I am heartbroken for the Minneapolis we knew in 1959, when we moved there for my husband to join the faculty at the University of Minnesota. In the early 1960s, the state was at the forefront of the civil-rights movement, led by DFL U.S. Sens. Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy and progressive city and state leaders. My husband, James Lowell Gibbs Jr., one of the first African-Americans appointed to the U faculty, served on the Minneapolis Fair Employment Practice Commission and the State Commission Against Discrimination when there were few complaints of police brutality and blacks were making gains in employment and housing.
Since we moved to California in 1966, the waves of immigrants and refugees (Hmong, Somalis, Latinos) who were first welcomed to the city apparently were never really integrated, perhaps because of their foreign cultures, different languages and religious practices. Social problems surfaced, tensions escalated, and attitudes changed toward these newcomers.
However, we were shocked by the brutal death of George Floyd in the custody of four police officers. It is difficult for me to cope with the betrayal of the progressive legacy of the political leaders of the 1960s who made Minneapolis a model city of tolerance and civility. Whatever happened to Minnesota Nice?
Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, Oakland, Calif.
‘HOLY LAND’ BRAND
Those were some wholesale responses to controversy
The hasty actions by the Seward Coop, Midtown Global Market and Costco to immediately discontinue selling Holy Land products after seeing social media posted by an employee appear to be a knee-jerk reaction instead of a decision (“Holy Land deli loses business over racist posts,” June 6). Without thoughtful consideration and deliberation, these businesses responded like the mobs that exploded on Lake Street two weeks ago. Yes, the employee in question was the daughter of the owner, but she was fired from her position, as was the correct action.
Perhaps we should review every social posting of every employee who works at the co-ops and Costco. If we found an employee who tweeted racial insults, should these business immediately be closed? Should we stop shopping there entirely? Or should we rightly expect this employee will be fired? Do we punish the business, the rest of its employees and its suppliers because of one person who works there?
Do we perpetuate a different type of intolerance from our glass houses?
Bette Packer, Andover
If officers don’t feel they have it, they should ask if they’ve earned it
I read with great interest “Citing lack of support, officers quitting MPD” (June 14). The paragraph that caught my attention was the next to last, which stated that “some officers spoke of feeling underappreciated, and being asked to answer for the actions of one of their colleagues.”
I doubt anyone is asking them to answer for the actions of their colleagues. Perhaps they are asking for Minneapolis police officers to stop their union from defending their colleagues’ criminal behavior.
Based on my demographics: white, upper-middle-class, over 70 years old, most would expect me to be a strong supporter of the police, and I am. I donate money every year to support the Edina PD. My department has earned the trust and support of its community. Those Minneapolis officers should focus on building that same relationship of trust and support with the city they serve.
Daniel A. Morgan, Edina
Omitted in article’s counting: Those that are justified
The June 14 article “Despite promised reforms cops kill nearly 1,000 a year” says that experts are “confounded” that the number of people killed by police doesn’t vary much year-to-year. One possible explanation is that most of the killings are justified. Training police in de-escalation tactics can help in certain situations, but, if someone is armed and endangering someone else’s life, the use of force is justified. That is the case with most of the people killed by police.
The story doesn’t bother to mention that only 55 of the 1,003 people killed by police in 2019 were unarmed! That information is readily available on the Washington Post’s website on police killings. I cannot understand why an article written by Washington Post reporters would fail to mention this critical piece of information.
The article also says that black people have been shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates. But the real issue is not whether the rates of blacks being killed by police are disproportionate to their proportion of the population, it is whether a significant number of blacks are unjustifiably killed by police. The article provides no information on that; however, since only 55 out of 1,003 people killed by police in 2019 were unarmed, and some of those unarmed people may still have been endangering people’s lives, unjustified killings by police would appear relatively uncommon, contrary to what you read in the news.
Reporters need to dig deeper and find out how many potentially unjustified killings by police happen each year, then find out whether it is more common for blacks to be killed by police without justification.
James Brandt, New Brighton
If you think former MPs, two-year degrees are the problem, show it
The June 14 letters included one by a Woodbury resident who formerly lived in Minneapolis. From his safe suburb, he thinks he has the answers to problems with the MPD, but offers no concrete data in his argument.
In his second of three points, he implies that former military police are “bad” guys, and people with two-year degrees in criminal justice are unsuitable. I am a former military police officer, patrol supervisor and desk sergeant/squad leader. But, I do have a four-year degree in English, a real plus to this letter writer. I keep in touch with my former MP Army buddies, some who are African-American, some who are Puerto Rican. None of us are “bad,” bigoted people. I resent the implication that former MPs have become “problem cops.”
This letter writer not once suggests that applicants should be required to take a test similar to a Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory. I took the test at the University of Minnesota, and results showed my strongest interest/likelihood of success was in science and medicine. Policing was close to the bottom. Based on the test, I ruled out law enforcement, though I enjoyed serving as an MP in the Army. So, my question to this letter writer would be: How many Minneapolis police officers are former MPs and how many have only a two-year degree? Data please!
Wayne Dokken, Robbinsdale