Police abolition is not a topic that fits the traditional confines of Midwestern small talk. So, when I asked about two dozen people at bus stops, in coffee shops, at the library and some acquaintances if they would share their feelings about the idea of a police-free Minneapolis, it’s not too surprising that few people were willing to talk to me at all and none of those who would would go on the record. Some said they didn’t know enough about the topic. Most of the people I approached listened politely and then quickly declined. A few others’ eyes glazed over after hearing the word “reporter.”
Mayor Betsy Hodges, the Minneapolis City Council and police leadership have all failed in their oversight of the Minneapolis Police Department, bringing us to the place where unarmed community members are killed by police officers year after year with impunity. Continue Reading
“Band aid on a bullet wound…” That’s how one woman described the proposal for MPD body cameras at a community meeting last week in South Minneapolis. While some see cameras as progress, the long-running problem of police accountability has no easy solutions. Continue Reading
Social media videos capture scenes of a police officer spraying protestors. Outraged, some protestors and community members are demanding action be taken against the officer.
Shortly after 10 p.m., videos began to surface showing protesters in the streets marching peacefully. Off camera, a police siren can be heard. Moments later amid screams, you could hear someone yelling, “You just maced a 10-year-old kid.” Continue Reading
Whether or not they care to admit it, I am positive that every student, professor and community member has an opinion on body cameras for police officers. Perhaps a body camera would have been useful in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson this past summer. But while body cameras are certainly useful in situations like Brown’s, they also reward the police officers who are doing a good job. Therefore, I am glad that many police departments are moving toward using them. Having cameras available for law enforcement officers is important for several reasons. First, it enables their superiors to determine whether the officers are doing their jobs well. Most importantly, the use of cameras will help the fight to end racial injustice. A report by the Washington Post found that in three-quarters of fatal shooting cases since 2005, the police officers were white, and two-thirds of officers’ victims were black. Prosecutors won’t press charges against officers unless there is a substantial amount of evidence. Continue Reading
St. Louis Park resident Taharra Patterson was one of 250 protesters at the Justice for Terrance rally on May 31. She attended the protest because she is against police brutality and, “this easily could have been my child, and if it were my child I would have wanted someone to do it for me. So I’m here for justice for the family,” she said. Patterson also supported the Trayvon Martin rally last year.What does she hope will come out of protesting? Continue Reading
Terrance Franklin’s uncle spoke to Twin Cities Daily Planet Community Engagement Editor Lolla Mohammed Nur while marching through downtown Minneapolis at the Justice for Terrance rally on May 31. Willie Walton, along with Franklin’s father, other family members and supporters, is demanding that Minneapolis police release details about the May 10 shooting that led to Franklin’s death.”We want those Minneapolis cops that killed Terrance, that slaughtered him in the basement, we want them brought to justice,” he said. “Terrance is unarmed. He’s not known for carrying a gun, so why did they slaughter him? He’s not a known criminal. Continue Reading