Minneapolis Voters Could Change How The City Approaches Public Safety

Last year after George Floyd’s murder, community organizers spurred a national conversation on the role of policing and public safety. The collective outrage and sustained protests led to democracy in action.

In Tuesday’s election, Minneapolis voters have a chance to change the way the city handles public safety.  Organizers like Miski Noor want voters to embrace the opportunity to change how the city deals with public safety and vote in favor of the public safety amendment known as Question 2. Noor, an organizer with Black Visions, spoke with NewsOne over the weekend in between get out the vote events. Reflecting on the energy of early voters in line to cast their ballots Saturday, Noor says Minneapolis has been waiting for this change.

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Minneapolis Is About To Vote On Whether To Dismantle The Police

It was a cool Friday in Minneapolis, made cooler by the shadows of the skyscrapers towering over People’s Plaza. In the brick-lined courtyard between the Hennepin County Government Center and Minneapolis City Hall on September 17, the Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign and its allies held a rally whose purpose had come undone the day before.

Yes 4 Minneapolis is working to amend the Minneapolis City Charter by removing a mandate for a mayor-controlled police department with a certain number of officers per resident (0.0017, to be exact). In its place, the amendment establishes a Department of Public Safety under the joint control of the mayor and the 13-member Minneapolis City Council.

The radical restructuring would allow for future revisions.

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High Rise Window Cleaners Enter Second Week Of Strike

In Minnesota, a strike by unionized high rise window cleaners at two companies has entered its second week — an example of the tensions growing across the country as workers seek to collect on promises that employers made to them before the pandemic.

Around 40 cleaners are on strike, representing about half of the city’s entire work force in the specialized industry. They are members of SEIU Local 26, a vocal and politically active union with 8,000 members in the Twin Cities. Though the window cleaners are few in number, they have been able to generate outsized attention locally thanks to the union’s well-honed ability to pull off visible strikes in and around Minneapolis.

Since the beginning of last week, the workers have rallied and held picket lines at major buildings in downtown Minneapolis and at the city’s airport, where some of them have worked cleaning handrails, walkways and glass.

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Driver Plows Into Protesters In Uptown Minneapolis

One person was killed and three injured Sunday night after the driver of an SUV drove into a crowd of protesters in the Uptown area of Minneapolis, near the site where Winston Smith was shot by sheriff’s deputies earlier this month.

A witness said the eastbound SUV was moving at a high rate of speed as it approached just before midnight, and that the driver appeared to accelerate as they got closer to demonstrators who had blocked off Lake Street near Girard Avenue.

The driver struck a vehicle parked across one of the traffic lanes on Lake Street, apparently positioned to protect the crowd. That second vehicle then hit people.

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Aerial Surveillance In Twin Cities Frustrates, Alarms Residents

When protests broke out several weeks ago in a Minneapolis, Minnesota suburb over the police killing of Daunte Wright, tensions were already high thanks to the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer found guilty of murdering George Floyd. State and local authorities were ready for the unrest — and so were their federal partners. Armored vehicles and soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard became a symbol of the militarized crackdown.

Other less visible federal forces were also at work. Thousands of feet overhead, Department of Homeland Security surveillance planes and helicopters circled Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and surrounding areas, according to Air Traffic Control records and flight data.

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‘Justice Looks Like Abolition’

On Tuesday, April 20, jurors in Minnesota found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges brought forward for the death of George Floyd: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin’s bail was also immediately revoked and he was taken into custody after the verdict was read. 

The guilty verdicts represent a strong departure from the legal norm: between 2005 and 2019, only four police officers had been found guilty of murder in the United States, while an estimated 1,000 people have been shot and killed by cops every year since 2015. A breakdown of that five year study by the Washington Post shows that Black Americans were killed by police at more than double the rate of white people. 

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When Will Minneapolis Start Listening To The Whole Community?

Minneapolis didn’t get here alone. The actions and decisions of many people created the challenges facing the city. Solving them will require the work of many people, too.

But before anything changes, people need to start listening to each other.

Imagine if Derek Chauvin had listened to George Floyd and let him breathe. A 46-year-old man and father of five would not have died. Minneapolis would not have burned. The city would not have had over $1 billion in damage. And communities would not have had to deal with the fallout of the most expensive civil disorder in U.S. history.

After Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, the site of his death turned into a memorial to honor Floyd’s life.

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Another Man Of Color Was Murdered By Police Outside Of Minneapolis

(April 11, 2021) – This afternoon, Daunte Wright was killed by a police officer and then left lying in the streets for hours in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis. Wright, age 20, was in his own car when he was stopped by police. A few minutes later, the officer shot and killed him, just a few miles from where Derek Chauvin choked George Floyd to death. This is but the latest in a long and violent string of murders of people of color — specifically Black men — by the cops. 

