On Thursday, the Minneapolis City Council approved $700,000 for settlements in lawsuits brought against the Minneapolis Police Department. With the latest settlements, the city will have compensated summer of 2020 protesters to the tune of $6 million. In addition to money, protesters who marched on the freeway to protest George Floyd’s death also extracted a commitment to alter the way police could respond in future crises.
If approved by Mayor Jacob Frey (and a court), the agreement will bar cops from using rubber bullets, mace, and tear gas to control crowds who are exercising their First Amendment rights, said an attorney for the plaintiffs, which included civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong and her husband, Marques Armstrong.
The settlement is the latest chapter in the anti-police movement fueled by Floyd’s death in May 2020. In addition to compensating protesters, the city has also awarded $100 million in grants to rebuild parts of the city that remain in shambles.
For more than two years, there’s been one narrative about the events that transformed the Twin Cities from a great place to live, work, and raise a family into a culture of lawlessness. There’s been just one version, offered by left-leaning politicians, enabled by like-minded media outlets, that took us from the death of Floyd through the trials of four police officers.
Until this week.
On Monday, Alpha News reporter Liz Collin published an expose on the events of that tragic summer. Written through her unique lens (an award-winning investigative journalist and wife of a veteran law enforcement officer), “They’re Lying: The Media, the Left, and the Death of George Floyd” reveals how political agendas drove decisions which exacted an enormous toll on Minnesota.
In a well-sourced account, Collin starts on Memorial Day 2020 and takes us through the trials of the Minneapolis police officers who went from serving the public to serving time. She shares facts and opinions we’ve not been privy to before.
It’s a deeply troubling account of failed — or strategic — leadership which catapulted claims of systemic racism into the international arena. Not an easy read, it’s a must read for anyone who wants to fully understand what occurred — and continues to occur — in our once peaceful and lawful state.
Gov. Tim Walz, Mayor Jacob Frey, former Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and Attorney General Keith Ellison — along with others — made choices about how to respond to the explosive situation that thrust Minnesota into the international spotlight. To advance a political agenda, they threw law enforcement to the wolves. And today, they continue to spend taxpayer funds to appease so-called “peaceful protesters” who blocked a major highway, while law enforcement agencies around the state grow smaller and more impotent.
Collin begins her story by recounting how a phone call on Memorial Day 2020 changed the trajectory of her life, both personally and professionally. A respected and popular anchor for WCCO-TV, Collin neither hid nor broadcast the fact that she was married to Bob Kroll, a veteran cop and president of the Minneapolis police union.
But, after Floyd died, her marital status became a focal point for anti-police groups. She and her family went through hell. They were targeted and victimized through a false narrative that cast them as Nazis and racists.
The death threats and protests at their home are deeply disturbing, as is her former employer’s response. But the account of what happened to the 3rd Police Precinct, home to the four officers who arrested Floyd, is particularly horrifying. It was our elected officials, not a mob of angry protesters, who made and executed the decision to sacrifice it.
As the city became a war zone, we saw the images on TV and social media. But we didn’t see much of our leaders. Even KARE-11 TV anchor Julie Nelson asked repeatedly, as images of looting and arson filled the screens, “Governor, where are you?” After all these months, we’ve yet to get an answer to her question.
As angry people took to the streets, officers stood in the rain for hours with no effective protective gear. They were pummeled with rocks and paint balls, aimed at their throats and crotches. They watched as the city in which many lived, and all worked — some for decades — was torched and looted as elected officials remained silent.
Officers described to Collin how, as they scrambled to respond to escalating violence, their leaders were nowhere to be found. Phone calls to their superiors went unanswered. Former police supervisor Kim Voss said, “When I would call the command post, there was nothing — crickets. There was just radio silence. Nobody answered and I never got a call back.”
And then, the unthinkable happened. On Thursday, May 28, officers were told to pack up the 3rd Precinct.
Through personal accounts of several officers, Collin takes readers through the chaotic period in which they scrambled to gather gear, wrote good-bye letters to loved ones, and fled the building. With virtually no protection, they ran through a hostile mob to reach a bus that was supposed to retrieve them — ½ a mile away.
Hundreds of police officers, including Samantha Belcourt, have left the police department. Belcourt loved her job. But, utterly demoralized, she couldn’t stay.
She told Collin, “I think the worst part is how I feel about my fellow officers who are still hanging in there — I mean honestly clinging for dear life, because they don’t have the option to move on. People forget that we’re human beings,” she said, “we’re not just a uniform.”
“One of the hardest things I ever did was send my resignation letter,” she said. “I worked so hard for my job. But when you feel like you can’t do it anymore — or you feel like you’re not wanted — it’s hard to go on.”
Caryn Sullivan is a retired attorney and author of the award-winning memoir, “Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page,” Caryn Sullivan has inspired readers with her thoughtful commentary for the past two decades. To learn more about Caryn’s work or to connect, visit carynmsullivan.com
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not represent an official position of Alpha News.