The city of Minneapolis is about to become the center of a crude experiment.
On Nov. 2, residents get a chance to vote on a proposed charter amendment that would abolish the police department and replace it with a new “public safety” agency.
The initiative aims to remedy “state-sanctioned violence” against “Black lives” in the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death, according to its proponents, the radical activist group Yes 4 Minneapolis. It would establish a “comprehensive public health approach to safety,” rather than the current “punitive” system. “Compassion, humanity and love” will be the new foundation of this progressive model, as Ilhan Omar poetically opined in a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune op-ed.
While these sentiments are well-intentioned and appealing, they obscure the dangers of overhauling an already hamstrung system.
The new public safety agency would strike down the city charter’s mandate requiring the police department to maintain a minimum staffing level, which is currently deficient by more than 200 officers. Its commissioner would be appointed by the overwhelmingly progressive city council — most of whom vowed to dismantle the police force last year. The proposal also states that the new agency “could include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary.”
While parts of the amendment are worth considering, such as mental health responders and social workers handling nonviolent 911 calls (in collaboration with the police), most of the proposition is horribly vague. What’s more, such a radical, abolitionist approach to the police portends disaster given the already volatile state of the city.
2020 was already the city’s second-deadliest year on record. This year, homicides have surged another 15 percent, and 2021 will likely beat or approach the 1995 record of 97 homicides, when the city was dubbed “Murderopolis.” If anything, the city needs more cops who can proactively police neighborhoods to protect the public.
Former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Don Samuels, an entrepreneur from Jamaica who achieved the American dream, has watched in horror as the violence has escalated in his adopted hometown.
“There were like 20 shootings and shots fired in different locations around my house in two hours,” he told me of one recent night.
Minneapolis’ ShotSpotter system recorded the sound of 8,382 gunshots through the end of September — more than double in the same time period in 2019 (3,388) and still well over the record-breaking number in 2020 (7,115).
“The nightly gunfire leaves their indelible marks in frequent reports of deaths nearby,” Samuels said. “Carjackings and robberies have taken their toll. Neighbors are getting trauma therapy, taking sedatives and shipping off their traumatized children to relatives. And they are selling their homes in tears.”
Parts of Minneapolis are so ravaged by violence, community members wrote a desperate letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, begging for the deployment of the National Guard to “stop the bleeding” in the city.
A recent poll sponsored by the Star Tribune reveals that supporters of reducing the police are overwhelmingly young, white and college-educated. Three-quarters of surveyed black voters oppose reducing the police force, compared to just half of whites. More whites (50 percent) than blacks (42 percent) support the complete replacement of the police department. But white voters make up two-thirds of Minneapolis residents, giving them more power on an issue that affects them less.
Over the past 18 months, the radical left’s ongoing war against the foundations of our society has become increasingly successful. The police, standardized tests, due process and free speech are all under vigorous attack — and the radical activists are winning. Meanwhile, those who are most vulnerable are frequently drawing the short straw.
Rav Arora specializes in topics of race, music, literature and culture. His writing has also been featured in The Globe and Mail and City Journal. Twitter: @Ravarora1
Credit: Source link