Protesters gathered almost immediately to express their rage both at the murder of Wright and at the ongoing problems of racist police violence. The cops responded aggressively, arriving in riot gear and shooting rubber bullets into the crowd, injuring at least one protester.

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Reforming An Uprising, But Not The Police

As the Derek Chauvin trial continues, Minneapolis residents witness the militarization of their city. Fearful of another uprising, terrified lawmakers have erected barricades and razor wire fences around the Government Center, City Hall, and police stations. The fortification is estimated to cost $645,000. Additionally, law enforcement has been using surveillance planes to look for signs of unrest. After backlash from community members, Minneapolis officials dropped their plan to hire social media influencers to share state-sanctioned messaging about the Chauvin trial.

On March 12, 2021 — as the jury selection was underway — the City of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to George Floyd’s family to settle a wrongful death lawsuit, raising concerns from Judge Cahill and Chauvin’s defense attorney that the jury might be swayed against Chauvin.

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Why Are Cops Testifying Against Derek Chauvin?

You could join liberals in celebrating the members of the Minneapolis police force who have testified for the prosecution in the Derek Chauvin murder trial in the past two days, or you could see right through it to what they’re really up to.

On Thursday, a retired Minneapolis police officer who was a shift supervisor when Chauvin murdered George Floyd and received a call about the arrest from a concerned 911 dispatcher, became the first cop to desert Chauvin on the stand. Sgt. David Ploeger said that once Floyd was no longer offering any resistance, the cops “could’ve ended the restraint.” And he also revealed to jurors that Chauvin did not immediately admit to him that he’d put his knee on Floyd’s neck.

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Brothers EMpowered Is Building That Village We All Need to Thrive

Charles Caine has a dream. Just like Martin Luther King understood civil rights include economic rights, Caine wants to give all people an opportunity to prosper. That mission starts with his two sons (ages 16 and 13) and the other youth he mentors in North Minneapolis as the president and executive director of Brothers EMpowered. 

Caine founded the community mentorship organization in 2014 to help men of color overcome the barriers in their lives and the lives in their communities. His inspiration came from years of struggling as a young Black man in urban America. After overcoming many challenges and barriers in his life, from gang violence to chemical dependency, the turning point came when he became a father.

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Black Lives Matter And Blue Lives Matter At Center Of Jury Questionnaire

Minneapolis, MN – The trial for the cop charged with George Floyd’s murder is gearing up to be the biggest trial of the decade. For Minnesota, it’s the first fully televised criminal trial ever; the state typically doesn’t allow cameras in court.

As jury selection ensues live on television and social media, we’re all getting an instant look at random survey results of the general public’s views on social issues, something that was intentionally designed by the prosecution and defense. 

The jury questionnaire, broken up into six parts, includes a total of 69 questions. Two of them have provided a center basis for the questioning: “How favorable or unfavorable are you about Black Lives Matter” and “How favorable or unfavorable are you about Blue Lives Matter.”

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Minneapolis Promised Change After George Floyd

The George Floyd uprising that began in Minneapolis introduced the demand of defunding the police to the general public, empowered Black-led anti-police violence movements across the planet, generated policy changes in cities across the US, and most importantly built new organizations which have the capacity to fight for systemic change for the long haul. The uprising brought a lot of reforms and positive developments to its birth city, too, including a move to actually defund the Minneapolis police department and redistribute funds to services with a larger potential for eradicating both crime and poverty. Now, however, the Minneapolis and Minnesota governments are in the process of undoing that progress and moving in the opposite direction.

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Hundreds Protest On The Eve Of Derek Chauvin’s Trial

A day before jury selection in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis calling for justice and police reform.

Hundreds of people marched Sunday from Hennepin County Government Center through downtown Minneapolis, at one point stopping at an intersection to read the names of more than 400 people killed by police in the state of Minnesota. Organizers for the event, “I Can’t Breathe” Silent March for Justice, asked people to wear black and bring flowers and signs.

Civil rights attorney and activist Nekima Levy Armstrong, who read the names of those killed by police, asked a group of volunteers to carry a white coffin that a member of the community had made to remind everyone that George Floyd was “lynched” on May 25 of last year.

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First Trial For The Police Murder Of George Floyd Opens

The opening of the trial of Derek Chauvin, one of the four former Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers charged in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, was delayed for at least a day Monday after Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill postponed jury selection as an appellate court reviews the possible reinstatement of a lesser third-degree murder charge dropped last fall.

Currently, Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter for his actions last May. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while he was handcuffed and pinned to the pavement by two other officers. Legal experts suggest a third-degree murder charge would be easier for the prosecution to prove.

Minnesota law defines third-degree murder as “without intent to effect the death of any person, causing the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.”

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