SAINT PAUL, Minn.— Senator Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, released the following statement in response to the weak criminal justice reform bills from the Senate Republicans that were passed off the floor today.
“The Senate Republican criminal justice reform bills lack accountability and are missed opportunities to make fundamental change. The Senate Republicans refusal to work with the People of Color and Indigenous People (POCI) caucus and their complete disregard for the concerns and ideas from the communities affected by racial disparities and police brutality revealed how they’d rather play partisan politics than to work towards criminal justice reform.
We need real, meaningful change within our criminal justice system in order to hold systems accountable and keep our communities safe. It’s just not enough to pass weak performative legislation to say you did something. The Senate Republicans failed to listen to people of color and especially Black people, they instead took the easy way out by rejecting a majority of a comprehensive package of police reforms led by the POCI caucus (founded in 2017) and a task force led by state Public Safety Commissioner, John Harrington and Attorney General Keith Ellison.
We want to end police brutality, which is happening all too often in our country and in our state, particularly within our communities of color. We are not asking to defund the police. We need to support our officers by providing the best training and policies to work with our community and vulnerable Minnesotans. We need to acknowledge that the trust between law enforcement and many members of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) right now is very fragile. Restoring trust in our communities will take time, but we must do so immediately. We can’t wait for the next person to fall victim to unjustifiable violence from a broken criminal justice system, like it tragically happened to George Floyd, to do transformative reform.”