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Minnesota: TCC4J Statement on May 30 shooting in the Whittier neighborhood, Minneapolis

By staff

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice.

Three people were killed, and four others were injured, including a firefighter, on Thursday night in South Minneapolis. Most politicians and mainstream media have focused their statements and headlines on the death of MPD officer Jamal Mitchell. All loss of life is tragic, and of course it can be acknowledged that Officer Mitchell was killed while responding to an emergency in the community without diminishing the value of the other lives taken or harmed that day.

The life of a police officer is not more important than the lives of civilians. According to police, the incident began after they received a call that two civilians had been shot in an apartment. It was not until officers had been shot at that the neighborhood was flooded with an overwhelming police response. Countless MPD squad cars, SWAT, helicopters, state troopers, county sheriffs and police from other agencies raced to the scene.

When community members experience violence and crime, we don’t see these kinds of responses. Instead, we are told that police are understaffed and unable to deliver public safety services. While real crime rates have been falling for years, we are repeatedly told police need more funding, more personnel and more resources. Yesterday’s events show that when an incident is a priority for police, they can mobilize limitless resources.

While neighbors were still barred by police from returning to their homes, Mayor Frey held a press conference with the governor, leaders from the MPD and the BCA and all of the City Council. Their focus was on the tragic death of officer Mitchell, but they had only a few words for the civilians killed and injured that day, or the neighbors traumatized by witnessing the violent events.

It’s been more than 20 years since an MPD officer was shot and killed on duty. In that same time period, our community has seen MPD officers kill dozens of community members. Most of those deaths are ignored or even justified by politicians and media, who base their responses on police narratives alone. Thursday’s tragic but unusual events should not be used to derail efforts to address the harms that police do to community members. We have a right to demand accountability when those who are paid to protect and serve can kill with impunity.

This tragedy does not undo the MPD’s record of brutality and racism or erase the need for substantive change. Instead, we are committed to continuing the fight for community control over police, including a democratically-elected civilian body to hold police accountable when there is wrongdoing, and to set policies and procedures that meet the needs of our community members. We are continuing the fight for CPAC, a Civilian Police Accountability Commission.

#MinneapolisMN #TCC4J #CPAC #MPD