The DMNA Board held a special meeting on Tuesday night to review and discuss the possibility of becoming a co-signer on the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s Statement on Public Safety and Guiding Principles for Police Reform and Public Safety. Steve Cramer, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council participated in the meeting and provided some background about how the statement and principles came together.
Cramer explained that there is a group of businesses and organizations like the Hennepin Theatre Trust and the Warehouse Business District Association that meet regularly to talk about crime in the downtown community. He stated that the business community is concerned that the City Council’s proposed Charter Amendment will lead to the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department without a clear path forward. He said the group agrees that the MPD needs to be better, fairer and more just, but that the Charter Amendment is premature. The Minneapolis Downtown Council, along with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Building Owners and Managers Association, decided that there needs to be a more collaborative effort that brings people together to create a police reform strategy. As such, they crafted a proposal that they are calling Guiding Principles for Police Reform and Public Safety. At this point, more than a dozen other organizations have signed on to it.
There were 30 members of the downtown community who also participated in the special board meeting. After asking questions of Cramer, and listening to feedback from residents, the board passed a motion on a 5-4 vote to join the other groups as a co-signer of the Statement and Guiding Principles, which are printed below. Board members who were opposed to the motion expressed concern that the Minneapolis Downtown Council represents the business community and the DMNA represents residents, and at this point, the DMNA has obtained input from only a small number of downtown residents. Additionally, those opposed stated that the DMNA hasn’t collected sufficient information to understand how the MPD as it currently exists would work to address racism. Those who voted to support the statement and principles felt it necessary to be timely in joining other organizations raising the unique concerns of downtown.
The board will continue discussions at its regularly scheduled meeting on July 20, on ways to hear from residents and how the DMNA can stay actively involved in all stages of this evolving discussion. The board assured residents on the call that they will continue to advocate for opportunities for residents to be engaged in the process to reform the MPD. The DMNA will also monitor the Charter Amendment process and share information with residents as it becomes available.The Charter Commission meets again on Wednesday, July 8. Information about this meeting is available further down in this e-newsletter.