The House is in a rare Saturday floor session today to consider the transportation budget bill, after meeting until close to midnight yesterday. We're in the middle of a set of long weeks moving all of the bills that comprise the state budget.
I'll provide details on these bills later though, because it was a long week in another infuriating and heartbreaking sense as well. Below is a message about the killing of Daunte Wright written by my colleagues in the United Black Legislative Caucus (UBLC). I stand with them fully.
While this latest death should hit every one of us hard, it has been particularly traumatic to many Minnesotans of color, and Black Minnesotans in particular. I want those Minnesotans to know that I stand with them too.
As the UBLC message says, those of us on the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee have been advancing for months a series of significant reforms. While this work has been led by my colleagues of color, I’ve been honored to help out, drawing on my own experience as a prosecutor of gender violence. In addition to those described in the UBLC message, these reforms include restrictions on no-knock warrants and traffic stops, the expanded use and disclosure of body-camera video, greater community oversight, and much more.
This is challenging work, against deeply entrenched systems and institutions; the Republican majority in the Senate hasn’t even held hearings on reforms. But inaction, and this continued pattern, cannot be an option. I will continue to use my own privilege to demand reform and accountability – and safety for every person in our community.
Thank you for the honor of serving you,
State Representative, District 64B
503 State Office Building
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The United Black Legislative Caucus issued the following statement after the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of a Brooklyn Center Police Officer on Sunday:
“Our community has been forced to withstand unthinkable trauma over the past year, and we’re angry that another young Black man has been taken from us by law enforcement. This is unacceptable and the constant cycle of police officers killing Black Minnesotans must end. The outcome Daunte Wright faced is an outcome we – as Black parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members – constantly worry about for our loved ones and ourselves. This shouldn’t be the norm, it can’t be the norm, and as lawmakers, it’s all of our responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure it no longer is the norm.
“We need accountability and we need it now. The Minnesota House is advancing much-needed solutions to identify bad officers and keep them off the streets, strengthen community oversight, and ban white supremacists from serving as officers. Daunte Wright should still be with us. His family deserves justice, and our community deserves changes to our laws that will ensure officers can be held accountable and trust can be built within our communities and those charged to protect and serve.
“Every Minnesotan deserves to be treated with the basic human rights of dignity, fairness, and respect, and too often law enforcement is failing to meet that expectation. The United Black Legislative Caucus is demanding Republicans in the Legislature, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, and the Minnesota Sheriffs Association get on board and support legislation to help build trust, create transparency, and hold officers accountable.”
The UBLC consists of Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul), Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL – Mendota Heights), Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL – Minneapolis), Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL – Minneapolis), Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL – Minneapolis), Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL – Minneapolis), Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL – Minneapolis), Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL – New Hope), Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL – Saint Paul), and Rep. John Thompson (DFL – Saint Paul).