Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, berated cops who are presently away from the job as many of those officers suffer from PTSD related to the George Floyd riots.
Ellison placed the blame for the recent uptick in violence squarely on cops recently, as he suggested that law enforcement has abandoned the city amidst his own council’s attempts to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). He then suggested that officers are lying about having PTSD because they hate the citizens of Minneapolis. Although he hedged this claim almost immediately, his words drew a sharp response from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA).
“As we’re seeing people losing faith in our … current public safety system, as we’re seeing communities needing support because of the increase in violent crime, we’re also seeing, quite frankly, our police force express a deep resentment of our city and abandoning our city,” Ellison said during a public meeting, per the Star Tribune.
“We’re seeing that in the form of officers either resigning or, you know, making claims of harm that they themselves caused and taking advantage of that,” he added.
This second half of Ellison’s remarks appears to be an allusion to the large number of officers who have taken leave due to PTSD after the riots triggered by George Floyd’s death. Many officers involved in the recent wave of PTSD say that poor leadership left them expecting to die as rioters overran a police station in late May.
A lawyer representing many of the officers who have filed for disability says that during the riots, cops “worked 12-hour-plus shifts for days upon days, without relief or clear leadership.”
Ellison immediately hedged his apparent claim that members of the MPD are lying about PTSD after Council Member Linea Palmisano pressed him on his controversial suggestion.
“I was referring generally to the fact that we do have officers for whatever reason, and it’s not my place to say what that reason is, but we do have officers who are rushing to find their way out of their obligation to our constituents in a myriad of ways,” he said, appearing to back off of his original claim.
Despite this, the MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters condemned Ellison’s remarks via a press release, Sunday.
“It is shameful for Ellison and other political leaders to make unequivocally false accusations of law enforcement. We shouldn’t downplay mental illness, and we shouldn’t denigrate the public safety needs of the community. We urge civility and honesty at the forefront as a way to work together to improve community safety and trust,” he said.
“To Councilmember Ellison: We’d strongly encourage you to learn more about the officers you slandered and the police department you wish to dismantle,” he added.