Red Wing City Council meeting last night voted to reconsider the most recent passage of Resolution 6873, which is supporting the National Fraternal Order of Police to request “[t]o expand the Federal hate crimes law to protect police…”  GOOD!  It will go to the Human Rights Commission for discussion.

It was passed that the meeting prior with almost zero discussion (except for a procedural sidebar about Resolution v. Proclamation!):

Listen to the Council’s discussion of 9/28/2015 HERE — video at 1:05 – 1:11

9B_-_Attachment_Sept 28 2015

FYI, assault of a police officer is a FELONY in Minnesota.  See Minn. Stat. 609.2231.

My concern was first raised listening to the Police Chief introducing it, when he spoke of the State Fair Black Lives Matter protest and hostile statements there, and statements in the cover sheet for resolution, that “The United States has seen an increase of hostility toward law enforcement over the past two years.” and “at a time when law enforcement is the target of criticism and violent attacks…”  … sigh… and it was a clear diversion from very pressing issues regarding police behavior and accountability.  What’s the need for this?  If a Black Lives Matter demonstration is used as basis for a resolution of this sort, if claims of “hostility” and “criticism” are the basis… no, this is a defensive maneuver, a step in the wrong direction, and shifting the focus from dealing with police abuse of power.

Phony basis?  Yup.  It’s about attacks on police officers?  Fact check!  Check out the details of officers who died on duty, search by year on the Officer Down web page.

And though 98 or 99 officers have died on duty, and 29 were indeed killed by gunfire, there is no indication of the number that would have the targeted premeditation required of a hate crime. Those are very few, and all are front page news triggering manhunts and fast arrests. The next highest category is “Automobile Accident” at 23 (not including 3 motorcycle accident and 1 aircraft accident), arguably 27 vehicular accidents. Next highest category, 16 died of heart attack on the job. Next is a tie with 5 each for 9/11 related illness and 5 struck by vehicle. This is not an unusual uptic.  The only thing unusual is that there’s a wave of public sentiment that police need to be held accountable.

In the first meeting where this came up, on the 28th, the intro part referring to the “Black Lives Matter” protest at the State Fair (also referred to by Peggy Rehder yesterday), and the written background cover sheet refers to “an increase of hostility toward law enforcement over the past two years” and “At a time when law enforcement is the target of criticism and violent attacks…” which are red warning flags that the NFOP agenda here is to uprate the hype when in fact police deaths are at lower levels, and where targeted killings are very few, and conversely, police being murdered are far fewer than the systemic pattern of police murders “over the past two years” that generates the demands for accountability and “an increase in hostility.” I’m glad they’re revisiting, since I’ve done the research and now will be able to put my thoughts together (this last week was a busy week) for the next meeting. This NFOP agenda is disturbing.  Police are trained in response, de-escalation, and use of deadly force (how, if, and when).  They’re held to a high standard, yet uncalled for and unlawful killings are rampant. Accountability is necessary, not a dodge and weave ducking of responsibility, liability, and resistance to change.

Listen to the Council’s discussion of 10/12/2015 HERE!  Video from 54 – ~115

And a few snippets (NOT a transcript!):

Lisa Bayley eloquently explained her concerns, and that the Council was to discuss specifically whether it was appropriate to take it up, and there was no discussion about it, and that must be done.  She said it should be referred to the Human Rights Commission.  And she noted that we already have laws in place, and thinks it paints a broad brush over something that’s very complicated.  It was given to us, was written for us, by an outside group, and she’d like to see us come up with something specific to our situation.  And so makes a Motion for Reconsideration.

Dean Hove seconded the Motion, with the same concerns, and thinks it should go to the Human Rights Commission.

Peggy Rehder would be opposed to having any discussion at Human Rights Commission without the Chief present at that meeting (that was resolved, would go on agenda at following meeting).  She’s looked at the Police Department facebook page, and she looked at who was commenting and “some of them were pretty interesting felons that don’t like what we’re proposing to do.”  (She knew they were felons how?  Someone with access looking them up for her?)  “The comments that I picked up, all of this stuff about piggies, and all of those kinds of things, I don’t think it was a huge deal for the National Order of Police to ask our police to do this, and for the FOP to ask the Chief to bring it forward, because I’m certainly not seeing… the people that I can identify just obviously don’t like the police, this isn’t going to change that one way or another.

