MINNEAPOLIS — Front-runner of the Minneapolis mayoral race, State Rep. Raymond Dehn’s personal history has some members of the community scratching their heads over Dehn’s latest comments on police.
In 1976, when Dehn was 19-years-old, he was arrested and convicted of armed robbery. According to the site turtleroad.org, Dehn is quoted as saying he got involved with cocaine and “needed money to support his habit.”
In Dehn’s story, he credits this arrest for armed robbery as his saving grace.
“Where I was heading, I would not have been on this earth much longer,” Dehn is quoted as saying. “I had started to associate with people who were carrying guns and I was starting to use drugs intravenously. People who work with addiction tell me I was heading for disaster.”
Dehn spent seven months in a Hennepin County workhouse before entering a drug treatment program at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
Dehn was later pardoned by former Minnesota Gov. Al Quie in 1982 and had his record expunged, changing his life for the better.
As a mayoral candidate, Dehn now advocates for the disarmament of some, if not all Minneapolis police officers.
Over the weekend, Dehn made two comments about law enforcement following the resignation of former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau.
As reported by Alpha News, Dehn first called for officers to be disarmed on Friday.
“Crime is not a product of individual morality but the consequence of scarcity in our society,” Dehn said in a press release. “We must divest resources, disarm officers, and dismantle the inherent violence of our criminal justice system which continues to uphold white supremacy. Our approach to public safety must reflect a belief that our communities are safer when they have housing, clean air and water, access to education and employment, and quality healthcare.”
On Saturday, Dehn backtracked on his statements after receiving criticism by clarifying, “I support demilitarization of our forces. I support rethinking whether every officer needs to carry a gun. I believe public safety will be best served if fewer officers carry guns…I am not advocating against officers having access to a gun in situations–such as when encountering a deadly weapon–where they need to be armed to keep themselves and others safe.”
Dehn’s campaign did not respond to our request for comment in time for publication.