Message from Council Member Linea Palmisano:
May 29, 2020
Like you the actions by the four officers that led to the murder of George Floyd leaves me disgusted and furious. I simply cannot fathom how someone who has sworn to protect the residents of this city, could act without humanity or empathy towards another person. George Floyd should be alive today. He, his family, his community and this city deserve justice. We need change at every level and we need it now.
I stand with Mayor Frey and Chief Arradondo in the decision to fire all four officers involved. However, that is only the first step in ensuring justice. Even if these officers are charged, tried and convicted, that is only yet another series of steps on a much longer list. Ensuring real justice means that we all hold each other accountable to ensuring lasting change.
We need swift action and we need to ensure that the change from that action sticks. Those two don’t always go hand in hand, and that is frustrating. Since Tuesday morning, I have spoken with elected leaders across our state, and local community leaders. I am present, I am calling on all levels of government in Minnesota to work with me and the rest of the City Council to make lasting, systemic changes. Many, many people are reaching out and I am doing my best to get back individually, but that must be balanced by my extreme focus on working and being on the phone with all levels of government, from my peers to our state offices.
Our police department, like every department in the city, should be a reflection of our values. It should serve the people and make us feel safe. I’ve supported Chief Arradondo in his vision of value driven public safety since he took over as Chief of Police. He has proven to me that he is the right person for the job. His core leadership team, in particular Deputy Chief Kathy Waite and Inspector Amelia Huffman- they are important change agents in transforming public safety literally across all of America. I believe in the principles our Chief is working to instill in this department. I believe those principles are a reflection of what our community wants in this department. Clearly those values were not shared by responding officers to 38th and Chicago Ave on Memorial Day. That is a problem that needs to be rooted out. I call upon each and every member of the MPD, sworn or otherwise, who doesn’t believe in this change to find a different career.
Moments like this are absolutely demoralizing. But we will not despair. I support those protesting and sharing their pain. Everyone has the right to express their grief and call for change. We must pay attention. Our city is hurting. I saw the pain and anger from folks as we gathered together at 38th and Chicago to mourn. I saw it when I was on Lake Street and across the metro as folks express their sorrow and call on us leaders for real change. I hear you. I am working with as many partners as I can, to find the most impactful ways to act in this moment that will have lasting effects and that do the most good. As someone steadfast in my work toward structural change in public safety, and have made it my top priority, I know how badly we need structural change in policing across our country.
Violence in our city cannot be tolerated, by anyone. We cannot allow violence against others and we cannot continue to destroy the community we have built and rely on to thrive. I do not support standing idle while our city is being torn down. Not just our precincts but our libraries, post offices, businesses, livelihoods… resources city residents depend on. The violence needs to end so we can find justice for George Floyd and strive for the changes our community is demanding.
Over the last 72 hours the City has experienced a large number of cyber-attacks that have resulted in disruptions throughout the city enterprise, including my office. The City has safeguards in place for these situations and has been working diligently to get those systems working again. If you have experienced issues getting in touch with me these past few days, we hope to have this corrected very soon.
Be safe everyone.