“Refund police.” This is the most inventive tagline Joe Biden and Democrats were able to come up with in response to the demands that arose from the rebellion in Minneapolis two years ago in summer 2020, after George Floyd became the latest casualty of the Minneapolis Police Department’s relentless war against Black people.
That summer’s uprisings drew more than 20 million people into the streets, all across the country. That energy spread across the oceans; millions of people felt it in the midst pandemic, in which politicians, billionaires, and vulnerable communities suffered wildly disproportionate amounts of illness and deaths.
Since then, we have witnessed the Democratic Party’s inability protect the people who elected them. The Democratic Party controls both the Senate and House of Representatives, but they refuse to pass any measures that would improve the living conditions of our neighbors and families. There is no executive order, consent decree, nor any other incremental reform that can turn the tide against the violent nature police work. Our communities need bold action and not piecemeal offers that continue to support the current system that results in violence and death.
Minneapolis has seen the same rehashed reforms and lackluster government action, as well as increased attacks on our communities. Instead of being transparent with their constituents Mayor Jacob Frey has increased the rhetoric and policies that have caused so many pain and violence within our communities.
Mayor Frey falsely claimed that no-knock warrants were banned — but we know they were not because yet another Black man, Amir Locke, was murdered by Minneapolis police in February after a no-knock warrant.
The April report by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights on the Minneapolis Police Department shows how trustworthily the police can be trusted. State prosecutors stated in it that they have had to turn down body cam footage from police officers many times due to the poor conduct of police officers. In other words, they don’t want to use the footage because it makes the police look bad, which undermines the prosecutors’ cases.
We have seen many former and current city employees speak out about how the Minneapolis Race and Equity Department was used to deflect any real criticism from the mayor. Staff in this department were also tokenized and denied the power to make the changes that community members have demanded for years. In an opinion article for the MinnPost, former City of Minneapolis Race and Equity Director Joy Marsh Stephens wrote, “this isn’t the first time we’ve seen leadership in the city be dismissive in the face of documented harm against BIPOC and allied white employees when it comes to racial equity. This is white supremacy at its best. It is why under four city coordinators and two mayors in my six years at the city, the culture didn’t change. It is why I heard countless stories from others in the workforce about similar experiences in their departments and pre-dating my time at the city.” These stories further illustrate the city’s dogmatic resistance to change, and how efforts for change are undermined inside of city government.
We don’t need more examples of why police or policing cannot be trusted. They are the antithesis of safety. Frey and the police cannot be trusted. We must also be aware of the disinformation and lies they tell to keep their power and maintain the status quo.
When so many people in our community feel more vulnerable, the dishonesty displayed by Minneapolis Police and other law enforcement across the country is particularly troubling. As we learn more about the response of police in recent mass shootings and the disinformation from law enforcement that followed in Uvalde, Texas, more and more people are realizing that the police don’t keep our coSafe mmunities
RealSocietyTransformation Visionary requirements are necessary Demands that are capable of expanding people’s imaginations and which make space for a diverse array of strategies and approaches. It is this imaginative engagement that our citizens want and deserve, rather than federal and local representations that misleads and refuses to implement life-affirming policies. Without a vision that engages our people’s imaginations and brilliance, there will be no path to victory for the left. We need radical and revolutionary demands to make the world more just.
We must collectively demand that we tell and hold the truths about the state’s failures in communities of color, the exploiting of the planet, and the betrayal of our future. We must demand that we have systems of care, accountability, and support for our environment and life over the long-term. And above all, we must demand and fight for power — the power to keep our communities whole, to keep our families thriving, to define our existences and to decide our lives.
We must also reject Neoliberalism, which forces us to believe that every solution is good.Instant gratification. This is a lie. Real transformation requires patience, time, relationships, organizing, and patience. Transformation of ourselves, others, and the world is possible, but only when we stay present, connected, visioning forward with each other; we must acknowledge that we are engaged in a centuries-long battle to get rid of harmful systems and build ones that value life.
Last year, 62,000 of our neighbors visited us. Voted #YesOn2, the ballot initiative which would have created a Department of Public Safety, and removed the Minneapolis Police Department from our city’s charter. They did this by Voted to reimagine safety; thousands more marched to protest racist police violence. Every day, more people realize that the safety and security systems they were told to use are more harmful than beneficial.
The Minneapolis Police Department doesn’t keep us safe. The Minneapolis Police Department doesn’t use their nearly $200 million budget to help sustain healthy community dynamics that prevent Violence. Their bloated budgets, and tired tactics, actually take resources from Minneapolis residents who know how take care of one another. To make positive changes in the lives of our citizens, we must build bridges and keep connected. The political establishment wants us all to be hostile to each other, while ignoring the fact that the solution to systemic poverty and community harm and gun violence lies with the Minneapolis residents. We don’t have to throw some of our neighbors away — sending them into the grips of policing and prisons — to create a perception of safety for others.
Real justice will not be achieved by executive orders, consent decrees, or any other reform; we need bold and creative action that engages the public’s imaginations and retains their involvement for the long run.It is the foundation of our collective future.