In its endorsement of career politician Mike Freeman, the Star Tribune Editorial Board cites his five terms as sufficient evidence to hand him a sixth (“Value experience in county races,” Oct. 24). A careful examination of Freeman’s record shows that his experience has, in reality, blinded him to the pervasive unfairness in our criminal justice system today.
Mike Freeman doesn’t deserve a sixth term. His priorities are wrong and do little to keep us safe. At the expense of victims of sexual assault, he chooses to jail people for $10 worth of marijuana. Mark Haase will prioritize the most serious crimes and the voices of victims.
Freeman commands a system where the color of your skin and how much money you have determines whether you go free or go to prison. His tenure is directly responsible for some of the worst disparities in the United States. That’s not a track record that warrants being rehired.
At a news conference in July, Mike Freeman turned his back and walked away from a family expressing their pain and grief. Mark will stay in the room, even when it’s hard and uncomfortable.
In an interview this year about how fewer than one in 10 cases of sexual assault reported to police results in a suspect being convicted, Freeman said, “I didn’t think the numbers were this bad.” Freeman is continuously uninformed and surprised about what happens in his own office.
Whether we’re in Long Lake or on Lake Street, Freeman proves more than willing to give our friends and family members struggling with addiction a felony charge rather than the help they need. Not only does that destroy lives, it’s a criminal waste of our tax dollars.
We deserve a leader who is informed, a leader who will stay in the room, and a leader who knows that arrest records can’t be used to solve a public health crisis.
Freeman is not entitled to four more years. We renounce the idea that you can sweet-talk your way into a sixth term by co-opting your opponent’s reform platform. Freeman is making promises now, but his record throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s clearly demonstrates he is unwilling and unable to make the substantive changes voters across the county are demanding, from Rogers to Richfield and from Eden Prairie to Brooklyn Park.
The failings of the criminal justice system impact all of us, even when we’re not aware of it. Prosecutors like Freeman fill our jails, take away people’s right to vote, damage communities, waste money and hold people back from accessing housing and jobs. We reject the notion that the color of your skin should define how you’re treated in the criminal justice system. We reject the idea that how much money you have in your wallet should determine your freedom.
All of us deserve better. The elected prosecutor is one of the most powerful individuals in the entire criminal justice system and a change in leadership is long overdue.
We’re supporting Mark Haase because of his bipartisan and innovative solutions. We’re supporting Mark because he will continue to fight to make sure every single Minnesotan receives equal treatment under the law. Mark will put safety and outcomes above partisan politics.
Minnesota has the opportunity to lead the way in the nation in criminal justice reform, which is why we’re proud to support Mark Haase for Hennepin County attorney.
Elizabeth Glidden is a former member of the Minneapolis City Council. Abby Honold, of Hennepin County, is a rape survivor and advocate. Javier Morillo, of St. Paul, is a labor and community leader. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, is a member of the Minnesota Senate. John D. Baker, of Maplewood, is a retired Marine gunnery sergeant and professor of criminal justice. Rebecca Voelkel, of Minneapolis, is director, Center for Sustainable Justice. Asad Zaman, of Inver Grove Heights, is executive director, Muslim American Society of Minnesota. Dana Neuhauser, of Minneapolis, is a community organizer. Erica Mauter, of Minneapolis, is Stonewall DFL chair.