We anticipate the governor will call a special legislative session for Friday, May 12. The details of that are under development. Adding to the current COVID-19 complications is the recent week-long breakdown of basic law and order within the City of Minneapolis.
We are still assessing the damage suffered by the communities targeted by the unprecedented rioting and looting. In order to make constructive change it will be necessary identify the underlying causes that led up to George Floyd’s tragic death.
I don’t want to set expectations too high for this one-day special session. Over the few days remaining before the special session it is not possible to fully assess the extent of damages caused by the rioting. It will take a disciplined examination to determine what practices within the City of Minneapolis allowed this tragedy to occur, and what reforms are needed to correct those failures.
This week I have received an avalanche of emails asking that a variety of actions be taken, ranging from acting on the assumption that racism is organic to all law enforcement officers and agencies across Minnesota, to very considered suggestions and specific questions as to what personnel management policies and officer training procedures failed to prevent this tragedy?
Make no mistake this is a huge problem. However, I do not accept the suggestion that racism is part of the DNA of all law enforcement officers or all law enforcement agencies within Minnesota. Rather I find that the peace officers I am acquainted with are dedicated to protecting all members of the public regardless of race or cultural background. Like you and I, they are equally offended by the circumstances surrounding Mr. Floyd’s death.
The task ahead is fixing the personnel management and training failures that allowed front line supervisors and middle managers within the City of Minneapolis to hesitate in taking effective action to correct unacceptable behaviors. That will not be resolved in a brief special session. To suggest otherwise would be less than an honest assessment of how we prevent future tragedies of this nature.
The most immediate problem we face here in our part of Minnesota is not a failure of our law enforcement officials, rather it continues to be delaying the reopening our economy. That effort must move forward and not be sidetracked by the tragedy that occurred in Minneapolis.