A harmonic convergence of villainy in Minneapolis

People in Minnesota are waking up in shock over the widespread fires and looting in Minneapolis, a city previously best known for its beautiful lakes and parks and thriving collection of large corporations that have pledged to give 5% of their profits to charity.  It's not exactly Baltimore, so the notion that rioters would try to burn the place down was alien to the state whose people are known for "Minnesota Nice."

This morning, local television reporters can't conceal their dismay and shock at what is happening to their city:

KSTP TV screen grab.

It's a serious comedown, enough to shatter the smugness that characterized attitudes toward larger cities.

There are no heroes in this story, only villains.  Minnesota Nice is nowhere to be found.

Start with the four now ex-cops, who participated in the brutal, slow killing of George Floyd as he begged for help.  Derek Chauvin's knee crushed a handcuffed suspect's neck for several minutes while his three colleagues stood by and did nothing to stop him.  The Minneapolis Police Department apparently maintained a culture that led three cops to tolerate a colleague in behaving this way.  "Unprofessional" doesn't begin to adequately describe the failure to train and condition the behavior.

This is not the first time the MPD has hired and trained a rogue who killed a civilian.  Justine Damond, a white woman, was killed by a black Somali-origin cop three years ago in an incident that exposed a lack of adequate training and supervision for a policeman who was regarded as a showcase of integration of recent immigrants into the community.  Notably, no riots or even mass protests resulted from that case of inter-racial police brutality.

Twin Cities residents Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker of Powerline characteristically offer the most insightful commentary to be found this morning.  Scott writes:

Frey and the rest of the political crowd tried to get out in front of the crowd in Floyd's apparent murder. Frey called for Chauvin's charging and arrest now, before the completion of the pending investigations. Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison all spoke to Floyd's death at the daily press briefing yesterday. They could barely bring themselves to discourage rioting or violence. I will post the video in my daily coronavirus update.

In his remarks Governor Walz paid tribute to Ellison's "civil rights work" decades ago. I'm not sure exactly what Walz was referring to, but Ellison made his name in Minneapolis as a racial hustler for the Nation of Islam. He led protests on behalf of the Vice Lords gangbangers on trial for the 1992 murder of Minneapolis police officer Jerry Haaf.

Fast-talking Governor Walz, "light-skinned Native American" Flanagan, former Nation of Islam leader Ellison — this is a parade of clowns and, in Ellison's case, a malefactor. They go this far: they urge protesters to use masks and employ social distancing. Will any of them call out the violence for what it is and do something about it?

The scene is surreal.

John adds an important perspective.  All of the many villains above the street cops — the people responsible for training, supervising, and governing the cop — are leftists  

The City of Minneapolis has been governed exclusively by liberals for decades. The current mayor, Jacob Frey, who was quick to denounce his own police department, is a left-wing Democrat. The Minneapolis City Council consists of Democrats and Green Party members who think the Democrats are not radical enough. Under left-wing leadership, Minneapolis has been governed abysmally for a long time. Its police department is but one part of an incompetently governed city.

The issue isn't actually one of race. The last Minneapolis Police Department killing that made international news was the shooting of Justine Damond (white) by Mohamed Noor (African-American) for no apparent reason. The MPD has long been troubled, and its current Chief is African-American. The issue isn't racism, it is incompetence.

A rational person might ask: given that Minneapolis has been governed by liberal Democrats for decades, and is now a mess in a multitude of ways, including the fact that its police department has been involved in one fiasco after another, why don't we try something different? Why don't we go back to electing Republicans, as we did decades ago? When Republicans governed Minneapolis, it was generally regarded as a model city–prosperous, progressive and remarkably crime-free. Isn't it time to draw the curtain on decades of failed leadership, exemplified by underqualified leftists like the current Boy Mayor, Jacob Frey?

Having grown up in Minneapolis but not having lived there for half a century, I can add a bit of historical perspective.  Until Hubert Humphrey became its mayor in 1945, Minneapolis was a corrupt city, notable for its anti-Semitism.  Humphrey, to his everlasting credit, launched a reform movement and reconfigured its politics.  For a couple of decades thereafter, it supported a vigorous two-party system.

But with the transformation of American politics that derived from the Vietnam War (which ultimately torpedoed Humphrey's bid for the presidency), Minneapolis drifted into one-party dominance and its inevitable corollary, corruption, and incompetence.  Add in the poison of identity politics, and you get today's tragic situation.

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