U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar blasted a judge for blocking a ballot measure aimed at disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department, claiming he was against “progress” and noting that she’s “pretty upset about it.”
During a town hall-style event Tuesday evening in the city, parts of which she represents, the Minnesota Democrat addressed the judge’s ruling regarding the initiative, which would replace the MPD with a new department of public safety.
“The leaders who are opposed to progress in this city are not nameless or faceless,” she said, arguing that the initiative if passed, would give city leaders additional “flexibility” in policing Minneapolis. “Using your network to obstruct the kind of progress so many people in this city want and were looking forward to is not something that should go unnoticed.”
“This ballot measure should be on the ballot,” she added. “As you can tell, I’m pretty upset about it.”
“We have people pouring in so much money to make us enslaved to a charter that the majority of us [oppose],” Omar went on “This is the opposite of what democracy should produce.
“The people had a vision for what they wanted, and there’s a judge, there’s a mayor, there is a police chief, and their monied friends who are telling us we can’t have a city that is flexible to our needs and to our demands. How else are we supposed to make progress if we can’t do that?” she asked.
Her complaints came on the heels of a ruling from Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson, who said the wording on Question 2, which was scheduled for the Nov. 2 ballot, was “unreasonable and misleading.”
The question asked voters to decide if they wanted to amend the Minneapolis charter to replace the police department with a Department of Public Safety “which could include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary, with administrative authority to be consistent with other city departments to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety.”
Omar said in an op-ed published Aug. 31 in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the measure would make communities safer while ending police misconduct.
“The truth is the current system hasn’t been serving our city for a long time. I have long said we need a public safety system that is actually rooted in people’s basic human needs,” she wrote.
Omar and others on the far left have been pushing to “defund” and disband the Minneapolis Police Department following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a former U.S. congressman, backs the measure as well.
“Fundamentally, communities across [Minneapolis] need & want the possibility for reform & accountability, which the current Charter blocks by locking us into an outdated model for law enforcement and safety. They want to end the cycle of inaction,” Ellison tweeted late last month.
Fundamentally, communities across Mpls need & want the possibility for reform & accountability, which the current Charter blocks by locking us into an outdated model for law enforcement and safety. They want to end the cycle of inaction.
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) August 31, 2021
Four former officers were fired from MPD and charged in relation to Floyd’s murder; one of them, Derek Chauvin, who was infamously seen in viral videos and photos pinning Floyd to the pavement with his knee for nearly nine minutes, has been convicted of murder and is serving a 22-and-a-half-year sentence. All four former officers — Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — pleaded not guilty to federal civil rights violations in connection with Floyd’s death on Wednesday.
Efforts to defund the department after Floyd’s murder stalled last summer as some city council members, as well as Mayor Jacob Frey, backed away from the defund effort. Also, in July, Judge Anderson ordered the city to hire more police officers in response to a lawsuit from residents who were complaining about a lack of protection from criminal activity.
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