Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said in a new interview that it’s “not my job” to explain rising crime in Minneapolis amid her calls to disband the police department in her district in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“I am for disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department,” Mrs. Omar, whose district includes Minneapolis, told The New York Times magazine in an interview published Friday.
“Our police department is fully intact, while the crime rate is higher than it was last year,” she said. “That is not because of the department being disbanded. That is because of what? Where is the answer from the people who advocate not disbanding the Police Department? How do they answer the police still being there and this rise of crime?
“I don’t defend or explain the rise of crime,” she continued. “That’s not my job. The job of explaining the rise of crime falls onto the people who advocate more police, because we do have more police right now in Minneapolis and that crime continues to happen. The reality is that about 50 percent of homicides in the city of Minneapolis go unsolved. Rape kits have been destroyed by the Minneapolis Police Department. There is a crisis in credibility with the Minneapolis Police Department.”
Minneapolis is in line with a national trend that has seen murders on the rise in cities across the country. Police statistics show violent crime is up 17% in Minneapolis’s low-income neighborhoods so far this year, and 30% in the city’s higher-income neighborhoods, the Star Tribune reported.
The same city council that passed a unanimous resolution in June for a “transformative new model” of law enforcement is now searching for alternatives to disbanding the police department amid the uptick in violence.
In her interview, Mrs. Omar lamented that the Democratic Party had embraced a more “law and order” approach following months of nationwide racial and political unrest.
“I’ve always been baffled by the ways in which Democrats and the media have adopted the messaging narratives of the Republican Party,” she said. “This is one of the greatest examples of that. We have an ability as a party to stay with the narrative of what the root causes of these demonstrations are: the social and economic neglect that many brown and Black people have experienced in this country, the need to address police brutality and our ability to create proper investments in communities.
“We are not as disciplined and as confident in our base, in our policies, and that’s why you see the challenges to people who are progressive as soon as they get a national platform,” she continued. “Our party is running from its own shadow. It’s afraid of its own ability to resonate with the American people. We have allowed the Republicans to reduce our messages to their messages, which makes us fight on their battleground. I don’t know what is wrong with the political consultants that are advising any of these people, but it is quite devastating to see that this is where the conversation has gone.”
Mrs. Omar said she feels discouraged about the public discourse because there’s “a severe cognitive dissonance” among Trump supporters who hold a false sense of patriotism.
“Theirs is a party that has embraced violence and on top of that a president who has no respect for ethics, for the laws of this country, no respect for our military, for democracy, for counterparts to the executive branch,” she said. “And for some reason, they believe they are what it means to be American and to love our country. Everyone else, who is fighting to strengthen our democracy, to uplift those who are living in the margins of society, to rid us of the ills of our history with enslavement, is considered un-American, unpatriotic and not for the rule of law and not for order. It’s a very bizarre thing.”