Mayors Call For Calm, Not Violence
"As mayors of communities across the Twin Cities, we are shocked and deeply concerned about the recent shootings and violence on both sides of the badge locally and nationally. We firmly believe that every resident of our community, citizen and law enforcement officer alike, has a basic right to feel safe and secure in their community, on the street and on the job. Violence will not achieve that. What is most needed right now is calm and space for dialogue, for compassion and understanding.
We understand the feelings of many Minnesotans who are angry, frustrated or fearful; who seek racial justice, change to police practices and peaceful non-violent protest. We reject as unjust prejudice, bigotry, hatred and harassment due to the color of your skin or ethnicity. We appreciate also the challenges police officers face in protecting and serving the rights of all citizens. Verbal and physical violence in pursuit of these things is entirely unacceptable and it must stop. It solves nothing and undermines everything.
In the past week, the ongoing conversations in many city halls across the region about race, community policing and how to de-escalate potential confrontations, have understandably intensified. The Police Executive Research Forum, a national "think tank" for our country's police departments, acknowledged in a recent report the need to challenge and alter conventional thinking on use of force by local law enforcement. We agree.
Many of our communities, led by our police chiefs, have undertaken positive measures to see policing practice through the lens of others. A number of cities and local officials in the metro area have also been participating in the Government Alliance for Racial Equality. We are committed to continuing the local and national effort to achieve racial equity and address institutional racism in each of our communities. While such conversations are not always comfortable, they are critical to the health and vibrancy of our communities and our region.
Right now, we understand that emotions on all sides are raw and exposed. But we are Minnesotans. If we are to achieve the justice we all seek, we simply cannot afford to verbally and physically lash out at one another in times of high emotion. Rather, we must listen and act together to address the inequalities and conflict in our communities with courage, kindness and civility. Only this way, standing together and acknowledging the challenges before us, will we be stronger as individual cities, as a state and as a country."
Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris
Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire
Minnetonka Mayor Terry Schneider
Columbia Heights Mayor Gary Peterson
Eden Prairie Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens
Falcon Heights Mayor Peter Lindstrom
Savage Mayor Janet Williams
Shoreview Mayor Sandy Martin
Shorewood Mayor Scott Zerby
Inver Grove Heights Mayor George Tourville
New Hope Mayor Kathi Hemken
Chanhassen Mayor Denny Laufenburger