The police should no longer be allowed to handle their own public relations according to a recent, unanimous, vote by the Minneapolis City Council.
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted for a measure, Wednesday, to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) Public Information Officer (PIO) and move the position under city control. This measure requires a final vote on Friday before taking effect.
MPD’s PIO functions as a spokesperson for the department. The Council says that the standing PIO’s description of George Floyd’s death as “medical incident” very shortly after his passing destroyed the public trust to the point where the police should no longer be allowed to handle their own public relations. For this reason, pending a final vote of approval on Friday, the council has moved to eliminate the PIO, moving the responsibilities of that position under city jurisdiction.
The exact motion employed by the Council to potentially eliminate the PIO is authored by members Jeremy Schroeder and Steve Fletcher.
“We need to safeguard and rebuild public trust,” Schroeder said, in defence of the measure, per Fox 9. “And right now shifting these operations to the city rather than the MPD is one thing we can do to restore trust, and save costs in the process.”
It is unclear from the actual text of Fletcher and Schroeder’s motion (seen below) how this measure will save costs.
While the Council seems happy to take control of the MPD’s communications with the public, actual city officials say they don’t want the responsibility, per Fox 9 reporter Tom Lyden.
“I’m told the City’s communication staff doesn’t want this gig, they would have to respond 24-7,” he noted via Twitter. Lyden also questioned why “they (the Council) want to replace alleged MPD spin with their own?”
“Are we substituting the bias/agenda of cops, for the bias/agenda of the politicians? The former can be dealt with, the latter is a serious problem,” he adds.
The Council’s new apparent goal to limit the MPD’s communication with the people of Minneapolis comes as the majority of the Council favors an amendment to the City Charter which would defund or abolish the department.