It isn’t the best time to be living in a large American city.
Throughout the country, it has become trendy to blame law enforcement for everyone’s problems, and community safety has suffered as a result.
Look no further than St. Paul, Minnesota, for an example of this phenomenon.
Alpha News reported last month that Ramsey County, which encapsulates the city, no longer will prosecute felonies stemming from “low-level” traffic stops. The county claims these, and similar, procedures have a history of harming minorities.
George Floyd, a black man, was killed in St. Paul’s twin city, Minneapolis, by white police officer Derek Chauvin while under Chauvin’s knee for several minutes on May 25 of last year in a killing that set off nationwide protests and calls for police reform.
This past April, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“As leaders in the justice system, we must step forward and fundamentally change a longstanding systemic injustice that has impacted generations of people in our community and across this country,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement on Sept. 8 of this year.
“Recognizing the role we play as prosecutors in perpetuating racial inequities that often result from these types of stops is an important first step in charting a new, less harmful course.”
These statements were corroborated by a collection of county officials and left-wing activists.
“We have a vision of a vibrant community where all are safe and healthy and valued and thrive,” added Toni Carter, the Ramsey County board chair, according to Alpha News.
“And we know we can’t get there with an us-them mentality. We are working to listen to those who have been involved in these traffic stops, who have experienced the building of records, based upon one incident after the other, to determine what really works for all of us.”
Choi said the policy would apply only for traffic stops based solely on consent. If there is a “dangerous condition” involved, authorities may continue to make arrests, according to the statement.
Nevertheless, the clarification didn’t win the county many friends beyond the police chief. After all, lawlessness is lawlessness.
State Sen. Warren Limmer, who represents portions of nearby Hennepin County, was particularly furious.
“It’s (Choi’s) job to put criminals away, not leave them on the streets,” Limmer told Alpha News. “Violent crime is still on the rise, and this is absolutely the wrong direction prosecutors should be going.”
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, one of the most powerful police unions in the state, sided with Limmer.
“Basically, the county attorney just announced his office won’t uphold the law and won’t prosecute those who break it,” the union said in a statement.
“Ramsey County residents be warned: those that break the law won’t even get a slap on the wrist — they’ll get a high-five from the county attorney and be left to commit more, and more serious, offenses. Reduction of crime and public safety for all should be our focus as the crime rate escalates — and this isn’t it.”
It remains to be seen how Ramsey County’s crime rates and general welfare will evolve. One thing is for sure, though: St. Paul residents are less safe now than before this mess started.
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