A long front-page article in the Star Tribune ("A secret informant — or abuse by police?" May 16) reports on the actions of Minneapolis police officer Tony Partyka against a Black man, Andre Moore, on two occasions in 2019 and 2020.
These actions include physical abuse (showing a photo of Moore's face with multiple injuries), a suspicious no-knock warrant resulting in an early morning forced entry into his home and damage to his property, lying to Judge Paul Scoggin, bogus evidence, a possibly nonexistent or untrustworthy confidential informant and other abuses of police procedure. Moore spent seven months in jail before he was released when the case against him was dropped for "no evidence." What stands out for me in this long article, though, is this sentence: "Partyka was given no discipline by Minneapolis police."
It is no wonder that incidents of police misconduct like we've seen recently have continued to happen when there are no consequences for the police who perpetrate them.
Nancy Beach, Minneapolis
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The story of the police beating Andre Moore and jailing him for seven months based on false evidence created by officer Tony Partyka is excellent reporting that raises many questions:
Why hasn't Partyka been disciplined for the beating — which is on videotape — or for misleading the court? What will happen to his other cases, now that he has shown his word can't be trusted? Are there other officers who make up false evidence? What has the county attorney's office done to screen out cases from officers who act like Partyka did? What actions will justice system leaders take to show that the system has integrity?
We can be proud of public defenders Tanya Bishop and Alicia Granse for bringing to light the unjust treatment of Moore. But what other wrongly developed and wrongly prosecuted cases are back behind the curtain of secrecy?
John Stuart, Minneapolis
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Mere days after publishing an account of how officers lied and exaggerated to create and escalate charges against a suspect, why is the Star Tribune still publishing stories solely based on credulously repeating claims made by officers or their spokespeople? Yes, it's plausible that some suspects have gotten more resistant or defiant in recent weeks or months. But isn't it time to move beyond reporting the claims of officers as irrefutable facts?
Police claim to have endured a wave of assaults. Do we have evidence of this beyond their claims? If not, why is this reported as if it's an objective truth rather than the perspective of an involved party who may see benefits from creating a misleading narrative?
Mike Phillips, Minneapolis
Is this democracy?
Regarding police reform in Brooklyn Center ("Brooklyn Center council passes package of police reforms," Metro cover, May 16), it is chilling that a reasonable voice was silenced before the City Council vote favoring sweeping change. A citizen raised the issue of outstanding warrants for Daunte Wright, not just expired license tabs. He was quickly shouted down and removed from the podium. Mayor Mike Elliott then apologized for his dissenting comments. Is this democracy? Is this a full hearing of the issues? Is this respect for a diversity of views? The lone dissenting council member deserves credit for courage and intellect. This process was steamrolled, noninclusive and politically charged. I fear unintended consequences for residents, as criminals become empowered as never before.
Charles Corcoran, Stillwater
The civic-minded electorate is working hard to make voices heard
Having read the editorial "Good government needed at Capitol" (May 16), I am compelled to respond. The title caught my attention as I agree wholeheartedly that good government is very much needed at the Minnesota Capitol, and at present, good government is sorely lacking, particularly in the GOP Senate leaders.
I found it interesting that the Editorial Board quoted John Kaul — who served in the state government in the 1970s — extensively. I believe Kaul is profoundly out of touch with the reality of our current Legislature and I'll tell you why. He remarks on the old way of governing, where there were many committee meetings and much vetting of bills. What is happening now is that our House has been working and passing many much-needed bills, and these bills go to the Senate where they sit without hearings by the GOP leaders.
But Kaul's statement that our Legislature is not getting pushback from the electorate is false. Members of Faith in Minnesota, an organization advocating for people-centered politics, have made thousands of calls and sent texts to Minnesota residents encouraging them to contact their senators and demand they pass bills to raise revenue to provide the funds we need to help all Minnesotans have health care, child care and a decent standard of living. Minnesota is not just for rich Minnesotans and big corporations. And Faith in Minnesota has been very effective at motivating Minnesotans to get involved. If this current legislative session produces nothing, the blame lies squarely with the GOP Senate, not the many civic-minded, involved people of our state.
Ruth Olson, St. Anthony
Broader context is needed
It's a bit disingenuous to just say Metro Transit ridership is down 50% without mentioning the reason (Readers Write, May 16). Nor is the transitory state of the pandemic a good reason not to look to the future. I think it's safe to say the numbers will slowly bounce back. They may even edge higher due to the financial toll the pandemic took on many people.
If the letter writer is that concerned about spending, he need look no further than the immense amount of money we pour into our military, or maybe the $80 million-plus it cost to send former President Donald Trump to his golf destinations.
Dale Jernberg, Minneapolis
Our lives aren't more valuable
Talk about your "first world solutions." The Minnesota Department of Health seemingly believes opening a vaccine vial, vaccinating a single Minnesotan, and throwing the remaining doses away is somehow acceptable ("State backs off vaccine waste policy," Metro cover, May 20). This Minnesotan believes the world would be a much better place if we sent that vaccine vial to India and vaccinated seven people there, or sent it to Mexico, Brazil, Africa, Russia or China. Our lives are not more valuable than their lives, and vaccination-level bragging rights have no value at all.
Jack Kohler, Plymouth
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Here's an excerpt from an article by the Associated Press in the May 21 Star Tribune ("Big geographic disparities in people willing to get shot," front page), in case you missed it: " 'They didn't have long enough to test it,' said James Martin, 68, explaining why he has no plans to get the vaccine as he stopped for cigarettes at a convenience store in Clanton, Ala. 'They don't know what the long-term effect is. That's what makes me skeptical.' " Think about it and either laugh or cry. Nice writing.
Elizabeth Schading, Coon Rapids
Things could be worse
I've been thinking about how difficult it has been to leave our cocoons and re-enter society. Here we are, having to resocialize and rethink how we do everything out in public. It's been 14 months, plus or minus, and some of us don't really want to be out there quite yet. But then again, imagine if you were a cicada. So best make the most of our re-entry!