Interview with Rachel Maddow Regarding Trump’s Scapegoat Politics

Last night I joined Rachel Maddow for a live interview regarding President-elect Trump’s threats to cut federal funding to Minneapolis and other cities that are putting public safety before politics.

As I told Rachel, any loss of federal funding could have significant impacts on services for our residents. But the stakes are higher than just money. Public safety and the very foundation of our democracy are at stake. If we sacrifice those principles, if we sacrifice our public safety for the sake of those dollars, we’ve got a lot bigger problems.

I don’t use the term “sanctuary city” because I don’t want to give people the impression that we have more levers than we do at our disposal. But what I do say, and it is important to continue to make clear, is that our police officers are not going to enforce federal immigration law. It’s not their job and it undercuts the primary purpose of their job, which is public safety.

When our police officers don’t ask people about their immigration status, they’re not breaking any laws, they’re doing their job. They are making sure we are keeping Minneapolis as safe as we can.

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Click here for the full interview.

Read my previous statement of last Saturday regarding this issue here.

On President-elect Trump, Public Safety and Minneapolis’ Immigrant Community

I will continue to stand by immigrants in Minneapolis. For years, Minneapolis has codified in ordinance that our police officers will not do the work of the Federal government and ICE regarding immigration status. If police officers were to do the work of ICE it would harm our ability to keep people safe and solve crimes. Witnesses and victims of crimes won’t come forward if they think our police officers will question or detain them about their immigration status. Our ordinance has helped us solve crime and keep communities safer. If our police were doing the work of ICE, Minneapolis would be less safe for everyone, regardless of immigration status.

In his quest to scapegoat immigrants, Donald Trump has threatened cities’ Federal funding if we do not change this practice. I repeat: I will continue to stand by and fight for immigrants in Minneapolis regardless of President-elect Trump’s threats. I will not compromise the public safety of the people of Minneapolis to satisfy Trump’s desire to put politics before public safety. If Congress follows through on President-elect Trump’s threat to cities, they will have our hardworking officers bear the brunt of their own obstructionism.  The complete failure of President-elect Trump’s allies in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform should not be borne by our local police officers who already have a tough job to do.

Minneapolis is being built and strengthened by people from all over the world and I am grateful for their commitment to our city. I stand with them today and will continue to take that stand as the President-elect prepares to take office.”

The Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 2, Chapter 19 states:
Public safety officials shall not undertake any law enforcement action for the purpose of detecting the presence of undocumented persons, or to verify immigration status, including but not limited to questioning any person or persons about their immigration status.”

Statement Regarding Donald Trump’s Comments Directed at Minnesota’s Immigrant Communities

Earlier this evening, I posted the following statement on Facebook:

Donald Trump, you need to know a few things about Minnesota that your ignorant tirade in Minnesota today revealed you do not know and I fear you are incapable of understanding:

1) You say “don’t let them roam our communities” like you have already created the fascist state you are hoping to turn this country into. This is America, Donald, and the Somali people of Minnesota and Minneapolis are not *roaming* our communities, they are *building* them.

2) Minnesota has problems, that’s for sure. All states do. There is poverty, and violence, and despair, and those have consequences – in every group, in every community, including the people you addressed today. But we aren’t like you, Donald. In Minnesota we respond to those challenges with kindness, not hate; by pulling together more rather than less; by appreciating one another more rather than less; and by working harder, not by giving up on one another. Everything you’ve done in your life – from your business practices to your sexual assaults to your Islamophobia to your constant blaming of others for the problems you’ve created yourself – betrays your ignorance of those values. But they are Minnesota values and we will vote them on Tuesday.

3) Minneapolis is a better, stronger place for having our Somali and East African immigrants and refugees in it. It is a privilege and an honor to be mayor of the city with the largest Somali population in this country. Your ignorance, your hate, your fear just make me remember how lucky we are to have neighbors who are so great.

4) You did get one thing right today, though. “Four years, you can forget it,” you said. Indeed. You can forget it.

Body-Worn Cameras Fully Implemented Across Minneapolis

 

This is big news for Minneapolis and the MPD.

Each of the patrol officers who respond to 911 calls is now wearing a body-worn camera.

At the end of October, the Minneapolis Police Department completed the implementation of Officer-worn body cameras in each of the City’s five police precincts. This completes the roll out process of the body cameras which began in July. We are marking this achievement here at 5th precinct headquarters, the last of the precincts to implement the roll out.

The conclusion of this phase of the body cam’s implementation comes after several years of study, community discussions, input and feedback. The program has been a priority for Chief Harteau since she became Chief in 2012 and has been a priority of mine since before I took office as Mayor.

And it has been a priority for the community as well. Residents and community leaders have repeatedly asked for body cameras in order to preserve video evidence of interactions between residents and police officers.

My 2017 budget, outlined in August and currently being considered by the City Council, calls for an additional $325,000 to continue to support the use of body camera technology. This is the third year of such an investment in the program.

These are challenging times across the country for police departments, the communities they serve, particularly communities of color.

While not the only tool, body cams can provide a tangible path towards transforming the relationship between police and community for the better. As I have noted previously when talking about all of the levers we are pulling to ensure greater transparency, accountability and the safety of the public overall, each lever we pull gets us closer to building trust between the police department and all of our communities. Body cams are an important tool for improving police-community relationships.

Chief Harteau and her team have worked hard throughout the process, and through that leadership and dedication the Minneapolis Police Department continues to lead nationally in 21st-century policing.

