Reader's View: Disband broken Minneapolis Police Department

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We have a crisis of policing in our country. Over several days we had a steady stream of reports from cities around the country of police officers targeting members of the press or innocent civilians with violence. This overbearing police response stood in stark contrast with police’s complete non-response to groups of armed and aggressive protesters just a few weeks ago.

The difference in the two responses should prompt a great deal of national soul-searching about the transparent ideological and racial biases in the exercise of police power.

While that conversation is long overdue, the Minneapolis Police Department presents a particularly egregious and urgent problem. In just the 48 hours before May 31, there were more than 20 separate reports of Minneapolis Police specifically targeting local, national, and even international journalists with tear gas, rubber bullets, and destruction of equipment. Some of these assaults even occurred while journalists were broadcasting live.

We are a democracy, not a police state. A democracy can't function without a free press. For the Minneapolis police to so wantonly and systematically target journalists was nothing short of an attack on democracy. It was pure, lawless authoritarianism. The breadth and scope of these attacks made it clear that this was not simply a few bad apples. The Minneapolis police force showed that it is deeply, systemically rotten. When an organization is so thoroughly unmoored from its proper purpose and its culture is so manifestly broken, there are no simple, procedural remedies. No seminars or new policies will cure something so unabashedly toxic.

The Minneapolis Police Department needs to be completely disbanded and rebuilt from the ground up. It is a menace to the citizens it is supposed to serve.


David Lund


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