Ward 2 and Senate District 65B Town Hall Follow Up

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our Virtual Town Hall.

If you were unable to join us live, the video is available on Senator Pappas's Facebook page and has been posted to YouTube.

For transparency, we have shared below a summary of the questions and comments sent in before and during our Town Hall Event. If you would like to speak to any of us about one of the questions asked, whether we were able to answer it during our discussion or not, please feel free to reach out to us directly. Each representative's contact information will be shared below. Questions directed to a representative on a specific issue have been forwarded to the representative directly. 

Questions, Comments, and Suggestions from our constituents and viewers:

  1. Can the three representatives discuss what parts of the criminal justice system, if any, are in their sphere of control, and sketch out that venn diagram of responsibility? For example, do the systems of (legislative) accountability for state troopers differ from those of local police? 
    1. If we defund the police at a state level, what do we do to divert or change federal funding that still occurs?
  2. Break up police unions/ federations
  3. What steps are being taken to move funding away from policing and towards public and community services
    1. Will this be included in the caucus's legislative response?
    2. Given the effect the Covid-19 crisis will have on our city and state budgets, can we commit to cutting funding for the police? If we don't defund the police, will we be defunding our communities, our schools and libraries, and mental health services and housing?
  4. How is the state reforming the criminal justice system
    1. Decriminalizing minor drug offenses
  5. What kind of investigations or 're-vetting' of our police officers are planned?
    1. What organizations will be running the investigations
  6.  What obstacles do you see in redesigning our public safety system?
    1. Many of your ideas sound promising. How do you go about figuring out if there are adverse unintended consequences and if so, what can be done?
  7. How can you as elected officials change the culture of a police department - the racist culture that you all seem to acknowledge exists?
  8. What alternatives exist for different types of police calls
    1. Opioid response teams
    2. Social workers for the homeless, fighting in Mears park
    3. Mental health professionals
    4. Do the police (with guns) even need to be involved in ANY traffic stop, broken brake light, expired license tab, parking ticket, speeding infraction, j-walking... fill in the blank?
  9. “How is this reform conversation any different than what had been said in the past???”
  10. For Senator Pappas: Will you be supporting Sen. Franzen's bill to provide emergency relief for immigrants and their families who did not receive federal support?  Are you optimistic at all that this will pass in the Senate? 
  11. What is your professional opinion on the Minneapolis city council's intention to disband the MPD?  Do you support defunding the police?
  12. What black community leaders and black-led justice organizations are you working with to address issues surrounding racism and police brutality in our city’s law enforcement?
  13. How will you lead to ensure that Minnesotans who fall through the gaps of federal stimulus grants, unemployment insurance, and other relief programs get the support they need to make it through this COVID-19 outbreak?
  14. Reforming bail/bonds to protect poor people who are often people of color
  15. 911 Operators should be able to flag the calls as possibly racist, based on caller language and descriptions. Alerting the responding officer that there may be a racial bias from the caller could potentially help resolve the situation in a peaceful and civilized fashion.
  16. Saint Paul needs to look at all the policies cops moved and supported while on city council...Bostrom and Montgomery.
  17. There is a one-sided nature of current police reform discussions, particularly in politically progressive cities like Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Defunding the police, or making it easier to prosecute officers, will lead to more crime and loss of life.

*Please note that some questions have been edited for language, clarity, or combined with repeated or similar questions.

 

Some people had difficulty hearing D'Andre Gordon during his remarks. He was kind enough to summarize his points in writing so we could share them here for everyone to read. The main points that he covered are as follows:

  • The legislature should reconsider giving the Attorney General and BCA more power because neither of these entities is free of legislative or executive control. People want justice, not politics. 
  • An independent inspector general or special prosecutor must oversee cases of police violence. 
  • I am asking that Councilmember Noecker pass the SAFE ordinance in its entirety including just cause. 
  • George Floyd’s murder is not just about police brutality. It’s about health inequities and housing disparities etc. 
  • Defunding the police should be considered a viable option. Defining the police does not mean we live in a society of lawlessness and no accountability. It means that we are reinvesting in community. 
  • The uprising we witnessed over the last two weeks is a collective expression of grief and trauma. 
  • To understand police brutality, we must first understand the history of police departments. Police departments are byproducts of slavery so at the root, police departments simply cannot be reformed.
  • The legislature must not use the POCI caucus proposals as a negotiation tactic. Adopt all the provisions in their current form. 

Our next steps:

City Council will be meeting with the Police Department on Thursday, June 25th, to discuss the future of the department and what action should be taken moving forward. If you have a specific question you would like me to ask of the Police Department please email them to me at ward2@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Minnesota House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Division will hold a remote hearing on Saturday, June 13th to consider the Minnesota Police Accountability Act of 2020, comprised of three bills by Rep. Mariani: Reforming Accountability, Reclaiming Community Oversight, and Reimagining Public Safety. More information on the hearing and how you can get involved can be found here.

 

Representative Contact Info:

Rebecca Noecker:
651-266-8620
ward2@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Representative Carlos Mariani:
651-296-9714
rep.carlos.mariani@house.mn

Senator Sandy Pappas:
651-296-1802
sd65iq@mnsenate.lmhostediq.com