Minneapolis responds to New York Times writer’s claim about ‘dystopian ghost town’


Normally when we write about the New York Times missing the mark on Minnesota, it’s something fun, like the grape salad or the Jucy Lucy. The latter … well, take a look.

It comes from a column written by Thomas Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who was born in minneapolis and grew up in St. Louis Park, but now lives in Bethesda, Maryland. The article, published Tuesday, focuses on rising crime levels and the political consequences (as well as opportunism) surrounding this outbreak.

Here is the passage that really catches the eye in Minneapolis:

“For example, large swathes of my old hometown, Minneapolis, have been turned into a dangerous, dystopian ghost town, rocked by gun violence, since the police murder of George Floyd, a murder that revealed two truths to people. For all to see: this racism in the metropolitan police force is real and appalling and requires many remedies, but also that rushing to fund or dismantle the police force without a carefully considered plan is not one of them.

The fundraising battle cry initially guided the super-progressive Minneapolis City Council, and it has shrunk and demoralized the police force, leaving behind a department that is often unable or unwilling to risk becoming embroiled in any kind of confrontation. . “

Minneapolis a… dangerous and dystopian ghost town? This Minneapolis?

Friedman attributes part of the blame for this hellish landscape to a “rush” to “fund” the police, citing figures from the Star Tribune which show that 200 fewer police officers in the city’s police department are now due to “retirements. , resignations and medical care “. leaves. “

But has the city’s police department really been “defined”?

The 2021 city budget approved by the mayor and city council allocated $ 176 million to the Minneapolis Police Department. About $ 8 million of this is specifically for the creation of mental health crisis response teams and violence prevention programs.

This is indeed down from the $ 193 million MPD received in 2020 – but the 2021 budget included cuts in all major departments, with the city taking a significant income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But city council members approved funding for two new recruiting classes in 2021, and allowed the police department to maintain its same number of licensed police officers (up to 888), rather than reducing the size of the force to 750 as some council members had suggested.

Also, the tip last week approved additional funding of $ 5 million for MPD to cover overtime worked during the past year.

Efforts were made last year to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Community Safety and Violence Prevention Department that would retain police officers, but focus them on serious crime while taking a “holistic” approach. “broader violence prevention, such as mental health support and social programs. .

It failed to appear on the ballot as a referendum question in 2020. Efforts to get a ballot question were renewed in 2021, but the council’s new proposal would still maintain the city’s police department. , although removing minimum staffing levels and giving the board more oversight. A competing proposal would see the creation of a public security service similar to what was proposed last year.

Is violent crime on the rise in Minneapolis?

Yes. There has been a particularly depressing wave of gun violence, including the tragic deaths of three children by stray bullets in May, two of whom died.

But it’s not a problem unique to Minneapolis, so singling it out in this way could be interpreted as unfair, even though it was at the epicenter of last year’s civil unrest sparked by the murder of George Floyd by the police.

Violent crime has increased everywhere else in America since the start of the pandemic, the states with the highest murder rates are mostly located in the south.

And these increases are happening not only in cities that are run by Democrats or have cut funding for police, but also in cities run by Republicans or those that have invested more money in the police, according to the Associated Press.

On top of all that, take a look at the housing market. Few people want to leave town, and buyers are fighting over a tiny amount of inventory, paying historically high prices for basic homes.

A median sale price of $ 350,000 for living in a “dangerous and dystopian ghost town”?

Either way, Minneapolis Twitter naturally returns to Friedman’s claims.

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