Right now, we are asking our police to do too much. We ask them to be social workers and crisis counselors and everything in between. The result is that the police are not effective and Minneapolis residents are not connected, supported, or safe. Safety is most effective when it comes from the community and when we make sure everyone’s needs are met. When we do that, we can live in a community where we achieve public safety without police. I know we’re not going to achieve this vision overnight, we need to be thoughtful and take steps forward that are both compassionate and evidence-based.
● We need to make the structural changes necessary to approach and fund public safety from the most holistic lens possible. I support the ongoing community-led Yes for Minneapolis campaign to change our charter and replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.
○ I support the community- and survivor-led petition for establishing community control through a Civilian Police Accountability Commission to hold Minneapolis’ public safety department accountable.
● Minneapolis must implement a comprehensive strategy for 911 dispatch to ensure that appropriate frontline responders show up when people need help. When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, an armed officer is likely to escalate the situation. Most 911 calls do not require an armed law enforcement response.
● I support demilitarizing Minneapolis Police Department methods and training, including banning police use of chemical irritants and sonic weapons, and forbidding the purchase of surplus military vehicles and weapons.
● Minneapolis must refuse to negotiate a police contract that allows the power of the police union to remain unchecked
Additionally, the following policies are crucial to building strong, healthy, and safe communities for all Minneapolis residents:
● We need to fully fund the social services and city programs that address safety holistically. We need to invest in data-driven, public health centered programs with preventative methodologies to address the root causes of crime. That looks like making sure people have a safe, dignified, and affordable place to live, an easy and accessible way to get to and from work, and are treated with dignity and respect in their workplace.
● The opioid epidemic disproportionately impacts non-white residents, especially Indigenous folks. We must adopt a Health in All Policies approach that considers the public health implications of every city policy and program. We need to combat the opioid epidemic by advocating for needle exchanges and safe use sites.
● To build a safe city, we must ensure all our workers are safe in their workplaces too. We must increase funding for enforcement of wage theft and earned sick and safe time violations; implement harsher penalties and greater enforcement and dedicated staff to investigate labor trafficking violations; and decriminalize sex work in Minneapolis by implementing a moratorium on arrests, raids, and prosecutions for prostitution-related offenses and directing the city attorney to dismiss pending criminal prostitution charges.
● To appropriately respond to the homelessness crisis in Minneapolis, we must take urgent action to immediately stop city resources from being used to evict and remove encampments; fund the use of hotel rooms, vacant units, and permanent housing at a level that meets the need of housing insecurity in the city; fund programs that provide support to LGBTQIA+ unhoused youth and adults, who experience homelessness at significantly higher rates than the general population.
For too long people have been given empty promises about police reform, and we are understandably dismayed and even outraged. I am not someone who has been building a political resume. I am someone fed up with political platitudes rather than serious plans and thoughtful analysis. I am running to make a difference in our urgent need to reform our public safety system using my training and experience in consensus-building, institution-building, and legal analysis.
First, there is a roadmap for comprehensive public safety reform that addresses all the multiple levels of policing that happen in our city — county sheriff’s officers, state highway patrol, federal marshals, and municipal police. This roadmap was created by a panel of experts known as the Working Group on Deadly Encounters With Police, and their 28 recommendations were released in February 2020. We need to use it as a starting point.
Next we need to make forward movement on our municipal policing reforms by removing the primary stumbling block for reform: the union contract. We do this by approaching the new union leadership and offering them a reset, or in the absence of change we partner with groups like the NAACP and ACLU and use reports from ongoing investigations into our police department to sue them. This was how Cincinnati, Ohio, successfully implemented reforms that resulted in a 70% decrease in the use of force and a decrease in crime.
Finally, we need to begin the work that was promised but denied us in order to restore our community by having inclusive, citywide conversations among our diverse communities about policing and public safety. I propose we do this precinct-by-precinct so that people can speak for themselves rather than being spoken for or about, and we can begin to heal as communities and as a city. In the process, we will work to discover what kinds of hyperlocal strategies and programs make sense because not all parts of our city have experienced policing and violence in the same ways.
As the Ward 10 City Council member my principle of transformation will be restorative justice, which means radical inclusion of all of us, and creating accountability systems that recognize the essential dignity of all of us.
Safety is a Right for all, and the number one priority of government is to provide for the protection of the people within its borders. We can have the best parks, bike lanes, transit system, etc, but none of that means anything if residents, visitors, and businesses are not protected and do not feel safe.
Just as city leaders must work to ensure the safety of the public, we must also insist that the policing is done in a way that is humane, respects the dignity of all people, and puts the protection of life and liberty first and foremost. When we fail to do this the consequences are severe and painful as has been shown time and again in Minneapolis and elsewhere throughout our nation. The reasons for this are many and so must be the ways that we address it.
As your member of City Council I will enhance public safety by:
Providing public safety is more than just law enforcement. It’s ensuring people’s basic needs are met, building community trust, and having a system that renders aid and justice in a restorative way. The City of Minneapolis is currently not delivering on those basic needs which is why I will work to expand our public safety toolbox to include prevention through housing, jobs, & having more eyes on the street.