In recent years, a diverse group of lawmakers and organizations has committed to reforms in our criminal justice system. While some progress has been made, much more needs to be done.
The tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of the police and the protests that started peacefully, but turned ugly and violent showed yet again that Minnesota is not immune from these tragedies. Whether it’s a worst in the nation achievement gap among students of color or the disproportionate use of force against black citizens by the Minneapolis Police Department, the difficult truth is that broad segments of our communities have been left behind.
We seek a criminal justice system that respects human dignity, ensures equal justice under the law, and keeps communities safe. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Each is necessary to achieve the other.
We will be more effective if people who bring different perspectives but share a commitment to justice, unite in these efforts. Together, we can rise above those who seek to pit people against one another and achieve reforms that build on our country’s strengths, even as we address its weaknesses. We reject the idea that if you are “pro-community” you must be “anti-cop.” That is a false choice that serves to further entrench the status quo.