Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin falsely claimed that Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis is “denouncing the need for police reform.”
Lewis, a former congressman who’s running against Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), hosted a press conference Monday outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct to express his support for the “good men and women of law enforcement,” and condemn Democratic efforts to abolish the police.
In a statement released Monday, seemingly before Lewis even began his press conference, Martin falsely accused the Republican of ignoring “Minnesotans’ demands for reform.”
“Lewis set to denounce police reform in front of Minneapolis Third Precinct Police Headquarters,” said a press release from the DFL.
“Once again, Jason Lewis proves he’s not interested in finding solutions to problems we face, but rather exploits them for his own partisan gain,” Martin said in the press release. “He denies any wrongdoing in our systems, and ignores Minnesotans’ demands for reform.”
But Lewis explicitly stated during his press conference that he’s “on board” with police reform and announced his support for Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) JUSTICE Act.
“We’re all on board. I fought hard for opportunity zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We all want progress and that’s part of it – some of this criminal justice reform – but it is not the abolishment of criminal justice, especially for violent offenders,” Lewis said during the press conference.
He criticized Democrats for “holding up” Scott’s bill in the Senate, which tells him that they “don’t really want reform.”
“Not only at the press conference did I endorse Tim Scott’s bill, and say Democrats are holding it up deliberately so they have an issue, which was explicit in our announcement, so there’s police reform right there,” Lewis told The Minnesota Sun. “But in the 115th [Congress] I was the author of the juvenile justice reform bill that was passed, signed into law. And then I cosponsored another one with a liberal Democrat from Virginia, Bobby Scott, the SAFE Justice Act, which was further criminal justice reform. It didn’t make it.”
“It’s an absolute lie,” Lewis said of Martin’s statement. “It is kind of bizarre, but that’s what Democrats do and they get away with it.”
Lewis said “four cameras” from various news outlets were present at his Monday conference, but “not one of them” ran the story, except for The Star Tribune.
“That’s not the first time this has happened. The Metro media is clearly spiking us,” he told The Sun. “The other takeaway, and why we did the conference, is we’re just not going to throw every cop under the bus. This is a do-or-die moment for Minnesota. If we go south, a lot people are going to wake up and say, ‘Who lost Minnesota?’ And it’s going to be the people who voted for Frey and Walz and Smith.”
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