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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Katherine Kersten's Korner

Far from giving me a break, Katherine Kersten keeps on kranking out the krazy kolumns. Today's is all about why Minneapolis is going to Hell in terms of crime, or so she says. Isn't that wonderful?

Wingnuttia Level: 4 (Hidden agendas and bending of reality ahead)

The article starts by pointing out the fact that crime in Minneapolis has increased by 15% over the past year. Do I feel 15% less safe? Not so much. But I digress.

The way Kersten sees it, there are two reasons why crime in Minneapolis is getting so horrible. The first is all about the inefficacy of the Drug Court, or in other words, let's keep on fighting that War on Drugs and hope that this time we turn the corner (sound familiar?). It doesn't matter that the prisons are already overcrowded, we simply need to keep on throwing drug users in jail. Eventually, that might work!

The second reason is two-fold: racial profiling is frowned upon, so the police can't simply throw blacks and Hispanics in jail. Awww, that's too bad. Plus, the Civilian Police Review Authority is out of control, and it is so dang effective that police are intimidated. That would come as some surprise to all of those people who have been criticizing the CPRA as completely toothless, which is just about everybody.

A while back the City Pages did an article about how much Minneapolis has to pay out to settle police brutality lawsuits. In short, it is a huge amount of money relative to other cities. The problem, thus, would seem to be not that the CPRA is making officers apprehensive about doing their jobs, it is that Minneapolis police too often thump people for no good reason, and get caught doing it. Having worked around police before, I know that there is no reason why police should inherently be brutal. They can do an excellent job while not breaking any laws. I don't know why the Minneapolis police are less capable of doing that than other departments, but that's what needs to change. Declawing an already laughable CPRA is not going to help anything.

More police would help, certainly. More police that make connections with the community and did not use excessive force would help even more. Kersten's bold, old ideas really aren't going to help anywhere.

Update: Aha, maybe this is why Jeff Jindra, the police sergeant that Kersten quotes, thinks that the CPRA has too much power.

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