Minneapolis anti-police proposal would endanger black lives
The city of Minneapolis is about to become the center of a gross experience.
On November 2, residents have the opportunity to vote on a draft charter amendment that would abolish the police service and replace it with a new “public security” agency.
The initiative aims to address “state-sanctioned violence” against “black lives” in the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death, according to supporters, the radical activist group Yes 4 Minneapolis. It would establish a “comprehensive public health approach to safety”, rather than the current “punitive” system. “Compassion, humanity and love” will be the new foundation of this progressive model, as Ilhan Omar poetically put it in a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial.
While these sentiments are well-meaning and appealing, they mask the dangers of overhauling an already crippled system.
The new public safety agency would rescind the city’s charter mandate requiring the police department to maintain a minimum staffing level, which is currently insufficient by more than 200 officers. Its commissioner is said to be appointed by the predominantly progressive city council – most of which promised to dismantle the police force last year. The proposal also states that the new agency “could include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary.”
While parts of the amendment are worth considering, such as mental health workers and social workers who handle non-violent 911 calls (working with police), most of the proposal is horribly vague. Moreover, such a radical and abolitionist approach by the police portends a disaster given the already unstable state of the city.
2020 was already the second deadliest year on record for the city. This year, homicides have increased by another 15%, and 2021 will beat or probably approach the record of 97 homicides in 1995, when the city was nicknamed “Murderopolis”. On the contrary, the city needs more cops who can proactively monitor neighborhoods to protect the public.
Former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Don Samuels, a Jamaican entrepreneur who made the American dream come true, saw with horror the escalation of violence in his adopted hometown.
“There were about 20 gunshots and gunshots in different places around my house in two hours,” he told me of a recent night.
Minneapolis’ ShotSpotter system recorded the sound of 8,382 shots through the end of September – more than double in the same period in 2019 (3,388) and still well above the record number of 2020 (7,115).
“Nightly gunshots leave their indelible marks in frequent reports of nearby deaths,” Samuels said. “Carjackings and thefts have taken their toll. Neighbors receive trauma therapy, take sedatives and send their traumatized children to relatives. And they sell their houses in tears.
Parts of Minneapolis are so ravaged by violence that community members have written a desperate letter to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, imploring the deployment of the National Guard to “stop the bleeding” in the city.
A recent poll sponsored by the Star Tribune found that supporters of the police reduction are overwhelmingly young, white and college graduates. Three-quarters of black voters polled oppose the reduction in the police force, compared with only half of whites. More whites (50%) than blacks (42%) support the complete replacement of the police service. But white voters make up two-thirds of Minneapolis residents, giving them more power over an issue that affects them less.
Over the past 18 months, the radical left’s ongoing war against the foundations of our society has met with increasing success. Police, standardized testing, due process and free speech are all under vigorous attack – and radical activists are winning. Meanwhile, those who are most vulnerable often pull the straw short.
Rav Arora specializes in the themes of race, music, literature and culture. His writings have also appeared in the Globe and Mail and the City Journal. Twitter: @ Ravarora1