The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) called for a “response” and “potentially further action” from the City of Bloomington following comments made by Bloomington Human Rights Commissioner Anita Smithson. In a letter, the MPPOA called Smithson’s comments “grossly inappropriate” at best and “appalling, divisive, and bring suspicion to the Human Rights Department” at worst.
As reported by The Minnesota Sun, Smithson called a Back the Blue event “fascist radicalization.” Becky Strohmeier, the chair of the Bloomington Patriots who were one of the event’s organizers, said, “As a human rights commissioner, it is her job to ensure that everyone has a voice. That we all have the right to think, speak and assemble freely. Calling us fascists and white supremacists for supporting our police is completely out of line for a human rights commissioner. If she were just a private citizen it would be different, but she is supposed to be defending the rights of Bloomington residents, not trying to stifle them.”
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association represents over 10,000 public safety officials, which include law enforcement, firefighters, and correctional officers. The letter from Brian Peters, the executive director of MPPOA, said that the “demonization by some community leaders has severe and negative public safety consequences.”
Peters took issue with Smithson’s comments about the Back the Blue event and stated that Back the Blue events are “incredibly common” in Minnesota and that they “show support for the community’s law enforcement officers.” Peters also mentioned a recent poll that shows Minnesotans actually support their police. As reported by The Sun, a poll that was conducted by the Center of the American Experiment found that 85% of Minnesotans trust police to “act in the best interests of the public.” Peters said that Smithson’s view of police is “sadly out of touch” with the Minnesotans she is supposed to represent.
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]
Photo “Brian Peters” by Minnesota Peace And Police Officers Association.