I was disappointed by the Star Tribune’s editorial on May 12 (“Mpls. ‘slowdown’ only hurts the cops”) perpetuating the myth that Minneapolis police officers are participating in a work slowdown. I expect better investigation of facts and evaluation of evidence prior to presenting an argument that so clearly fails to understand what is really happening in the city.
The editorial flaunted arrest and stop data as proof positive that a work slowdown is in progress. But let’s do what Minneapolis cops do every day, in every situation, and gather the rest of the facts.
The Minneapolis City Council recently decriminalized both lurking with intent to commit a crime and spitting. The council wants to take this even further by decriminalizing groups of three or more blocking sidewalks, doorways and the like. Perhaps the editorial writers should reread their own sentence: “To ignore crime — even low-level offenses — only encourages disorder and threatens whatever progress has been made in building strong police-community relations.” Perhaps they should consider how these council actions affect arrest and stop data, not to mention public safety.
The retreat from accountability and consequences for actions continues in additional initiatives. The city started a diversion program for those charged with obstruction. This is not just limited to those who interfere with police officers. It includes those who interfere with fire and emergency medical personnel engaged in the performance of their duties. And recent court rulings prohibit booking into jail many misdemeanants, who now have to be issued a citation and released.
These steps are being pushed by an extreme left-wing liberal mayor, City Council and police administration. And they were embraced by previous Star Tribune editorials. Their effect on the city’s safety has not been questioned.
The latest editorial got one thing right: Law enforcement should expect scrutiny. We do. Our officers are under a constant microscope with every detail of their work subject to not just internal review but to an often-biased retelling of events by a small group of activists, which is then regurgitated by the media.
Currently, the Police Department is undergoing implicit bias training conducted by the federal government. This training teaches officers to recognize cultural differences and avoid enforcement of low-level crimes because of possible racial bias. In addition, officers are being trained to disengage, de-escalate and avoid confrontations.
Is this training — and other proactive steps being taking by Minneapolis police officers to improve their job performance and community relations — ever considered when assessing arrest and stop data?
City Council Member Blong Yang, in an uninformed and sadly all-too-typical fashion, posted on his Facebook page his frustration with the alleged work slowdown. He asserts that the city pays its officers well and that it offers indemnification for actions that occur during the regular course of business — misleading claims the Star Tribune Editorial Board eagerly highlights.
Again, there are more facts to this story. Minneapolis police officers have been working without a contract for over 16 months. Officers are currently being shipped from precinct to precinct as a Band-Aid, instead of the city prioritizing public safety and hiring additional officers. Stripping officers of indemnification is another proposal being advanced by allies of the mayor and City Council. It would make Minneapolis an outlier regionally and nationally, while further handcuffing officers’ ability to protect and serve our city.
City leaders, led by extreme leftist interests, are systematically trying to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. While doing so, they complain and cry wolf when there is an uptick in crime. The hypocrisy is astounding.
The Editorial Board, clinging to its theory of a work slowdown, chastised police officers, exclaiming, “those officers need an attitude adjustment.” Perhaps it is city leaders and the Star Tribune Editorial Board in need of an attitude adjustment.
Bob Kroll is president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.