The Minneapolis City Council Should Say Officer Mitchell’s Name

The Star Tribune has published moving and troubling stories about the death of Minneapolis police officer Jamal Mitchell and the increases in targeted attacks and killings of police officers since the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots (“Assaults against police increasing,” June 2).

Reporters covering police issues for the last three to four years should have been reporting more often on this terrible trend instead of focusing on the statistically insignificant number of police shootings of Black suspects. A Black victim is hundreds of times more likely to be shot by a criminal than a police officer in Minneapolis.

Members of the Minneapolis City Council majority, who started the police-defunding movement, only now show up at a press conference to mourn Mitchell. The council’s most radical members would not even mention Mitchell’s name in their post-killing X posts.

They should say his name.

Their silence is deafening. They created the conditions that led to Mitchell’s killing. Mitchell was working a one-man overtime shift because the council has intentionally sabotaged the Minneapolis Police Department. The Minnesota Supreme Court’s Spann decision held that the mayor and council are charter-required to get the officer corps back to 731. Yet the council won’t negotiate fairly with the police federation — while at the same time literally rallying with other unionized workers. They have capriciously refused to make the MPD competitive in the police labor market.

They do so largely to the detriment of Minneapolis’ working-class Black community. Sort of like how the 2020 rioters burned down minority-owned businesses on Lake Street in their anarchic fit of spite.

Reporters should report the whole truth, and Minneapolis must end its war on cops.

-James Dickey, senior counsel of the Upper Midwest Law Center.

This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Star Tribune.

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