BY ED FELIEN
We do not need a change of the Palace Guard. Replacing the Chief of Police is not the solution to the problem with the Minneapolis Police Department. The problem is there is no accountability. The MPD officers believe they are above the law. They believe their badge and their gun makes them the law. Their recently re-elected leader, Lt. Bob Kroll, is the leader of City Heat, the neo-Nazi motorcycle gang. He has been sued by black members of the MPD (including the Chief designate) for racist behavior. He has been prosecuted for use of excessive force as a member of a Tactical Squad special unit. He is the public face of the MPD.
Here are five actions that must be taken to restore confidence in the MPD:
1. The actions of the MPD must be subject to review by the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission. Every other employee in Minneapolis, every other citizen or visitor to Minneapolis is subject to the Civil Rights ordinances of Minneapolis. The MPD are exempt. This tells them they are above the law. This can be changed by an action of the City Council.
2. There must be a full review of the police reports of the Jamar Clark and Terrance Franklin killings by the Minnesota attorney general and the Minnesota Civil Rights Commission. This must be requested by the mayor and City Council. Even a superficial reading of the reports reveal obvious examples of police misconduct. Officers responsible for misconduct must be held accountable.
3. There must be a public review of the training of MPD officers. The training films of the discredited Lewinsky that encourage a “Shoot first, ask questions later” must be stopped and repudiated.
4. We need a much greater reliance on block clubs to maintain public order. In especially troubled neighborhoods, the city should pay block club captains to act as welcome wagon hosts for new residents, telling them about government services, educational and employment opportunities.
5. There must be a residency requirement for all city employees. The MPD must “Protect and Serve” all the people who live in this city. They are not an occupying army.