The implementation of body cameras has already proven successful. And a large part of that success is due to the engagement with the community, as the Police Department has met with stakeholders in neighborhoods throughout the city to explain the policy and demonstrate how body cameras work. I’m grateful to all those who have been part of that conversation.

I also want to express my appreciation to everyone involved in making this announcement a reality, including all of the officers involved in the body camera pilot program, the Department of Justice for their support and funding, and all those who have provided feedback and input along the way.

Governor Dayton’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations

In a news conference this morning in Saint Paul, Governor Mark Dayton announced the establishment of the Governor’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations. The council, established by Executive Order, is charged with developing recommendations to build trust and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

I welcome Governor Dayton’s establishment of this important Council. The City of Minneapolis, Chief Harteau, and I are committed to offering data, information, and full support now and throughout the process in order to ensure the Council’s success.

Minneapolis has been leading the way nationally in working with the communities we serve to build a 21st-century police department and to foster trust, transparency and transformed police–community relations. An intentional statewide conversation is an important next step that I applaud.

Current initiatives already underway in the City of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) include, but are not limited to the following:

National Initiative for Building Community Trust & Justice (NI)

The MPD, along with other City staff, continues its work implementing the recommendations from the National Initiative. Throughout 2016, all officers in the department—joined by community representatives—completed Procedural Justice Training. The final module of that training is currently being facilitated, as officers receive additional training on recognizing how implicit biases affect interactions. Chief Harteau and her staff also continue to work with community leaders to conduct empathy and healing sessions, aimed at acknowledging the history of troubled police–community relations and addressing how that history plays a role in current police–community relations. More information on the NI can be found on the trustandjustice.org website.

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)

By the end of the 2016 calendar year, all MPD Patrol Officers will have completed this 40-hour training, which improves the safety of residents, family members and officers by providing the foundation necessary to assist individuals with mental illness through recognition, communication, and de-escalation techniques. The training is facilitated jointly by the MPD, the Minnesota CIT Officers Association and the Barbara Schneider Foundation.

Thorough Assessment of ‘Use of Force’ Policies and Training

In the summer of 2015, the department’s Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) Division was tasked with conducting a top-down assessment of the MPD’s use of force policies and training. Through that process, it was clear that the department’s training and policies were up-to-date and progressive compared to other departments around the country. However, the Police Chief and the Commander of LOD continued to explore ideas intended to improve the safety of our residents and officers. In July of this year, the MPD announced the following new and updated policies:

  • Sanctity of life: The cornerstone of the MPD’s use of force policy is the sanctity of life, and the protection of the public.
  • Duty to intervene: Officers are required to intervene if they are at a scene where physical force is being applied by another officer, if that force is inappropriate or continues to be used when such force is no longer required.
  • Duty to report: Employees must report any misconduct at the scene of an incident to a supervisor, as well as the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU). This mandated reporting includes, but is not limited to, unreasonable force.
  • Manual revision of policy regarding de-escalation: The policy was updated to emphasize de-escalation tactics and was reformatted for clarity and consistency.

Body Worn Cameras (BWC)

By the end of October 2016, every Minneapolis Police Department Patrol Officer will be trained and equipped to use a BWC. The policy resulted from community input and research of similar programs in other departments and is a key element in ongoing efforts to improve community trust and transparency. The BWC policy is in alignment with national best practice standards and sensitive to the unique needs of our diverse Minneapolis communities.

Fair and Impartial Policing (FIP) Training

In 2014, every MPD officer and recruit went through this training, which gives officers the tools to recognize their biases and the biases of others. All future recruits will also receive the training, a science-based model developed by nationally recognized experts. The FIP training is based on the underlying understanding that every single member of society has biases.

More details on these current progressive initiatives (and others), training manuals, complete policies and MPD assessments can be found on the MPD’s website, www.insidempd.com/initiatives.

In my proposed 2017 budget, released in August, I emphasized the need to invest in the community to improve public safety, and the need to invest in the Police Department to improve public trust. I proposed several investments, including:

  • $1,305,000 for fifteen new sworn Minneapolis Police officers: 12 for community policing, and three for a police/mental health co-responder pilot program.
  • Nearly $1 million for community-based strategies to improve public safety, including:
    • $500,000 for collaborative, community-driven, public-safety strategies in two locations with high levels of youth violence: West Broadway between Lyndale and Girard Avenues, and Little Earth. This innovative initiative will provide technical and financial resources for residents and business owners of these areas, and the community-based organizations that serve them, to decide for themselves what downstream public-safety interventions would best improve public safety there.
    • $290,000 for a Group Violence Intervention strategy, a collaboration among the Health Department, MPD, and the community that offers support and resources to offenders who leave violence behind, and holds accountable those who do not.
    • $200,000 for mental health co-responders to be paired with sworn officers in the co-responder pilot program. This is community-based public-safety initiative is often requested by community members, and is a recommendation of the City’s Police Conduct Oversight Commission.
  • More than $1 million annually for a new, ongoing Community Service Officer class to build in more capacity for a proven, effective pathway for people of color to become sworn police officers.
  • Ongoing resources to manage and operate the Minneapolis Police Department body-worn camera program.
  • An additional civilian case investigator at the Office of Police Conduct Review, and improvements to the process of filing misconduct cases.

The Minneapolis Police Department is leading the nation in progressive change, and in addressing and implementing the six pillars defined by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st-century policing. The final report of the President’s task force can be found here.