Minneapolis residents file ethics complaints against Mayor Jacob Frey

Source: Nathan Howard/Getty

Days after a Minneapolis police officer killed 22-year-old Amir Locke and the community residents gathered at City Hall to demand an ethics investigation into Mayor Jacob Frey. Minneapolis Public Radio reported that dozens of community members gathered for a rally before filing ethics complaints, with some residents calling for Frey’s resignation.

According to an Instagram post, the residents are moving forward with the consent of Amir Locke’s family. Residents organizing the ethics complaint process encouraged others to contact the city’s ethics officer and demand a full and thorough investigation into Frey’s actions.

There are four main areas of concern for community-led ethical complaint.

– Mayor and Acting Chief Huffman initially called Locke a suspect when he wasn’t

– ‘unethical’ use of public funds in SWAT raid that led to Locke’s murder and non-firing of officer responsible

– failure to exercise “reasonable judgment” in applying for a no-knock warrant that the originating police department never requested

– Frey’s misrepresentations about banning no-knock warrants

During the Friday afternoon rally captured by freelance journalist Georgia Fort, several speakers brought up the names of people previously killed by police, including Jamar Clarke and Tycel Nelson, a 17-year-old who was shot in the back and killed by police in 1990. For many residents, the police killing Locke represents a pattern and practice of a bankrupt department.

Valentina McKenzie, a member of the George Floyd Square community and a black mother of black children, said filing an ethics complaint against the mayor was necessary for the city to heal.

“The mayor can control the Minneapolis police, and he refuses to do that,” McKenzie said. “Jacob’s lies and failure have caused our town even deeper trauma. Letting his cops do what they want and murder us free

McKenzie asked, “how can we heal as a city when every time we look up it happens over and over and over again.”

Youth activist Semhar Solomon led the crowd in a call and response chant before calling for transparency, safety and accountability for all residents.

Who protects us?

We protect ourselves!

“Empty promises and empty actions brought down black and brown bodies,” Solomon said. “It’s not just a change in policy. It’s a culture change.

Speaking to Newsone, co-founder of Black Visions Miski Noor pointed out that Locke was the third black person killed in 66 days. They also reiterated the need for transparency and accountability for Minneapolis residents.

“This moment is really difficult,” Noor said. “It’s not that if the amendment had passed, it wouldn’t have happened. But if the amendment had passed, there would be so much more room for other crisis responses. And the problem with our amendment wasn’t even that it just created a new Department of Public Safety. Yet it was actually attacking the structure of policing in our city. »

Last year, Noor’s group was part of a coalition that advocated for a ballot initiative that would have replaced the current police department with a public safety department and reported to the city council. The measure was defeated, with more than 40% of voters supporting the measure. Several black elected officials supported him, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Noor said the outrage over Frey’s lie was justified, but they noted that the lie is nothing new. And while Frey dismissed the effort as a political stunt, the mayor has spent the past few days trying to rationalize its previous language describing its actions around no-knock warrants.

Even the recent ban on no-knock warrants announced by Frey is not a total ban because it allows for certain circumstances where the warrants can be sought. According to the MinnPost, city ​​officials have sought 90 no-knock warrants between November 2020 and August 2021.

Community members and local news outlets pointed out that Frey used language to make it look like he banned no-knock warrants in his re-election campaign. The mayor has since claimed that he, his team and his supporters used an imprecise shorthand to describe his refinement of the practice’s use.

For Noor, the call for accountability is even more necessary given the passage of a strong mayoral amendment giving more power to Frey.

“He is unwilling to speak to those affected,” Noor said. “He doesn’t really try to take security seriously.”

Minneapolis groups continued to search for safe alternatives. Noor cited Relationship Changing Opportunities (REP) as an example of community-led efforts creating alternatives to calling the police.

The network also runs a secure emergency hotline called Breakthrough Emergency Partners, offering mental health first aid and de-escalation support. It is a community-based alternative to 911 for certain non-violent emergencies such as noise complaints, mental health crisis and support, and conflict de-escalation.

But the site is careful to note that REP is a tool and an approach as part of a broad effort to “create the conditions of safety, freedom and dignity in our communities.”

Noor also mentioned the leadership of youth organizers with Minneapolis Youth Activists. The group was instrumental in organizing the student outings that took place earlier in the week.

“We don’t deserve just one or two black organizations,” Noor said. “We deserve a whole ecosystem of people who were like ‘this is my path, and this is how I contribute. “”


Federal action on police reform could have banned no-knock warrants and saved Amir Locke’s life

Moments That Make the Move: Black Visions Co-Founder on the Campaign to Transform Policing in Minneapolis and What It Means for Black Organizing

‘No-hit’ warrants like the one used to kill Breonna Taylor have a deadly history of going wrong

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