After a year of calculations, it’s time for a change – Twin Cities
MINNEAPOLIS – From COVID-19 to a budget deficit, or the death of George Floyd to the recent death of a 6-year-old girl from gun violence, Minneapolis mayor says his city has experienced trauma after trauma this year – and the black community has felt the most pain.
As Mayor Jacob Frey moves forward with a public safety proposal that he says will help keep neighborhoods safe and hold the police accountable, he reflects on the lessons learned and where the city will go from here.
“Right now our city has come and gone through a time of race awareness, perhaps hundreds of years in the making. It is true that the way we have done things in the past is not acceptable, ”Frey told The Associated Press this week.
“I think the next step that everyone is looking for is to be able to galvanize and channel all of this collective energy, pain and frustration to get real progress,” he said.
City leaders have been under pressure to change the police since Floyd died on May 25, a black man who died after then-constable Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck and pinned him to the ground for about 9 and a half minutes.
Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter, and three other officers are awaiting trial for aiding and abetting. The four also face federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights, and the police department is at the center of federal and state investigations into his practices.
“Right now our whole city recognizes the magnitude of this moment and we are witnessing a deep and collective push for change,” said Frey, who is seeking re-election in 2022.
Some of Frey’s proposals include immediate changes, such as prioritizing funding for additional cameras in high crime areas. Frey said his plan would also address disparities in traffic stops by committing to end stops for low-level infractions, like a broken tail light.
Frey believes not all 911 calls require an officer to respond with a gun, and his plan will target resources to the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, as well as some root causes of crime. , such as inadequate housing and employment opportunities.
Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo have already revised the department’s use of force policy and expanded the criteria for what constitutes use of force, which has led to an increase in use of force reports , did he declare. This provided more transparency, as well as an opportunity to work with agents and prevent similar conduct in the future. They also made internal changes to strengthen the disciplinary process, but Frey said refereeing issues continued to be a barrier to getting rid of problematic agents.
“If we’re really serious about culture change, we need to fix it,” he said.
Frey’s plan also focuses on recruiting; the police department is currently down by about a third of the officers. When asked if the downsizing has led to the recent increase in crime, Frey said attrition has had an impact, but other factors are also at play, including the pandemic. children not attending school or recreational activities; and lack of employment. Opportunities.
The city is also working on reopening the intersection where Floyd was arrested, known as George Floyd Square. Some activists and residents who serve as unofficial leaders in the square say they won’t agree to reopen it unless the city responds to a list of demands.
Frey said the place will remain focused on racial justice and healing, and that the city is working on long-term plans to commemorate Floyd’s legacy, including investing in black-owned businesses. But, he said, the region has also been affected by gun violence and the city needs to provide services.
“It’s a beautifully diverse community… It’s a community that deserves to feel safe,” he said.
After the anniversary of Floyd’s death, he said the city will move towards a gradual reopening and “safe and peaceful reconnection”.