Minneapolis political leaders prove once again that they see the Black community as fools. No one has been deceived by the weak apology and weak response by the mayor’s office and City Councilman Don Samuels to the misbehavior of Minneapolis police officers Thole and Powell in Green Bay recently.
In fact, I suspect that the fact that the leadership confined their comments to what they hope would happen is evidence of their cowardice and maybe even complicity. Yes, complicity.
At this hour in Minneapolis when it has become more than obvious that there is rogue force, or at least a culture in the Minneapolis police that believes it is above the law, what is needed is decisive leadership. Leadership should use the bully pulpit to not talk about waiting and seeing, but to say anyone who violates the rights of our citizens or commits crimes against them should be charged with a crime and/or fired from the force.
But who can blame the cops for their lawlessness? We have been practically begging Mike Freeman to do the right thing in the case of Terrance Franklin. Minneapolis police are laughing in our faces. Freeman has in the past steadfastly refused to find officers guilty of anything, not even a minor degree of excessive force. Yet the Minneapolis police have run around for years beating up people of color and disrespecting us with impunity.
Maybe they do have impunity. Has anyone noticed that when talking about the Terrance Franklin case officials talk not in terms of rendering justice, but about restoring confidence in the system? They say that because that’s their game. They don’t necessarily want the system to work for you, they want you to believe that it works and in the possibility that it is fair and does not discriminate.
But the reality is that the system is unfair and it is discriminatory and the only way for us to have confidence in the system is for it to do the right thing. In fact, I blame Mayor R. T. Rybak and the Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman for fostering a police culture that thinks that they are not just the enforcers of the law, but uniformed vigilantes. In other words, they see themselves as above the law.
Officers Thole and Powell were reported as saying that Green Bay was, “too ni**er friendly.” I deduct from that maybe the officers see their role in Minneapolis as making the city “ni**er unfriendly.” And that would make sense, because it would explain why casual traffic stops turn into butt whipping sessions.
It would explain why young Blacks are treated like cattle on weekends downtown. It would explain why unarmed suspects like Terrance Franklin, Fong Lee, Ahmed Giled, Tycell Nelson, Abuka Saunders and others wound up dead at the hands of Minneapolis police.
And since no one has ever been fired for beating on us and being abusive toward our community then it’s not much of stretch to say that maybe, just maybe this behavior has official sanction. The folks who run our country and who run this city badly want us to have confidence in the efficacy of their system, which we — or at least most of us — suspect as having a double standard.
So I say if I am wrong and the cops in Minneapolis are not carrying out the will of the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County then prove it. Fire someone for mistreating us. Charge someone with a crime and take them to court like you don’t hesitate to do with Black folks.
If not, be honest and tell us the truth. Tell us you don’t really care. Don’t send your police chief to us apologizing to us, because the only way an apology becomes real is if the behavior apologized for ceases. And the well-polished new chief should know that we aren’t buying it. Show us you are sorry. Or tell us that the system really doesn’t work and that we can expect the butt kicking to go uninterrupted and unpunished. And ask us what are we going to do about it.
We’re not crazy if someone in your charge (RT Rybak and the City Council) continues to do something wrong and you don’t correct it. It becomes obvious that they are not corrected because on some level you agree with the behavior.
You say I exaggerate! You say I am full of hyperbole! Then prove me wrong.
Let’s see if real punishment gets meted out for real brutality against our community. We can survive some of the name calling, but the breaking of bones is a real problem.
Confidence can only be restored by real action, not cowardly posturing.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to [email protected]
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