Wrong Approach

I stayed up last night, unwilling to be torn from my Twitter feed, watching the situation unfold with the Black Lives Matter protests outside Minneapolis' 4th Precinct. I was amazed at the bravery and persistence of the protesters, and it takes some special kind of guts for CM Lisa Bender to say to an officer "If you want to shoot someone, shoot me."

I am all for supporting those who enforce our laws, but I think the police are wrong here, for any number of reasons.

But the main reason I think that this is a major error on the part of the MPD is because, for as long as I can remember, the police force has said that the Northside and that precinct is especially difficult to address, that they are doing the best that they can, but that its simply impossible to keep order there.

And now they are actively fighting against — assaulting with mace and rubber bullets — the very people who are proving that they give a damn about that community and their city and are willing to fight to make things better. Imagine if we had a police that was smart enough and cared enough to engage these people to work better to make improvements. But instead, the alienation and hurt that they are actively fostering will take years, if not generations, to heal.

It's a mistake of enormous proportions by those who are supposed to be our leaders and protectors, and I grieve for that.


Ann McGinn said…
What don't we know? We don't yet know all the facts in this situation. There's plenty of rumor and innuendo, but not enough facts. Personally, I'm not ready to form a firm opinion without more clarity.

I support peaceful protests. But I think there's more to it than just objecting about what may or may not have happened. That's not my idea. I got it from activist Spike Moss, who also questions what happened. He followed up in a MINNPOST article.

"He said, regarding the Black Lives Matter protests: "[Spike] Moss is well aware of both the value and pitfalls of being provocative. And as he watches a new generation of black leaders behind the Black Lives Matter movement, he’s perplexed.

'I don’t see the agenda,' Moss said. 'An agenda is more than just laying down in a street somewhere. You have to have something to take to the powers that be. I don’t see them (Black Lives Matter leaders) talking to the black ministers. It sometimes seems like they really don’t want anything to do with the black community.'

It’s another organization, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, that is more impressive to Moss. (The group — a coalition of labor, community and faith organizations — is pushing for a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis.)

'These are kids that are standing up for a minimum wage' said. 'That is focused. That matters in the black community.'"

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