Dean Hove – Supports Motion to Reconsider.  Would like to slow down and look at the last sentence at the bottom.  I don’t think anyone here doesn’t support the police… the wording on that last sentence is something that we really need to reconsider.

Peggy Rehder wants to know what sentence, Lisa Bayley wants to revisit that last sentence, the part about the hate crimes statute what it means.

Dan Munson wants to review that as well…

Peggy Rehder wants to know if it’s just that part, or if we’re going to rewrite the entire document.  I won’t support it if we’re going to go beyond that.  Wants to table that next resolution then, don’t want to not have any real positive thing, if we’re in agreement on that, then I can support it.  I’ve been amazed to see how many people are proud that we’re doing this, not bashing the police.

Dean Hove — I’ve reread it several times, we need to talk about that last sentence.

Ralph Rauterkraus – wants Human Rights Commission, and not just send it bac, but to encourage them to engage public dialog and public forums, these are issues that people feel emotional about, and I want to encourage them to speak out on that.

Roger Pohlman, Police Chief – “misperceptions” – some comments he’s seen on Facebook, wants to clarify some things.  Thought about how litigated and how much law enforcement has so much more than any other… all dictate rulings and trainings.  So many things that our department implement, that are not being considered.  Law enforcement believes that all life is valuable, and we look forward to working with all groups to help end the needless loss of life…  But I believe the end result must be that the needless killing on all groups comes to an end.

Dean Hove: That last statement is your best statement, that all killing needs to come to an end.  That is the biggest issue we have in this country as far as I’m concerned…

(Jason Sebion didn’t say a word, not unusual, but he seconded the Motion to approve it on the 28th!).

Voted unanimously to reconsider.  And at that time, they tabled a Motion (9B) to encourage our state Senator and Representatives to also lobby for “hate crime” status.

9B_-_Attachment_Oct12 2015

Here’s the full report in the Red Wing Republican bEagle:

Council pushes rewind button on resolution

The council voted Monday to reconsider the resolution it approved at its last meeting, which included a provision backing the National Fraternal Order of Police’s efforts to expand the federal hate crimes law to protect police.

Council member Lisa Bayley requested the reconsideration Monday.

“I felt that the main impact or main reason we voted on that resolution and what we discussed at length was support for the police and support for our local law enforcement for funding and support for the work that they do,” she said. But what has been highlighted is the federal hate crimes change.

Bayley said the council has made it a policy in the past to discuss whether it should take a position on specific state or federal issues, but that didn’t happen with this resolution.

“I think this matter should be referred to the Human Rights Commission before we take a position on something this important,” she said.

Details on the reconsideration, such as any revisions or other action, would come at a future council meeting.

Comments have flooded council members and city officials, including on the city and police department’s Facebook pages, since the Sept. 28 vote.

Mayor Dan Bender said many of the comments he has received have had an “us-versus-them flavor.”

“In Red Wing there shouldn’t be a ‘them,’ it’s just us, and it’s everybody here in town working together for the good of the community. We don’t need any more division,” he said. “My fear is that what we have unintentionally done by passing this resolution (on Sept. 28) is done nothing to help mend that division, and that perhaps our really well-meant support of the Red Wing Police Department might be unintentionally undermining that support in the community.”

Bayley said she wants the council to have the discussion and to decide intentionally whether to support the federal hate crimes change.

“I don’t think anyone sitting up here doesn’t support the police,” Council President Dean Hove said. “It’s just the wording of that last sentence I think is something that we really need to reconsider.”

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman said the department values collaboration with the community. He highlighted the community policing program and noted the avenues citizens have to voice concerns and complaints against officers or the department. He said Red Wing’s department, and others nationwide, work to be accountable.

“So when you express support of law enforcement, you are expressing support for the agencies and the officers that do the right thing,” Pohlman said.

Pohlman acknowledged that the numbers of officers killed by gunfire in the line of duty is down, but said attacks against law enforcement are at an all-time high.

He said any changes would be made after careful consideration and consulting with citizens.

“None of these things would be executed or implemented without great detail and consideration of other groups involved, but I believe the end result must be that the needless killing on all groups comes to an end.”

Council members tabled a request to the area’s state lawmakers to introduce a bill considering crimes against peace officers in Minnesota a “crime of bias” and to adequately fund a program that provides reimbursement for protective vests.

It will come up again when the original resolution of support is discussed.

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