“…and it needs to stop”

Chief of Police Brian O’Hara addressed the media last night after Minneapolis Police Officer Jamal Mitchell was shot and killed in an ambush earlier in the evening. 

“It’s become too easy to attack our police, and it needs to stop.”

The statement begs the question “why has it become too easy for people to attack our police?” 

The answer of course is that our “progressive” political leadership has for years been bowing to the absurd activist voices in our state calling for the “dismantling” and “defunding” of law enforcement, while simultaneously demanding that our justice system become even less consequential.

Just this legislative session the DFL dismissed amendments to public safety funding that would have allowed law enforcement to purchase protective armor, and introduced legislation that would have eliminated mandatory minimum sentencing for felons in possession of firearms.

When one gets past the rhetoric coming from the progressive left, it’s clear where they stand on issues of public safety. 

The result of this all this misguided and opportunistic politics has been the creation of an “open season” on our streets, where criminals have been emboldened like never before, and our law enforcement has been undermined, dehumanized, and completely demoralized. 

The anti-police activists in our state, much of our media, the citizens who have bought in to their message, and the politicians these citizens have elected have figuratively dislodged a destructive boulder at the top of a tall hill — seemingly oblivious to the fact that our peace officers and the collective community sit in the path of that very boulder. 

Many of us have been speaking out for years about the danger of undermining and dehumanizing our law enforcement. We are seeing the results of not heeding those warnings. Stopping the boulder is going to be far more difficult and dangerous than it was for progressives to dislodge it, and a great deal of good people will be hurt in the process. 

Officer Mitchell’s murder, and the wounding of another Minneapolis police officer and a firefighter adds to the devastating number of law enforcement officers and now firefighters who have been shot in our region in the past 18 months (at least 20 by my count) and it comes just months after the horrible murders of two Burnsville police officers and a firefighter.

This is a level of violence towards our first responders that we have never seen in our history, and it should deeply trouble us.

Officer Mitchell

Officer Mitchell was 36 years old, and was a year and a half into a promising career. He was a son, a fiancé, and a father. 

Just days into his police career Mitchell was commended for saving the lives of an elderly couple trapped in a house fire. In response, Mitchell was quoted as saying, “Get there and do what we can to save lives. That’s what I got into law enforcement to do; save lives and serve the community.”

Officer Mitchell’s life mattered, and he lived his life in a manner that deserves our respect and honor.

Sadly, four years from now there will be no gubernatorial proclamation in his honor, the city will not dedicate an intersection in his honor, and his family will not be the recipient of calls from the President, or a multi-million-dollar settlement. 

No one goes into law enforcement expecting such a response, but the slap in the face irony of it all should cause us all to re-evaluate how misguided we have allowed things to get.

What we know at this point

At about 5:30 pm last evening Minneapolis Police were called to an apartment building on Blaisdell Ave South just south of West Franklin Ave, on reports of a shooting. 

Officer Mitchell was one of the responders from the city’s 5th Precinct. As he neared the call location, he spotted apparent victim(s) a block or two away and began attempting to help them. One of these people he attempted to help ambushed and fatally shot Officer Mitchell. Another Minneapolis police officer arrived and exchanged gunfire with the assailant. The assailant was shot and killed, and the officer, a firefighter, and another citizen were injured by gunfire at this scene. 

Back at the apartment where the incident began, police found two people injured by gunfire, one fatally.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) responded to conduct the follow up investigation.

The history of the assailant will be important for us to evaluate. If he was like so many others who are on our streets committing acts of violence, it won’t be surprising to learn the justice system has had many opportunities to remove him from society but hasn’t. 

If that turns out to be the case, it will add to the justification for a far more consequential approach towards offenders by of our justice system.

Photo Credit: Minneapolis Police Department