Sasha Cotton, the director of the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) in Minneapolis, loves the city’s armed black militia and wants to see fewer cops patrolling the streets.
Cotton and her department are at the forefront of a new $1.1 million initiative to create an unarmed civilian patrol force that could replace the police in some capacities. Meanwhile, she also supports a different, unofficial, armed black militia that carries out its own patrols around Minneapolis: the Minnesota Freedom Fighters.
“It’s their right to be out on the streets and it’s commendable,” Cotton told the Los Angeles Times, speaking on the Freedom Fighters for an article that ran Monday.
“It’s important to have men from the community step up for the community,” she said.
Gun-toting members of the group have been seen around Minneapolis and Minnesota more broadly, often marching down the street or acting as a makeshift security detail during protests.
An armed security force is now a regular sight at protests & patrolling certain streets.
Their objective is “not to be the police, but [to be] the bridge to link the police & the community together.”
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 24, 2020
Black Lives Matter! Oromo Lives Matter! We are one! S/O to @ygkz for the picture and S/O to 10K Foundation and Royce White for the protest. Also for the Minnesota Freedom Fighters for protecting us Qubee MN #blacklivesmatter #oromolivesmatter #oromoprotests #freejawarmohammed pic.twitter.com/dM5cS1LFBz
— Elemoo Qilxuu (@sanyii_Elemoo) August 31, 2020
It appears most Freedom Fighters wield AR pattern rifles, but many of them have not attached sights to their weapons and appear to lack other pieces of critical gear.
Also, its so funny how many of the guys in the “Minnesota Freedom Fighters” don’t even have sights on their rifles. pic.twitter.com/hMkkG3bQKk
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) September 22, 2020
Despite her recent support for an armed militia, Cotton was appointed to her previous position under the administration of former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, a staunch opponent of the Second Amendment.
Hodges was an adamant supporter of gun control throughout her four years as mayor. She once suggested that men who support the Second Amendment have small penises in a 2019 Twitter post.
Cotton was also promoted to her current position in 2019 under Mayor Jacob Frey’s administration. Frey has also been an outspoken proponent of gun control.
Cotton herself has signaled that she too believes there is an excess of guns in Minneapolis.