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Civil Rights Leaders Against Using Minneapolis Foundation To Address Police Reform

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Several civil rights groups say they're not happy with how Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey plans to address police accountability in the city.

Several community leaders came together to say they do not want Frey to turn police reform and accountability over to the Minneapolis Foundation, which is lead by former Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Instead they want a civilian council of community members to have power and make decisions when it comes to police accountability, emphasizing they want this council to be made up of people of color.

"Many of the officers who killed people under Rybak's watch are still on the force today," civil rights lawyer and community activist Nekima Levy Armstrong said.

These leaders argued that Rybak's foundation doesn't have the expertise on police brutality. They cited his tenure in office, saying Rybak did not do enough to hold officers accountable.

"We are saying to R.T. Rybak you failed us, you're not an expert and you are the exact reason we're in this situation," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN, said.

Frey's spokesperson, Mychal Vlatkovich, gave WCCO this statement:

The Minneapolis Foundation has the resources and expertise to play important roles in taking on the serious public safety work ahead. Their leadership team has agreed to lend support for legal and policy research that will help inform considerations by each of the city's taskforces – but the deliberations and decision-making will remain squarely in the hands of community and local officials.

The Minneapolis Foundation released the following statement:

The Minneapolis Foundation stands with this community's overwhelming calls for dramatic police reform, now. Our ongoing investments in criminal justice reform include grantmaking, events and learning collectives, research, advocacy and policy work, including increased police accountability.

Within our broad body of ongoing work on criminal justice reform, we have identified two additional opportunities to date for action on Minneapolis police reform:

    • Potential investments in research-based technology to track officer performance and promote early intervention when problematic behavior is detected.
    • Leveraging our national network of experts on criminal justice reform, connecting these experts with local civic and community leaders, including the City of Minneapolis.

Going forward, we will continue to listen closely to our partners across the community, especially those most impacted by racial injustice.

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