Ilhan Omar slams judge for blocking ballot measure to scrap Minneapolis Police Department

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., railed against a judge’s decision to block a Minneapolis ballot measure that would replace the city’s police department with a new department of public safety.

During an in-person town hall meeting Tuesday evening in Minneapolis, Omar blamed big money for thwarting a progressive measure that she argued would have given the city “flexibility” on how to better police the city.

“The leaders who are opposed to progress in this city are not nameless or faceless,” she said. “Using your network to obstruct the kind of progress so many people in this city want and were looking forward to is not something that should go unnoticed.”

ILHAN OMAR, KEITH ELLISON SUPPORT MEASURE TO REPLACE MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT

“This ballot measure should be on the ballot,” she said. “As you can tell, I’m pretty upset about it.”

“We have people pouring in so much money to make us enslaved to a charter that the majority of us [oppose],” she continued. “This is the opposite of what democracy should produce. The people had a vision for what they wanted, and there’s a judge, there’s a mayor, there is a police chief, and their monied friends who are telling us we can’t have a city that is flexible to our needs and to our demands. How else are we supposed to make progress if we can’t do that?”

Omar’s comments came after Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson on Tuesday struck down Question 2 on the Minneapolis ballot for the Nov. 2 election, saying the wording was “unreasonable and misleading.”

The question was to ask voters whether they wanted the city’s charter to be amended to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety, “which could include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary, with administrative authority to be consistent with other city departments to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety.”

Omar argued in an Aug. 31 op-ed for the Star Tribune that the measure was a necessary step in ending police brutality and making communities safer. 

“The truth is the current system hasn’t been serving our city for a long time,” she wrote. “I have long said we need a public safety system that is actually rooted in people’s basic human needs.”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison also endorsed the measure last month, saying Minneapolis residents are eager for police reform and “accountability” after the murder of George Floyd in the same city last year.

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“Fundamentally, communities across [Minneapolis] need & want the possibility for reform & accountability, which the current Charter blocks by locking us into an outdated model for law enforcement and safety. They want to end the cycle of inaction,” Ellison tweeted Aug. 31

“This year the residents of [Minneapolis] have asked for and can take that first step of action on the ballot. As a resident of [Minneapolis] where George Floyd’s murder sparked a national call for real reform, I will vote Yes for greater public safety & more human rights for all. #Yes4Minneapolis.”

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