- Lessons Learned from Ferguson
- Chief AWOL At Listening Session
COMMUNITY FORUM: LESSONS LEARNED FROM FERGUSON
Wednesday, September 24, 6 pm - 8 pm
Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis
Hosted by Council Members Blong Yang and Andrew Johnson We strongly encourage people to attend this event, which promises to be a real opportunity to talk about issues with policing in Minneapolis and to propose solutions. Council members Yang and Johnson have been leaders in this issue and show a willingness to take action.
CHIEF AWOL AT “LISTENING SESSION”: JUST MORE HIDING FROM THE COMMUNITY
The “listening session” with Chief Janee Harteau that was scheduled by Council member Alondra Cano for September 18 would have been an ideal opportunity for the chief to gain insights into the community’s concerns about policing in Minneapolis as well as to hear suggestions for improvements. Instead, Chief Harteau insulted the community by canceling her appearance at the last minute, citing an excuse that is pure fiction.
The chief told a number of different stories and slandered a variety of groups with her unsubstantiated claims of threats of physical violence. This morning Communities United Against Police Brutality submitted a request for data for all communications related to the supposed threats. It will be interesting to see what the city produces in response to this request.
Keep in mind, folks, that the issue is POLICE BRUTALITY not some mythical community brutality of police. The cops are the ones with the guns and the power to use them with impunity, not the community. Harteau's excuse is laughable and a blatant lie. And what was the excuse for cop-coddling city attorney Susan Segal not showing up?
Despite the chief’s absence, about 200 people attended and expressed their grievances, frustrations and suggestions. CUAPB brought a list of 31 action items the city could enact with no need for outside authority or changes of state or federal law. All it would take is the political will. Props to the three city council members who were present and who joined the panel when requested by a community member. But the absence of other city leadership was a slap in the face of the community and more confirmation that the city administration couldn't care less about what the community thinks or wants.
Ultimately, the mayor is responsible for ensuring that the chief engages with the community in more than just photo ops. However, throughout Harteau’s administration, her office has gained a reputation for a lack of transparency. The only civilian input she receives is from the hand-picked “citizens advisory council”—a group that meets in secret.
In the aftermath of this appalling insult to the community, we call on the chief to schedule a monthly open house in the evening where she can receive input from concerned members of the community. We also demand that the chief apologize to the community for her slanderous excuses and lack of transparency.
Dave Bicking, CUAPB board member, stated “there is a serious need to improve policing in Minneapolis and the community has a lot of ideas on how to do that. The chief just has to listen.”