Violent attack spurs a welcome change of heart

Earlier this week, in broad daylight, Shivanthi Sathanandan was violently attacked and carjacked by a group of armed young men in the driveway of her Minneapolis home. The attack left Sathanandan with a broken leg, and cuts and bruises over much of her body. Her children witnessed the assault, and her neighbors who tried to come to her aid were allegedly robbed by the assailants as well. According to reports, Sathanandan’s car was abandoned and later recovered by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Notably, Sathanandan is the vice chair of the Minnesota DFL party, which for years has taken a soft on crime, reform based, public safety stance. It’s also the party that has endorsed the likes of local prosecutors and city council members who have championed soft on crime reforms and have openly advocated for the defunding of police and the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Sathanandan herself has been a vocal advocate of the “Defund the Police “movement. In 2020 she posted on her Facebook page with Minneapolis City Councilmen Jeremiah Ellison and Phillipe Cunningham.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.  Say it with me.  Dismantle. The. Minneapolis. Police. Department.”  

Not surprisingly, after the carjacking, Sathanandan has taken on a less than progressive tone. 

“I’m now part of the statistics. I wasn’t silent when I fought these men to save my life and my babies, and I won’t be silent now. We need to get illegal guns off of our streets, catch these young people who are running wild creating chaos across our city and HOLD THEM IN CUSTODY AND PROSECUTE THEM.”

Those who support law and order, and the value of holding criminals accountable, welcome Sathanandan’s change of position, and honestly wish her well. Perhaps something positive can come out of this tragic situation. It’s frustrating that tragedy must strike before eyes are opened to the value that strong unwavering support for law and order offers society. 

Also notable is that this story comes on the heels of yet another attempt by many on the left to suggest “crime is on the decline” in Minneapolis. Just this past weekend, the Star Tribune ran a story, shared on social media by the mayor and others, that parsed out crime data in an attempt to persuade readers that crime in Minneapolis was on its heels.

The truth of the matter is that the crime data in Minneapolis doesn’t accurately quantify or qualify the crime problem in 2023. Crime today has taken on a randomness and heightened level of violence that we’ve never experienced in the past. 

Throughout our history, it has been relatively easy to avoid becoming a crime victim in Minneapolis, by avoiding certain areas and avoiding certain activities at certain times of the day. All of that is out the window in 2023, and it has become a reality that doing things that have been traditionally safe like pulling into your garage with your children, walking your dog, going to the grocery store, or doing yard work is just not as safe as it once was — and no chart can change that.

Many DFLers and other advocates of the public safety reform movement have been effective in their efforts to undermine law enforcement and pressure criminal justice system partners to reduce accountability for criminal offenders. Their efforts have brought about a recruitment and retention crisis in local law enforcement, which can accurately be described as defunding the police through attrition. 

The Minneapolis Police Department is down nearly 300 officers since 2020 and continues to lose more officers each month than it can attract to the job. That is an unsustainable situation that makes the kind of attack Sathanandan suffered more likely to happen to others — and the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of those who have been so determined to undermine law enforcement.

Of course, the people who bear the brunt of violent crime in our state aren’t often DFL leaders, they are people of color living in some the worst situations our state has to offer. Their plight never seems to be enough to counter the war on cops effort.  Perhaps Sathanandan’s attack will serve as a catalyst for those on the left to place more value on strong law and order strategies. Time will tell.