we’re approaching public safety,” Bender said. “Our experience hasn’t shown that police alone will interrupt these cycles of crime and violence, and that we need a more strategic and effective solution.”
This is really incredible. As we’ve discussed here previously, Bender and her liberal colleagues on the City Council floated a plan earlier this year to eliminate the city police force and replace it with a “department for community safety and violence prevention.” That plan was finally shot down by the City Charter Commission. But this week Bender doubled down and said she hoped to try again next year.
CBS also asked Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis Chief of Police about the sharp rise in both violence and property crime. He said that he’s unable to effectively combat the problem without the support of the City Council. A similar answer was given by Mayor Jacob Frey, who finally showed a bit of common sense this summer and backed away from the idea of disbanding the police. Unfortunately for the residents of the city, it’s the Council that holds all of the power and when they act in a nearly unanimous fashion, there’s little that the Mayor can do.
The situation in Minneapolis would be suitable fodder for the script of a sitcom were the situation not so serious. People are losing their homes to arson. Businesses are being driven away along with the jobs they provide. People are being shot. People are being killed. All at rates that are far above normal levels for this region. And all the City Council President can think to do is continue to blame the police and demand some new concept of violence prevention based on unicorns and rainbows.
Is it any wonder that the Minneapolis PD has been slower to respond to calls and less likely to get out of their squad cars when trouble erupts? Why would they risk their lives any more than they already are when they know that the city not only doesn’t have their backs but is actively trying to eliminate them? The problem isn’t the cops. And it’s really not even the rioters, or at least not entirely. The problem is that the city’s residents keep electing the same gangs of idiots year after year. There’s a solution to this increasingly dreadful problem, but it requires the voters of the city to take the initiative when they next go to the polls.