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Minneapolis Legislative Delegation issues letter to Governor Tim Walz

Monday, April 19, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – This evening, the Minneapolis Legislative delegation issued the following letter to Governor Walz in response to Operation Safety Net:

“Thank you for meeting with us to hear our concerns yesterday. We, the Minneapolis Legislative delegation, share our community’s anguish and outrage over the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of law enforcement, and the continual cycle of violence perpetrated by our policing system. All people, without exception, deserve safety. Minneapolis has experienced unimaginable trauma in the past year compounded by the nearing conclusion of the Chauvin Trial. 

People of color, especially Black, Brown and Indigenous people are disproportionately impacted by police violence. The violence that law enforcement inflicted on community members attempting to grieve publicly and protest state violence in Brooklyn Center as a part of Operation Safety Net was wrong, just as it was in Minneapolis after police killed George Floyd. Escalation of force does not make the people and communities we serve safer. It is unacceptable that law enforcement officers from the Minnesota State Patrol, Hennepin County, Brooklyn Center Police Department, and other jurisdictions have continually used tactics and approaches that escalate the situation with peaceful protestors. Chemical gas and less-lethal weapons have also been used on our neighbors, including members of the press, violating the First Amendment and a federal temporary restraining order protecting members of the media. As elected leaders, we stand with our communities who are hurting and crying out for justice.

As we move into a week that will see the beginning of jury deliberations in the trial of Derek Chauvin we call on the Minneapolis police department and their cross-jurisdictional partners to exercise compassion and restraint in the coming days. The way that law enforcement handled the first hours and days of community grieving for George Floyd and Daunte Wright was unnecessarily harsh, escalatory, and disproportionate. The extensive use of chemical munitions and less-lethal rounds during those critical first nights, last week and last year, set the tone for the days to come. We saw over the last week that when law enforcement and the National Guard allowed people the space to exercise their constitutional right to protest, without escalation or provocation, there was significantly less violence and injury. 

As the elected representatives of Minneapolis residents, we call on the leaders of Operation Safety Net to re-evaluate their tactics and maintain as paramount the First Amendment rights of protestors and the media. 

We expect that police engage the community with dignity, respect, and care. We ask that local authorities not authorize any use of chemical or less-lethal munitions on crowds of protestors. We are also deeply concerned about the addition of officers from out of state and ask the city and their cross jurisdictional partners to end this escalation of force and cycle of violence. Finally, the public deserves full accountability and transparency in the decision-making processes of OSN and future responses to protests against police violence.  

We appreciate your willingness to meet with us, and we share your commitment to safety and justice for all Minnesotans. The city, county, and state have the power to protect the security and rights of all our neighbors and do it in a way that reduces trauma and ends the violence against our communities. The world is watching.”

The Minneapolis Legislative delegation consists of Chair. Sydney Jordan, Rep. Aisha Gomez , Rep. Jamie Long, Rep. Frank Hornstein, Rep. Mohamud Noor, Rep. Esther Agbaje, Rep. Hodan Hassan, Rep. Emma Greenman, Rep. Jim Davnie, Sen. Kari Dziedzic, Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, Sen. Omar Fateh, Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, Sen. Scott D. Dibble