An open letter to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, about the 'overworked' police

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wants to improve police-community relations... by adding a bunch more cops.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wants to improve police-community relations... by adding a bunch more cops. David Joles Star Tribune

Dear Mayor Frey,

In a recent interview with MPR, you stated that a key goal of yours is “to improve community-police relations.” You added, “Especially among communities of color.”

You then went on to discuss how incredibly overworked Minneapolis police officers are.

No. You don’t get to do that.

You don’t get to discuss how overworked officers are that are responding to 911 calls about a possible rape and shoot the first woman they see. Because there are plenty of overworked individuals that would help that woman rather than harm her.

You don’t get to use the term overworked as an excuse for a black man to be racially profiled, pulled over, and shot when fully complying with the instructions he was given. All with his girlfriend and young child in the car. Because overworked people don’t do that, racist people do.

And you most definitely don’t get to tell their family members and community that the men who shot and killed their loved ones are overworked.

Overworked looks like the moms of these young men and women that go to their jobs every day and still show up at city council meetings, legislator's offices, rallies, educational engagements and more to make sure their loved ones’ lives are not forgotten.

Overworked looks like community members that put in a full day of work, then volunteer with youth to help ensure they are on a good path and know their value.

Overworked looks like my black friends that fear driving home at night because they could be pulled over without cause and are forced into a continuous state of caution.

The most mind-boggling thing is that your answer to the tension is to put more officers in place.

How does a larger number of those who have hurt us remove tension?

I say these things to you as a white woman who has never had to live in this fear. A woman that the system has repeatedly worked for and with. And as a person who is more than aware that that’s not right.

So, I can’t be silent. Silence is complicity.

I won’t lie, you didn’t have my vote – but you’re the man in the office, so I’m asking you to do better. We are watching.