A statement by Robin Wonsley Worlobah, Council Member from Ward 2, on the MPD killing of Amir Locke:
I spent the afternoon listening to the grieving family of Amir Locke and local community leaders. I heard justified anger. Most of all, I heard the pain, frustration, and sadness that we have been here so many times before.
I also heard people ask who actually has the power to make the changes we need. The answer to that question is Mayor Frey. Mayor Frey is the only person with authority over MPD.
Many of the family and community members who spoke today noted the massive inaction that has come from City Hall. This is largely why I ran, and why I’m here.
Whether you voted Yes on Question 2, or voted No with the expectation of meaningful reform, I believe we all can agree that the killing of Amir Locke is the result of the continued pattern of words without actions.
Mayor Frey promised to make changes to MPD, and year after year, we’ve seen no overhaul, no systemic reforms or substantial policy changes come forward. I won’t allow him or MPD to use their playbook, which is deflection, promises of incremental change, and toothless policy changes that have not reduced police violence.
The lack of political will by the mayor is killing Black residents, including Amir Locke.
I hear my constituents and the community as they ask how today’s policy change around no-knock warrants will be any different from what we already have. Y’all are absolutely right. We are beyond repeatedly passing bans on no-knock warrants, passing bans on warrior-style training, chokehold bans, or tweaks to MPD policies and procedures.
MPD sees itself as above the law. MPD has shown us that it is not interested in being part of our democracy. This is why MPD has no public trust, both in our community as well as in the eyes of law enforcement throughout the country.
Despite years of calls for transparency and accountability, multiple lawsuits on the taxpayers’ dime and federal investigations, despite a murder so egregious that it sparked a global uprising, MPD has shown time and again that it is unwilling or unable to follow the protocols put in place to promote safety.
In response to this, the mayor promised us a plan, and asked us to trust him to carry it out. His plan has proven to be a failure thus far.
Now, it’s time for a new plan, one for a public safety institution that can respond safely and professionally to everything, whether it’s executing warrants, responding to mental health crises, investigating sexual assaults, or even providing security at your local grocery store or community event.
We need to replace MPD with a Department of Public Safety, which includes a fully funded, diverse workforce of unarmed and armed public safety workers. A department that is demilitarized. A department that is a public good, and thus accountable to the public, and one that provides equal services to all of our residents. A department that actually embodies the both/and approach that the mayor himself claims to want.
These asks are not controversial. We can all agree that we can’t move forward with the very police department that just killed Amir Locke while he was wrapped in a blanket.
This is what the people are calling for and we must make it happen. The mayor needs to decide if he is going to join us to make it happen or if he is going to get out of the way.
Whether you have lived here for 30 years or 30 days, you should know that there is a public safety system that is here to help you and will not gas you for peacefully protesting and will not shoot you at 6:30 in the morning while you sleep.
Our community deserves better than MPD. I am calling on the strong mayor, who has sole authority over MPD, and already stated support for a Department of Public Safety, to act immediately, or to resign.
I will never abandon our movement for a new model of public safety and will continue to use my position to make sure we do not have another Amir Locke.