The Charter Commission should do the right thing for the city of Minneapolis and reject the proposed amendment from the City Council to dismantle the Police Department.
Last year I moved from the suburbs to downtown. I wanted to be able to walk to work and to enjoy the entertainment district, the sports, concerts, theaters, museums and restaurants, etc. Within a few weeks I wondered whether I had made a mistake.
The summer of 2019 saw an uptick in crime all over Minneapolis, particularly in the downtown zone within a few blocks of my residence. Shootings, homicides and attacks by gangs of youths beating people were captured on widely distributed videos that made national news.
I felt relieved when Police Chief Medaria Arradondo asked for additional officers — and dejected when the City Council gave him a fraction.
In recent weeks, my walks home have become so dangerous that my co-workers give me rides. Fireworks, drag racing and vehicular doughnuts on Hennepin Avenue are the norm at all hours of the night. Shootings, robberies and carjackings have skyrocketed.
The Park and Recreation Board overseeing the No. 1 park system in the nation has given its stamp of approval for tent cities, including one just a few blocks from me.
The president of the City Council said on national television that calling 911 and expecting help might mean I come from a “place of privilege.” I thought my right to public safety came from the $4,600 a year I pay in property taxes. Apparently, that right to safety is only afforded to City Council members who are in the process of defunding the police while at the same time so in fear for their own safety they have hired private security on the taxpayer’s dime.
I can think of many families in north Minneapolis that wish they also could take advantage of personal security.
The Minneapolis Police Department was already overworked and underfunded, yet members of our “progressive” City Council have very publicly proclaimed that they wish to defund and dismantle the force. They made this commitment based on input from a select few groups with a clear agenda against law enforcement, yet they claim this is what the entire community wants to see happen.
They imagine a utopian society where community members respond to crime, leaving only a skeleton police force to deal with the most violent crimes. This announcement was made without a concrete plan and is being rushed onto the November ballot.
It is absolute mayhem here with the City Council publicly denouncing the police while handing the keys to the city to the criminals. I implore you to spend any night listening to the police scanner to understand the state of our city. The media reports only a fraction of what is happening.
I acknowledge the voices asking for change within the MPD. But fewer officers on the street will only cause the crime crisis to escalate. Businesses, restaurants and citizens will leave Minneapolis, only further eroding our tax base. Minneapolis will no longer be a dynamic city known for hosting large-scale events such as Super Bowl, Final Four, X Games and various conventions.
Minneapolis will be known as a social experiment gone bad.
Brandi Bennett lives in Minneapolis.