Embattled City Council President’s Announced Departure Emboldens Pro-Police Citizens Group

Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender insists she made the decision not to run for reelection in 2021 long before leading the charge to defund police in the days and weeks after the riots, arson and  looting that followed the death of George Floyd.

But members of the citizens group  Uptown Crime celebrated the surprise development by taking some of the credit for forcing Bender out after waging a relentless campaign to pressure the powerful politician for being soft on the violent crime wave plaguing their neighborhoods.

In just months, Bender went from 15 minutes of fame on CNN and other cable channels with her call to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department to persona non grata with increasing numbers of her constituents who view her as dangerously out of touch.

Uptown Crime posted hundreds of emotional comments welcoming Bender’s decision as a potential sign of more change to come on the Minneapolis City Council leading up to the election a year from now.

This page turned the tide and she quit with her tail between her legs before getting shoved out of office!

Thank God! Now we can elect somebody that actually cares about our city and the people they live in it.

Plus we Need someone who actually SUPPORTS our officers, firefighters, first responders!!! I am so sick of EveryoSo thrilled and relieved!!

We need somebody to run representing the interests of this group on a simple platform of crime reduction and business recovery after Covid and the riots. Too many people in my building have been victims of mugging just going for a walk at night…

We should have a going away party in her honor. I don’t think we should invite her or anything. But finally a reason to celebrate SOMETHING.

Bender’s antagonism toward law enforcement and perceived indifference to the mounting public safety threat got top billing in the Star Tribune coverage of the council presidet’s demise.

Her announcement comes at a time when many people are looking to the City Council for a clear plan on what it intends to do with the Police Department following George Floyd’s death, after its first attempt to replace it hit a roadblock.

Policing and public safety are expected to be top issues in the 2021 races for mayor and the 13 council seats. The election is still a year away, but many candidates are expected to announce their intentions this year to boost their opportunities for fundraising, or leave time for their successors to do so.

It didn’t take long for activists like Nekima Levy Armstrong to pile on, as well.

“At the end of the day, I think Lisa Bender was in over her head in terms of being able to address very complex issues surrounding public safety, race relations and police accountability,” she [Levy Armstrong] said.

While Bender still has a year left in office to target the Minneapolis Police Department, her clout at City Hall may already be waning. Despite Bender’s opposition, a city council committee voted yesterday to recommend bringing in outside police officers to help the MPD take back the streets. Could it be that Bender’s storied call to end the MPD in fact turned out to be the surprise end of her city council career?