The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) doesn’t need any more money, they need an accountability tool for White cops.
We know what happens to Black cops who break the law. Mohammad Noor is in jail after killing an unarmed civilian. This is different than what happens to White cops. Dustin Schwarze is still on the force after killing an unarmed Jamar Clark. So is the cop who shot Tycel Nelson in the back.
By passing a budget that adds over eight million dollars to MPD’s budget while funneling relative pennies to violence prevention and other programs that create actual safety, the elected officials of Minneapolis have done residents wrong. Adding money for a new cadet class doesn’t make anyone safer; the right solution is to invest more in underserved and marginalized communities.
We see time and time again that more officers doesn’t equal more safety. If you recall, just last year St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter increased police funding by $900,000 at a time when the force was already the largest it had ever been and crime rates were at historic lows in most categories. The very next year was one of the deadliest in St. Paul’s history. Police create crime, they don’t reduce it.
This is how it works: cities provide money for new officers who must go through an onboarding process to prove that they belong in the club. During their probationary period, new officers have to show that they can kick a** and take names. Literally. Trauma is inflicted upon Black folks, indigenous folks, and other people of color. This trauma is then bottled up until the victim snaps and harms someone in close proximity. This isn’t a far-fetched concept; it’s reality.
Considering all we know about policing in America, the need to continuously talk about increasing police budgets becomes extremely frustrating. At this point, whenever a proposal is presented that asks for more officers, we should closely examine the people pushing the effort. If it’s Bob Kroll, we understand. He’s a known White supremacist who recently embraced 45 when he came to town. He also made “Cops for Trump” shirts but we’re supposed to act as if this didn’t happen.
Earlier this year it was reported that MPD has nearly 1,700 untested rape kits (not fewer than 200 as previously disclosed) dating as far back as 30 years. An “accounting error” was blamed. Those ignored kits represent 1,700 human beings who endured terrible harm. How can an organized police department carelessly lose such important information?
Oh, I just remembered, they don’t give an f*#%! If MPD saw survivors as human beings with inherent dignity, this couldn’t have happened. Those survivors mean nothing to the officers in uniform. So, if you’re about the more cops camp, just know that the police are in existence to protect wealth and Whiteness. Shout out to Ricardo Morales.
Let’s stop race-coding! This constant effort to employ more cops must be seen for what it truly is: cementing institutional racism by hiring of more White supremacists and people of color who have internalized oppression. There are no bad apples if the tree is rotten.
It’s past time for the city to put up or shut up. The way to demonstrate a genuine commitment to protecting and serving the community is by investing in the community. The jig is up. More cops = less Black people.
Jason Marque Sole is the former head of the Minneapolis NAACP and teaches at Metro State University he refers to himself as a “Community Scholar.”