Police oversight discussion overshadowed by comments about police mistrust

Control over the Minneapolis Police Department is still up for debate and the conversation grew heated at a meeting Wednesday.

Right now, Mayor Jacob Frey has sole authority over the department, but a proposed plan could change all of that. The renewed discussion came about following the shooting death of Thurman Blevins.

Wednesday’s committee meeting was supposed to focus on this proposal to change who has oversight of the Police Department, but when it was opened to public comment, it quickly turned into anger about the Police Department, the officers that killed Blevins and more.

Most of the comments today didn’t want the Mayor or the City Council to have oversight, but rather the community. They wanted elected members of the community to serve as an MPD oversight committee.

Those speaking were mostly people involved in Tuesday’s protest, including Blevins’ cousin and sister. With them was the Coalition for Justice for Jamar, Blake Lives Matter and many others.

Those who opposed the majority were met with shouting and yelling for them to sit down and be quiet.

Some were able to speak in support of the police and the police chief.

“You are stalking us, the Police Department is stalking us,” said a resident. “Domestic terrorism and yes, Mr. Cunningham, it’s happening in your ward as well.”

“I’m talking about African Americans,” said another. “We dying, we dying, we fighting for our lives right now, not just by the police but by people in our own community. And that’s what’s going on.”

After five hours, the commissioners finally voted, moving the proposal forward. Friday, the full City Council will see the proposal again. More back and forth will be required to get the measure on the ballot in November. To do so, a decision must be made by Aug. 24.