A suburban state lawmaker shared his stark impressions following a ride-along with Minneapolis police last week along with a commemorative coin that he received from an officer with “#MplsRiot2020” on one side and “Hold the Line” on the other.
State Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, said Wednesday that he received the coin, which also includes the words “A Family of One” and “MPD STRONG,” after his firsthand experience on Aug. 27, the same day a man fatally shot another downtown before the gunman killed himself on Nicollet Mall. He shared his experience that day in a Facebook post.
Nash said he gave out what he calls a “challenge coin,” which he hands to first responders and military members, and an officer he declined to name returned the favor.
Minneapolis officers “are demoralized and dejected,” said the House assistant minority leader, “and they are leaving police service as a result of lack of support from the Minneapolis City Council, and that’s not insignificant.”
Police spokesman John Elder said his department is trying to determine who produced the coin, adding that he is certain that neither his department nor the Minneapolis Police Federation are behind it. Elder said the department is also looking into whether the inclusion of a group photo of several officers violates any trademark laws.
A spokesman for the police union said he is checking with its leaders for what they might know about the coin, the flip side of which reads “5th Precinct Dogwatch” and features a Yoda-like character sporting riot gear.
In a letter posted online, Nash recounted the ride-along he took in the Third and Fifth precincts, the two areas hardest hit by sometimes violent unrest since the May 25 death of George Floyd while being detained by police.
Nash wrote that he saw officers “being beaten down by the endless onslaught of negativity they have faced. ... It was jarring to see and hear some of the language and gestures thrown at officers on patrol.”
Nash said his ride-along concluded with the Nicollet Mall suicide of a murder suspect that led to a night of looting.
“I left and drove home to Waconia — but the officers did not have that luxury. Instead, they were out until all hours of the night trying to quell the rampant lawlessness.”