Update: Despite the agreement between the city and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis union, City Council voted Tuesday (7-5) to kill it. "It's no secret the MPD is facing the worst staffing crisis we have, and it continues to get worse," Chief Brian O'Hara said in a video message. "We are still not gaining enough new officers to keep pace with attrition and there's no other major city in America that has been impacted as severely as we have and so any comparison otherwise simply misses the mark."
Council Members Emily Koski, Jamal Osman, Elliot Payne, Robin Wonsley, Jason Chavez, Aisha Chughtai and Jeremiah Ellison voted against the agreement in Tuesday's budget meeting.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - After the media, judicial, and political hit job on four Minneapolis police officers relative to the 2020 death of career criminal George Floyd, the Minneapolis Police Department began to bleed officers. Today, they are down nearly 200 officers from their authorized strength.
While the department is required by the Minnesota Supreme Court to deploy 731 officers, the city currently boasts only 545 officers available for shifts, according to CBS News Minnesota.
Over three years after Floyd’s death, Minneapolis’ leaders are finally realizing there is a problem in one-half of the Twin Cities. After three years of exploding crime rates, things are finally returning to normal in Minneapolis. That isn’t normal by any reasonable standard; however, the city has seen a decrease in violent crime, no doubt in small part due to the dedication of Minneapolis police officers.
Statistics, however, can be deceiving. For example, the Star Tribune reports that the city has experienced 260 gunshot victims as of September, which is still higher than any year on record before 2020. Violent crimes are still 11% higher than the five-year average before 2020.
Still, with the department being nearly 200 officers short, that is concerning from a public safety standpoint and an officer safety standpoint.
Have no fear, however. Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara is on it. O’Hara has been something of a controversial chief among his ranks, receiving criticism for buying into the Department of Justice and their busybody consent decrees, claiming police departments “earned it” through their behavior.
Consent decrees are famous for costing cities a lot of money while producing the results anti-police activists look for. The DoJ famously cherry-picks certain cases and determines the respective police department is “racist” via their “pattern and practice” reports and makes recommendations for the city to rid itself of “racist” cops. This is what consent decrees get you:
The Phoenix Police Department is an example of an agency subject to a DoJ consent decree. As most of us know, whenever the federal government sticks its tentacles into something, it accomplishes nothing but costs a lot of money. Save Phoenix investigated steps that the department could take without the “benefit” of federal intervention. It makes for an interesting read. And for the most part, the information is available without the DoJ telling the city what to do.
In the case of O’Hara, he came to Minneapolis from the cesspool of New Jersey, Newark, whose police department also found itself under the auspices of a consent decree. Despite operating under a consent decree, Newark is still an extremely violent city.
O’Hara plans to do what the federal government does to “solve” problems–throw money at it. In the case of Minneapolis, the city and its police union reached an agreement whereby current police officers will earn $18,000 over two-and-a-half years if they stay on the job. Recruits will earn a tidy $15,000 bonus over three years.
If money is a key driver of someone who wants to be a police officer (it isn’t), Minneapolis may be on to something. However, Minneapolis officers are subject to an immense 72-page use-of-force policy, which should scare off anyone with more than a couple of brain cells from going anywhere near that department. Put it this way–the longer a policy document, the more things there are to trip up those who must abide by it.
Law Officer Magazine broke down the policy, and as they noted, it contains “precise language combined with extremely vague language.” It’s almost as if they want to trip officers up deliberately.
An example of trick language in the policy includes:
“Officers shall engage in interactions with community members and resolve incidents without resorting to the use of force, including through de-escalation strategies, when feasible.”
“When feasible?” Who decides that criteria?
There is case law on the use of force, Graham v. Connor. The court says the “reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation.”
“Feasible” is nowhere in that Supreme Court decision. The policy gets worse:
“Officers shall only use force consistent with a critical decision-making model, and only when that specific type of force is objectively reasonable, necessary, and proportional to the threat as reasonably perceived at the time.”
Again, a word salad worthy of a Kamala Harris speech.
The Minneapolis Police Department has agreed to two consent decrees, which tie the hands of Minneapolis’ finest.
The above language contained in the use of force policy is a trip wire, which will likely kneecap more than a small number of Minneapolis police officers.
As Law Officer notes, Derek Chauvin and three other Minneapolis police officers are imprisoned today for committing the “crime” of following department policy and the training they received. In other words, the department threw them under the bus, accepted the two consent decrees, and walked away fat, dumb, and happy.
Will an $18,000 or $15,000 “bonus” be worth it if the department and city refuse to back up their officers? Will that cover their legal expenses when they are screwed over by the department’s use of force “dictionary?”
It may not matter. On Tuesday, the city council voted 7-5 not to even address the plan while slamming Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for how the measure was introduced.
Minneapolis city leaders and Chief O’Hara have undermined their police department. There are many other police agencies (some Florida sheriff’s offices come to mind) where law enforcement officers are appreciated and, more importantly, supported.