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Accountability, Justice and Police Reform


Just one week ago our city of Minneapolis was torn apart by the death of a woman by one of our Minneapolis police officers. Justine Damond’s death is a tragedy and we must do everything in our power to find the truth of what happened. It is our moral responsibility to demand justice for Justine and her family and to advocate for police reform.

Since Justine Damond’s death there has been an intense focus on Officer Noor, blaming his action on his race, ethnicity and religion. Former Congresswoman Michelle Bachman insinuated that Noor might have shot Damond for “cultural” reasons. I’ve heard others describe this tragedy as a terrorist act carried out by a Muslim against a Christian.

These statements are dangerous and purely divisive, and they undermine our American Values. They seek to divide us, and I can tell you firsthand that they hurt our East African neighbors and friends.

I do not know all the facts of this case. What I know is that our city has been once more changed forever. I have not spoken to Officer Noor nor have I spoken to anyone who has spoken with Officer Noor. But we must find the truth of what happened. As the laws of our country dictate, when a crime has been committed, the person responsible must be held accountable at the bar of justice.

At the same time, the East African community has been told the justice system must be blind and that people will be judged by their actions and no other factor. Race, religion, sex are not relevant to this inquiry.

There are many things that need to be done in our society to deal with policing, both in this city and our country. Change must happen. I support rebuilding an independent civilian oversight board, including changing state law and city policy so the board has subpoena power for investigations and can discipline police misconduct. I support a city budget that prioritizes community violence prevention and reform above adding sworn police personnel. I support finding innovative solutions to building positive lasting relationships between people of color and the Police Department.

My hope is that the new police chief Medaria Arrandondo will be an agent of change. In his confirmation process and hearing, I will ask forceful and direct questions about what he will do to bring about that change. My support for him will only come if he is forthright and prepared to deal with the serious policing challenges our city faces.

The time of accepting the status quo is over. The time is also at hand to respect our East African and immigrant communities and our entire Minneapolis community. Now is not a time for racial hatred. Now is the time for accountability, justice, and change. I promise to you today that I will be force for accountability and change in this city and I will do everything in my power to demand justice and better policing moving forward.

Thank you,

Council Member Abdi Warsame, Ward 6

Abdi Warsame Signature

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