Minneapolis City Council Advances Toward Abolishing Police Department
By Steve Pomper
The politically schizophrenic Minneapolis City Council (MCC) is at it again. According to the Star Tribune’s Liz Navratil, as reported at Police1.com, a committee has just voted 5-1 to send a proposal to the full city council to “replace the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).” If passed, and Minneapolitans vote for it, their law enforcement department would effectively be replaced by a department of law suggestion.
I’ll concede one thing to Minneapolis. At least it’s not some city hundreds or thousands of miles away that had nothing to do with George Floyd’s in-custody death. It is the actual city where the incident occurred. Still, hapless Mayor Jacob Frey had a responsibility, and an early opportunity, to quell the initial riots. Instead, he fanned the flames, and Minneapolis, and America, has paid a steep price for his adherence to political ideology over public safety.
History has shown when officials deploy sufficient riot control resources, looting and destruction are limited or prevented entirely. Frey essentially allowed radical insurrectionists to destroy the MPD’s 3rd Precinct. This lack of action emboldened their comrades in Seattle and Portland to do something similar. Militants targeted a Seattle Police Department (SPD) precinct and union hall and, in Portland, attacked police facilities and a federal courthouse. They also attempted to trap cops inside and then set the buildings ablaze.
After weeks of an illegal occupation of the CHAZ/CHOP autonomous zone, which included vandalism, arson, burglary, assault, robbery, rape, and murder, radicals showed up at Durkan’s home. Apparently, that provoked in her a NIMBY (or, in her case, front yard) response, and soon after, Durkan finally allowed SPD to retake the precinct and neighborhood.
The key takeaway here, for everyone, is SPD officers swiftly reclaimed their police station (unlike Minneapolis, Seattle still had a station to reclaim) and tossed CHOP/CHAZ into the anarcho-communist ash heap of history. In Minneapolis, insurrectionists destroyed an MPD precinct because the mayor wouldn’t allow the cops to do what they’re trained to do.
Restoring order and reclaiming the precinct in either city is something that could have been done at any time during their respective sieges. Still, preventing militants from destroying or coercing the evacuation of police precincts in the first place is what should have happened. Sadly, the SPD East Precinct still resembles a mini U.S. Capital fortified compound. The city used to boast the East Precinct was the most community-accessible precinct in the city.
Back to Minneapolis. First, the MCC voted to defund the police, then three members hired private security paid for with taxpayer dollars. Then, after de-policing affected public safety, with crime rising, city council members began complaining to the police chief that constituents were concerned about a lack of police protection.
Then, stories came out that with all the cops Frey and the MCC are chasing out of the city, the council requested more money to hire officers from outside agencies to augment the dwindling Minneapolis police. Even then, outside agencies were reluctant to send officers into a city that didn’t back their own officers.
And now, the city council approved spending $6.4 million to recruit more police officers. You read that right. This is even as the city council is attempting to abolish the MPD as its been known. Who would want to work in cities like Minneapolis, Seattle, or Portland, these days? Those who do have both my respect—and prayers.
The reconfiguration of the MPD, if passed by city government, sent to the ballot, and voters approve it, would place the city’s residents in grave danger. Stunningly, the new iteration of public safety would axe any minimum staffing requirements. Ask any patrol officer what this means. When I first became a Seattle police officer in 1992, it wasn’t unusual for a squad to have 19, 20, or more officers assigned to a sector.
By the time I retired in 2014, so many cops had either left the department, had been reassigned to social justice-related “specialty units,” or personnel had been reallocated to DOJ consent decree-related assignments,” we were lucky to have seven or eight or fewer officers in a squad. Each member of my squad, me included, had to go out on patrol as the only officer in the sector for a nine-hour shift. That’s one officer for a sector of tens of thousands of residents.
MCC member Phillipe Cunningham, who coined the phrase “violence interrupters” (no, this is not a new Marvel superhero TV series) that would replace real cops, said something remarkable regardless when discussing this issue. “There is no false narrative here.”
That those six words could even come out of his mouth is breathtaking. That statement is incredible in the literal sense of the word. Coming from him, that statement has no credibility. The entire de-fund, abolish the police, BLM/Antifa movement is based on a false anti-cop narrative—actually, it’s a provable myth. FBI statistics and peer-reviewed academic studies have never supported the radicals’ claims about “police abuse” and even “genocide.”
The thing that shows you more than anything else that the radicals are adult children “playing house” with city government, is they rarely if ever include the police in their decisions about policing. These city officials spent a lot of taxpayer money recruiting, hiring, and training police officers in all facets of law enforcement. Yet, when a crisis arises they don’t want to let go to waste, they attempt to “reimagine” the police without talking to the police.
Here are three examples:
- When Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey banned so-called “warrior” or “fear-based” training for the MPD, he did not consult police officers or even attend a class. With scathing contempt, he simply banned this life-saving officer-survival training.
- Ithaca, N.Y. Mayor Svante Myrick is attempting something similar to Minneapolis, creating law suggestion department. He also did not include the police in the discussions. We know he didn’t because he’s apologized for not including the cops.
- And then you have the Obama Foundation conscripting Democrat mayors, city councils, and prosecutors to take the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Pledge (MBKAP). Officials promise to “reform” their city’s police use of force policies. But the pledge doesn’t include consulting with the police.
You can learn more about the Obama Foundation’s anti-police efforts in the new book I wrote for the NPA, The Obama Gang: How Barack Obama, through his post-presidency foundation, assembled, launched, and wages the new assault on law enforcement.
If the Left were legitimately attempting to improve, reform, reimagine, whatever, policing, how could they leave the police out of the discussion? It’s because they hate cops and because cops know the truth. These defund the police advocates cannot compete in a fact-based discussion with the professionals who do the job. When you listen to these anti-police folks, pay particular attention to the contrast between an abundance of emotion and anecdote and the scarcity of reason and fact.
To fight this, we have to keep applying pressure. Do not allow the anti-cop factions to go unchallenged. Your opinion is just as valid as theirs. In fact, if you are or were a cop, your opinion matter a great deal. After all, aside from your firsthand knowledge, you risked your life and safety to arrive at your opinions—the police critics and haters did not.