SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Senator Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, DFL Lead on the Senate Judiciary & Public Safety Committee, released the following statement in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
“Let’s call this what it is. George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers. The first step is to hold all of the officers who were involved in the murder accountable for their actions. I am confident in my friend and colleague, Attorney General Keith Ellison, to prosecute this murder to the fullest.
“While we look to hold these police officers accountable for their actions, the protests carried out in memory of George Floyd by our communities of color and allies are the result of hundreds of years of institutional and systemic racism. I support peaceful protests and I will be working hard on policy and resources to create systemic change.
“For years, I and many others in the Legislature have worked to pass legislation to improve community conditions, community-police relationships, and to make the justice system more just. However, we have faced much opposition or lack of prioritization. Particularly in the past four years, the Senate Majority has failed to consider and pass much meaningful reform, despite repeated requests to do so. Perhaps this is explained by Leader Gazelka’s tweet that he wishes to make Minnesota ‘NICE again,’ demonstrating how little he understands that for many, Minnesota has not been ‘nice’ for generations.
“Finally, the letter on Monday from Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, illustrates the systemic problem perfectly. He somehow tries to justify the death of George Floyd as a deserving one because Floyd had a criminal history. This statement is disgraceful and sickening and is the kind of leadership – or lack thereof – that we cannot afford to have within our police departments if our police-community relationships are to systemically change for the better. Kroll should resign and the police officers in the Federation should elect leadership that values the life of everyone in the community.”