It has been a busy week for me, the campaign, and our city. Fall sports season has officially begun and I’ve started coaching my step-daughter’s rec. soccer team again. I’ve also been out knocking doors every weekend and have really enjoyed seeing many of you in person. If I haven’t met you yet, please join me at one of my coffee hours this month. You can find the details on that and several other upcoming events below.
The news story that has really stuck with me this week is this one, by Deena Winter at the Minnesota Reformer, detailing the story of Jaleel Stallings. Jaleel was standing in a parking lot talking with some friends last summer when an MPD SWAT team in an unmarked van opened fire on them with rubber bullets. Jaleel, a Black Army veteran, remembered the warnings from Governor Walz and Mayor Frey at the time that white supremacists were patrolling the area. Thinking it was those white supremacists firing at him and that he had been struck by live rounds, Jaleel returned fire on the van with a permitted handgun. It wasn’t until the officers started advancing on him that he realized they were police and immediately surrendered. Thankfully, no officers were injured. But Jaleel was handcuffed and then punched and kicked in the head, fracturing his eye socket. No officers involved have been disciplined.
Earlier that night, this SWAT team was given the order to “Drive down Lake Street. You see a group, call it out. OK great! F*** ’em up, gas ’em, f*** ’em up.” The same team fired upon and tear gassed several journalists and business owners trying to protect their property.
This behavior by police puts all of us in danger and unnecessarily escalates non-violent situations, causing more unrest. The article highlights how much we still don’t know about what happened in our city after George Floyd’s murder, and the practices that led to it. How many more incidents like this do we not know about? Was Mayor Frey aware that officers were being given orders to fire upon the public indiscriminately? If so, what has he done about it? We need to know the answers to these questions, but the “After-Action Report” on the City’s actions last summer isn’t due to be released until January.
That’s why I released this Press Release calling for the Report to be published before we vote in November. We should not be expected to vote on our next Mayor, City Council, and the public safety charter amendment without this crucial information.