Who pays for their crimes? Who doesn’t?

I am sitting here in South Minneapolis on the darkest day of the year, Dec. 21, Winter Solstice. I am depressed and sad but not because of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The darkness represents an ignorance that is invading our city and our state (not to mention the country) right now. My complaints stem from the following facts, which are, in my mind, irreconcilably undermining my faith in our democratic institutions.

On the one hand, Al Franken has lost his job, which he was pretty good at, in my opinion, over allegations with no due process of law or even an investigation. Meanwhile, a Minneapolis police officer is sitting home collecting his salary (taxpayers’ money) knowing full well that he committed a homicide. There is evidence of his misconduct. There is the dead body of an innocent woman, Justine Damond. There is an up-close-and-personal eye witness partner, who was almost in the line of fire for no apparent reason. Tapping on a car is NOT A REASON. We have all done that.

We are losing Al Franken and my folk hero Garrison Keillor also, over non-assault-type allegations, over a crazy photograph meant to get a laugh, NOT evidence of a rape, NOT evidence of an assault, NOT evidence of a homicide. We endured Franken and Keillor being publicly humiliated and shamed by the media while police officer Mohammed Noor is protected by layers and layers of cynical incompetence by the city and state including the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Governor’s Office, the Mayor’s Office and the police union.

The juxtaposition of these cases (Officer Noor vs. Franken and Keillor) is contributing to my sense of hopelessness and sadness. It has me questioning much of what I thought I believed in. Someone needs to say something, someone needs to do something about all of this. What is liberty and justice for all?

Elizabeth O’Brien

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