The chair of the state’s Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage says she has grown weary of the killing.
“I am growing tired of saying this, yet it still needs to be said; we cannot afford to repeat outdated and unactionable solutions,” said Nerita Hughes, who also is a dean at North Hennepin Community College, in a written statement Thursday.
“We all have to seriously recommit to working on sustainable solutions,” she said.
The flashpoint for Hughes’ anger was the March 13 death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot at her Louisville, Ky., home during a botched police raid.
All three officers involved fired their weapons, but a grand jury on Wednesday indicted none of them in direct connection to the young Black medical worker’s death.
One officer, Brett Hankison, was indicted Wednesday, but only for recklessly firing his weapon into adjacent apartments. Hankison had already been fired by the police department.
“Breonna Taylor was peacefully resting in her own apartment,” Hughes wrote. “She had every right to assume that her life was not in danger. She had every right to believe that she was safe and protected in her own home. Tragically, that was not the reality of the night.”
Her 12-member council, which includes Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, advises the governor and legislators on issues confronting people of African heritage.
While Hughes’ statement contained no specific recommendations, she said it is past time for action to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the Black community, “through intentional strategies.”
“Something is wrong in this nation,” her letter says, “when the ‘justice’ consistently meted out to communities of African heritage does not match the justice this country purportedly stands for.”
The Louisville grand jury’s announcement led to immediate protests in that city, which turned violent. Two police officers were shot and seriously injured during demonstrations late Wednesday. A suspect was arrested.
Louisville Metro police confirmed on Thursday that 46 people had been arrested in connection to the demonstrations. There were protests elsewhere, too, including at the Capitol in St. Paul on Wednesday night. That protest shifted for a time onto Twin Cities freeways.
On Thursday afternoon, shortly before this issue went to press, Gov. Tim Walz, issued an executive order calling out the National Guard to help law enforcement keep the peace during a visit by Vice President Mike Pence at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Walz said that the move was requested by the city of Minneapolis. “The Vice President’s visit and continued concern related to the Breonna Taylor matter are likely to prompt public demonstrations and civil unrest,” the order says.
Thursday’s Pence appearance was billed as a “Cops for Trump” listening session.
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