Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey organizes new public safety workgroup

Nekima Levy Armstrong will co-chair a new public safety workgroup formed by Mayor Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has formed what his office has called a community safety workgroup tasked with developing public safety and accountability recommendations.

The new group includes participants from various backgrounds, including former Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Steve Cramer, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Jan Unstad and Christopher Uggen of the University of Minnesota, and Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUPAB).

According to the mayor, he prioritized bringing people to the table whose voices effectively reflect community safety priorities across Minneapolis neighborhoods.

“Minneapolis has an extraordinary opportunity to show the rest of the country that true progress is within reach,” Frey said. “By setting aside politics and honing in on outcomes, we will be well-positioned to enact lasting, meaningful change in our city.”

The workgroup will be co-chaired by Nekima Levy Armstrong and Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis. Levy Armstrong is a civil rights lawyer and founder of the Racial Justice Network and co-owner of Black Pearl LLC.

“As someone who normally works outside of what happens in City Hall and taking to the streets, along with many other activists, I recognize that it’s time to come on the inside and do what I can do in collaboration with the people who have signed up to be a part of this massive undertaking,” Levy Armstrong said at a news conference announcing the new commission.

 “Minneapolis deserves a critical examination of the practices, laws, and policies that underpin policing and community safety,” Levy Armstrong said. “This workgroup’s focus will be on developing evidence-based, detailed proposals that reflect the different voices across our city. I look forward to working with Mayor Frey and this team to continue developing concrete change and reforms.”

Dr. Davis is the lead minister for the Plymouth Congregational Church. He has a B.A. in economics and philosophy from Howard University, and an M.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland, among other academic accomplishments.

“As a city, we have the opportunity to respond—with decisive action—to the trauma and grief we’ve experienced over the last 18 months,” Davis said. “The eyes of the world remain fixed on Minneapolis, and this workgroup will be collectively resolved to show that we are serious about instilling accountability and enacting reforms. I’m grateful to the mayor for taking on these challenges in a substantive way and look forward to the hard work ahead.”

Davis continued, “We have competing demands right now, one that includes the needs to address the longstanding issues within the Minneapolis Police Department and to bolster the leadership of Chief Arradondo and those who have remained in the department, as well as to address public safety concerns, particularly that the Black community has been experiencing.”

The workgroup will begin meeting the week of December 13.