Governor and Legislature Gut CRA
Police accountability in Minneapolis has taken a major hit.
Governor Dayton has signed a bill that will dramatically weaken the Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority by removing its power to make findings of fact. More press coverage is available here. The bill was pushed by the conservative Minneapolis Police Federation, which clearly opposes any meaningful police accountability, and strongly opposed by the City of Minneapolis. It unfortunate that the legislature and governor were unwilling to heed the requests and reationales offered by those of us elected to represent the people of Minneapolis and our staff who worked hard on this. This may well end up destroying the CRA, which is undoubtedly the Federation's end goal.
I am extremely disappointed in both the Governor and those in the legislature who voted for this bill. This action is a real blow to the Governor's record on civil rights and basic fairness, especially in the context of his ongoing work on the Vikings stadium. If he truly believes that we should be giving hundreds of millions of dollars to a billionaire team owner and simultaneously making it much more difficult (if not impossible) for victims of police misconduct to get accountability, his priorities are quite skewed. He has made clear that he stands with the wealthy and powerful against the rest of the population, and that's disturbing.
This also represents another instance in which the views of the actual people of Minneapolis - who made his election possible in 2010 - don't seem to matter to Governor Dayton. He's willing to do an end run around the referendum required by our charter and has now undermined a democratically instituted system of police accountability. Are there local decisions and authorities that he does respect?
I was also dismayed and disappointed to learn that three legislators who represent Minneapolis residents voted for this: Representative Paul Thissen and Senators Ken Kelash and Kari Dziedzik chose to stand with the Police Federation against the people of Minneapolis. I commend and thank representatives Allen, Champion, Clark, Davnie, Greene, Hornstein, Kahn, Loeffler, Mullery and Wagenius and Senators Hayden, Higgins, Dibble and Torres Ray for opposing this and standing with the Council and the people of Minneapolis.