Another Officer Down

A week ago, I wrote an op-ed in the New York Post on the condition of Minneapolis, four years after the death of George Floyd. My assessment was not very positive. It included this, on crime:

Crime spiked throughout Minneapolis beginning with the [2020] riots. While violent crime has declined somewhat since 2021, it remains elevated far above pre-George Floyd levels.

This is due largely to the fact that the Minneapolis Police Department remains badly understaffed. Lack of public support, a “defund the police” movement and attacks from Minneapolis’ City Council have made it hard to recruit officers.

Hard, but not impossible. One post-Floyd recruit was Jamal Mitchell. Mitchell joined the MPD a year and a half ago. Just days into his tenure as a police officer, he made headlines by saving an elderly couple from a burning building. Last night, he was murdered.

My colleague David Zimmer relates the facts as we know them so far, in his professional, Sgt. Friday style:

At about 5:30 pm last evening Minneapolis Police were called to an apartment building on Blaisdell Ave South just south of West Franklin Ave, on reports of a shooting.

Officer Mitchell was one of the responders from the city’s 5th Precinct. As he neared the call location, he spotted apparent victim(s) a block or two away and began attempting to help them. One of these people he attempted to help ambushed and fatally shot Officer Mitchell. Another Minneapolis police officer arrived and exchanged gunfire with the assailant. The assailant was shot and killed, and the officer, a firefighter, and another citizen were injured by gunfire at this scene.

Back at the apartment where the incident began, police found two people injured by gunfire, one fatally.

So it started with a shootout, and Officer Mitchell died, trying to help a man who turned out to be the murderer. There has been a huge outpouring of grief from fellow officers and support from the general public, another sign that Minnesota might be starting to reverse its long decline.

But what is the context in which Officer Mitchell’s murder occurred? Back to David Zimmer–who, by the way, is a 33-year veteran of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, who retired as one of Minnesota’s senior law enforcement officials:

Chief of Police Brian O’Hara addressed the media last night after Minneapolis Police Officer Jamal Mitchell was shot and killed in an ambush earlier in the evening.

“It’s become too easy and to attack our police, and it needs to stop.”

The statement raises the question “why has it become so easy for people to attack our police?”

The answer of course is that our “progressive” political leadership has for years been bowing to the absurd activist voices in our state calling for the “dismantling” and “defunding” of law enforcement, while simultaneously demanding that our justice system become even less consequential.

Just this legislative session, the DFL dismissed amendments to public safety funding that would have allowed law enforcement to purchase protective armor, and introduced legislation that would have eliminated mandatory minimum sentencing for felons in possession of firearms.

When one gets past the rhetoric coming from the progressive left, it’s clear where they stand on issues of public safety.

The result of this all this misguided and opportunistic politics has been the creation of an “open season” on our streets, where criminals have been emboldened like never before, and our law enforcement has been undermined, dehumanized, and completely demoralized.

David calculates that in the last 18 months, at least 20 law enforcement officers have been shot in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Here, as in so many other areas, we are in uncharted territory. This has never happened before.

We don’t know yet who murdered Officer Mitchell and the others. We will learn more in days to come. But I will hazard a wild guess that the murderer was a career criminal who was long known to law enforcement and should have been behind bars long ago. I further speculate that he was on the streets due to liberal policies in Minneapolis, Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota. Maybe Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, an avowedly pro-crime County Attorney, had the opportunity to prosecute him and declined to do so. We will see.

In the wake of Officer Mitchell’s death, public officials like Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made public statements and tweeted in support of Mitchell and his family. Of course, there was no acknowledgement, particularly by Walz, that the current open season on Twin Cities police officers is mostly due to the pro-crime policies that Minnesota’s Democratic Party has rammed down the throats of voters.

David Zimmer writes, contrasting Jamal Mitchell’s death with that of career criminal George Floyd:

Sadly, four years from now there will be no gubernatorial proclamation in his honor, the city will not dedicate an intersection in his honor, and his family will not be the recipient of calls from the President, or a multi-million-dollar settlement.

No one goes into law enforcement expecting such a response, but the slap in the face irony of it all should be cause for us all to re-evaluate how misguided we have allowed things to get.

Amen. Whose side are voters on? I guess we will find out in November.

If you want to contribute to help Jamal Mitchell’s family, you can go here or here.

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