Earlier today we posted the response by Minnepolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Minneapolis Chief of Police Robert Olson to our column on the murder of Tyesha Edwards. In our column we made three basic points: 1) Minneapolis has a serious gang problem; 2) it is not talked about publicly by Minneapolis municipal leaders because Minneapolis’s gangs are largely black, even though the primary victims of Minneapolis’s gang crime are black as well; 3) appropriate municipal leadership and law enforcement can take back the streets from the gangs, but the mayor and the chief have failed to provide such leadership.
The response of the mayor and the chief is a work of extraordinary cowardice. It pretends that our column attacked the department’s officers and detectives who have apprehended the defendants charged with the murder of Tyesha Edwards and comes to their defense. That is an outright lie. In our column we expressly credited the officers and detectives; we expressly stated that they were to be thanked and congratulated for their work on the case. Our column expressly criticized the mayor and the chief for failing to exercise the leadership necessary to defeat the gangs that have taken back the Minneaolis streets. On this point the mayor and the chief refuse to fight; they hide behind the men in blue to whom they otherwise refuse to lend the kind of vociferous support they need to do their job.
Let’s get the timeline here straight. Minneapolis’s murder rate peaked in 1995 as the gangs took over Minneapolis’s poorest neighborhoods and Minneapolis was dubbed “Murderapolis” by the New York Times. In 1996 three Minneapolis officers visited New York City and studied the crime control program that had been implemented by Rudy Giuliani and his chief law enforcement officers. Upon their return to Minneaolis, the officers helped introduce a version of that program that they named CODEFOR, a program whose mission is crime prevention. Then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and the chief supported the implementation of the program and were delighted to claim credit for its success, which was virtually immediate. Unfortunately, however, that is not the end of the story.
Starting in the spring of 2000, the Minneapolis Police Department voluntarily collected data on the race of drivers stopped in routine traffic checks. In early 2001, Chief Olson submitted the data to Minneapolis’s “independent” (liberal) Council on Crime and Justice, a key purveyor of the “racial disparities” line of attack on law enforcement. As Dr. David Pence has written in his account of CODEFOR, “there is no group whose work and philosophy are more diametrically opposed to the police strategy represented by CODEFOR.” Pence’s commentary on this development is devastating: “Handing over police data to this ideological group (currently headed by former County Attorney Tom Johnson) is a breach of confidence between the chief and police officers. To give them data, which places them in the role of unbiased expert, is to supply one’s executioner with both well-made bullets and a shooting vantage point.”
The group’s study was released in April 2001 and was widely advertised as establishing “racial disparities” in police stops. (Minneapolis’s own Katherine Kersten used the study to question the underlying assumption of the whole “racial disparities” racket in an outstanding piece she wrote for the Weekly Standard.) Neither the mayor nor the chief spoke a word in defense of police officers and the officers’ cut their stops in half. Minneapolis has not been the same.
As a result of Belton’s failure to support the officers, the police supported Belton’s opponent, R.T. Rybak, in the 2001 mayoral election despite the fact that he ran to the left of her and only talked about crime or law enforcement in the context of “racial disparities.” Rybak never spoke about the problem of crime in Minneapolis or the necessity of supporting the CODEFOR policing program. His key supporters were Minneapolis’s lakeside liberals for whom crime is not a problem and his victory in the mayoral election has had predictable results.
Anyone with eyes to see can observe that the gangs are back in something like full force. In south Minneapolis they have taken back the Chicago and Portland arteries between Lake and Franklin, while in north Minneapolis they are centered on the Lowry/Lyndale intersection. In downtown Minneapolis, the City Center shopping mall has become a gang hangout and the police have simply ceded control of the streets that house the active bar scene. In her bombshell December 4 Star Tribune column, DFL former City Council member Kathy Thurber who lives in Tyesha’s south Minneapolis neighborhood powerfully testified to her own observations regarding the gangs’ retaking the streets of her neighborhood. To her eyewitness testimony the mayor and chief essentially respond in their Star Tribune column today a la Groucho Marx, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”
On August 22 Minneapolis police officers were attacked by the occupants of a notorious drug house in north Minneapolis while they were executing a search warrant. A race riot followed when a child occupant of the house was accidentally wounded by an officer who shot the pit bull that had been sicced on him by an adult occupant of the house. Black bystanders attacked the white journalists who were covering the execution of the search warrant. The utterly inexplicable upshot of the riot is a federal mediation process to which the police are a party by agreement of the chief, who has not spoken a word in support of his officers.
Since that day two innocents have been murdered by Minneapolis gangbangers; on September 1, 19-year-old Brandon Hall was murdered and on November 22, 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards was murdered. The gangbanger charged with Hall’s murder is Jermaine Stansberry, a guy with multiple felony convictions who simply shouldn’t have been on the streets; the gangbangers charged in Tyesha’s murder include Isaiah Tyson, a confirmed gang member with an outstanding warrant for being a felon in possession of a gun, a guy who would not have been on the streets if the warrant had been executed.
Since our column appeared on December 1, we have received an outpouring of supportive responses from citizens, city council members, and members of law enforcement. Among the evidence we have been provided by law enforcement is the following. Within the past six months, on the order of the mayor, the chief cut the Minneapolis police department’s gang-dedicated officers from nine to two–a fact that to our knowledge has not previously been reported by any Twin Cities media outlet. We have learned that there are 1500 current arrest warrants on Hennepin County (Minneapolis) perpetrators who have been arrested six or more times in the past year. We have also learned that no special provision has been made to execute warrants issued on confirmed gang members identified as such by the state gang task force. We have been advised by a highly knowledgeable law enforcement officer in the heart of the action that law enforcement is paralyzed by the “racial disparities” crusade to which municipal authorities have not only offered no resistance, but to which they have lent support.
The appeasement mentality that holds municipal leaders in its grip has now reached some kind of a nadir. In July 1939, when Great Britain was far gone in the throes of appeasement on the eve of World War II
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