BPR- Drew Lee:
On November 7, 2017, Jacob Frey won the mayoral race in Minneapolis, bolstered in large part by a strong push for police reform in the wake of the Justine Damond shooting by a Minneapolis police officer. He quickly appointed Medaria Arrandondo as chief and worked to institute new body camera policies, and restore some degree of trust between the department and the communities it serves. After decades of distrust, strained relations, and high profile scandals, even Frey’s detractors were willing to give him a clean slate and proceed with optimism.
Any progress that has been made since that election was torched last week, both literally and figuratively. The entire world has witnessed the destruction of one of America’s largest cities by opportunistic and organized criminals, and watched as they met little to no resistance as they destroyed police precincts, gas stations, supermarkets, banks, and libraries. On Friday morning, Mayor Frey told us that the mayhem was ‘unacceptable’ but on Friday night more buildings burned and more livelihoods were lost.
We all value our First Amendment right to protest, and rational people can certainly differentiate between genuine peaceful protestors and bad actors looking to take advantage of chaotic situations, but apparently Mayor Frey didn’t trust law enforcement to be able to make those distinctions when he instructed the police to treat the protests with a gentle hand. It became abundantly clear by Wednesday night that there were scores of people who weren’t interested in fighting for justice for George Floyd but rather seemed intent on causing destruction and mayhem for reasons that are difficult to comprehend. Mayor Frey had a choice to make at that moment – enforce the laws while making every effort to protect the real protestors, or become an enabler to the destruction of his city. read more