by Rose Williams
Two prominent Democrats have come out against the ballot effort to defund the Minneapolis Police Department, saying police reform, not defunding, is needed.
Gov. Tim Walz revealed in an interview at the Minnesota State Fair last week that he thinks the ballot question does not provide enough detail and will leave residents “confused” on what they’re voting for or against, Fox 9 reported.
“It’s been distilled down to this: defund police or fund police? I know it’s more complex than that, but I think that poses problems,” Walz said.
Yes 4 Minneapolis, the group behind the defund effort, campaigned to get the issue on the November ballot, and now voters in Minneapolis will decide if they want to replace the MPD with a new “Department of Public Safety.”
U.S. Rep. Angie Craig also came out last week against the ballot question, saying it would “jeopardize public safety and diminish accountability.”
“The Yes 4 Minneapolis referendum is shortsighted, misguided, and likely to harm the very communities that it seeks to protect,” Craig said in a statement.
Tyler Kistner, who is running for Congress against Craig, called out his opponent for “flip-flopping” her stance on the defund effort. He claimed she has changed her position because the “poll numbers are telling her to.”
“We need true leaders in Washington who aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right. We need leaders in Washington who do the right thing because that’s what they believe, not because it’s what the poll numbers tell them to do,” Kistner said in a statement.
He noted that Craig voted earlier this year for HR 1280, or the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021,” which Kistner said created costly mandates for police departments and made it more difficult for cops to do their jobs.
Yes 4 Minneapolis is largely funded by out-of-state donors, with 78% of donations coming from contributors outside of Minnesota.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is also against the ballot initiative and has said the “lack of transparency” will leave residents “without essential information at the ballot box,” according to MPR.
The final ballot question will say the following: “Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to strike and replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, with administrative authority to be consistent with other city departments to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety?”
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Rose Williams is an assistant editor for Alpha News.
Photo “Minneapolis City Council Pledges to Dismantle Police Department” by Tony Webster CC BY 2.0.