In a 10-5 vote, the Minneapolis Charter Commission voted down the Minneapolis City Council’s proposed amendment to the Minneapolis Charter. The Charter acts as the City’s constitution. This is a major setback to the Far-Left DFL activists on the Minneapolis City Council.

Charter Commissioner Andrew Kozak is quoted as saying “We have an obligation to make sure that what is going on the ballot gives the voters an informed choice, that they can make a decision in a thoughtful way.” TRANSLATION: Don’t send us a half-baked idea, then expect us to iron out the details on something this important.

The City Council’s ‘plan’ wasn’t put together with any thoughtfulness. It was a reaction to a horrific incident that wasn’t thought through. The Commission took its responsibilities seriously. The City Council didn’t take their responsibilities seriously. If they’re going to transform the Minneapolis Police Department, it’s the Council’s responsibility to put together a detailed plan filled with specific goals and timetables.

Sophia Benrud, an organizer with the Black Visions Collective, issued this statement:

People in Minneapolis have been in the streets for months demanding change, only to hear from the Charter Commission that there haven’t been enough studies and consultants. When white supremacy is the law of the land, it is a luxury to say we need ‘more time’ before we can make change. Every single voter should have had the chance to vote on this amendment in 2020.

That’s sour grapes and unworthy of further comment. This tells the story:

As part of a last-ditch effort to send the proposal over the hurdle, a group of City Council members sent the commissioners a letter Wednesday assuring them that they “expect the transformed system to include law enforcement as part of a multifaceted approach to public safety.”

“The Minneapolis City Council is not asking you to put police abolition on the ballot, nor does the amendment propose this,” they wrote. “We are asking you to let Minneapolis vote on a new framework for public safety that aligns with the State of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety.”

In impassioned public hearings and a deluge of written comments in recent weeks, some urged the charter commissioners to wield their powers of review to prevent what they believe is a dangerously vague proposal from heading to voters.

Lisa Bender chimed in with this:

“We’ve had an unprecedented outpouring of demand for change, demand for justice, unprecedented involvement from folks who are getting engaged in city government for the first time and I don’t want people to feel too discouraged. I’m disappointed and I share the disappointment that I’m sure people are feeling, but we have more ways to move forward as we continue to build this work.”

Jeremiah Ellison added this:

We’re going to keep pursuing that transformative change. I think that at some point, changing the charter is going to have to be a part of that.

The need for change is indisputable. Dismantling the MPD isn’t the right change. Professionalizing the MPD is required, though. That won’t happen without additional support from the Council and additional training. The MPD has had a reputation for not being a professional police force for years. What’s required isn’t a charter change. What’s required is a commitment change from the politicians.

2 Responses to “Minneapolis Charter Commission votes down charter amendment”

  • eric z says:

    Saying, “Professionalizing the MPD is required,” suggests you concede insufficient professionalization at present. I wonder if that is so or if you condensed thinking into too tight a phrase. Then, do you wish to comment on whether Bob Kroll is an enhancement or impediment to greater professionalism?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, the biggest impediment to professionalizing law enforcement is Democrat politicians politicizing policing. If I’m a police officer & there’s a strong chance I’ll be criticized by a politician for something I do, then I’ll play it safe & mop up after the crime. The citizens get hurt but the officer keeps his job. If grandstanding politicians stop playing to their activist base, policing will improve significantly virtually immediately. Further, spending more money on training & proper staffing won’t stretch forces too thin.

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