County attorney recognizes that perception matters. Does the Minneapolis police union?
Perception is key in conflicts of interest
It was reported that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s office will not be prosecuting the cases against the young defendants who allegedly victimized Mark Andrew (“2nd teen charged with beating Andrew,” Dec. 31). Instead, a different county attorney will be asked to handle the cases.
Even though Andrew has not been an elected official in Hennepin County for many years and Freeman has many staff qualified to handle the prosecution who do not personally know Andrew, the decision was made because, in matters of justice, even the appearance of a conflict can taint the result. Freeman is to be commended.
In contrast, the Minneapolis Police Federation president, John Delmonico, offered the argument last week (“Why police union opposes outside investigation,” Dec. 26) that the use of independent investigators to look into police shootings, instead of using the department’s own, creates public distrust because it serves to legitimize the view of some that there’s not only an appearance of conflict but actual bias.
Freeman’s action, which (contrary to Delmonico’s views) in no way admits that his office would otherwise be incapable of prosecuting fairly in the Andrew cases, is consistent with the high sensitivity for avoiding taint when justice is at stake. It well demonstrates how the Minneapolis Police Federation’s arguments are ludicrous and out of touch.
MICHAEL FRIEDMAN, Minneapolis
The writer is executive director of the Legal Rights Center.
THE ANDREW ATTACK
Why did so many fail to come to his aid?
The attack on Mark Andrew at the Mall of America was a very terrifying and sad incident. In subsequent articles and interviews, he discussed his feelings and was able to feel compassion for his assailants. A Dec. 31 report about a few people coming to his aid notwithstanding, I would like to find out more about the hundred or so persons who stood by while he was so viciously beaten. I ask them to share their reasons for not getting involved.
WAYNE MOSTEK, Roseville
WEST BANK WALKWAY
Consider it part of the stadium subsidy
The Dec. 31 article about Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s announcement of a West Bank walkway made no mention of the new Vikings stadium. The walkway is made possible by the creation of a new direct connection between westbound Interstate 94 and 7th Street. The article indicated that the new connection is needed to relieve congestion along 5th Street because of light rail. But light rail has affected 5th Street since 2002. The real reason for the new connection is that the larger footprint of the Vikings stadium needs the land under the adjacent segment of 5th Street. The cost of the new connection should be added to the public subsidy for the stadium.
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