By Tom Weiler, candidate for Congress
The crime in the 3rd Congressional District and the greater Twin Cities is simply unacceptable. Our community did not get to this point in a vacuum. We are here today because of failed policies and failed leadership. When elected officials abandon law enforcement, promote progressive “zero or minimal bail” policies for those who commit violent crimes, and support the “Defund the Police” movement, criminals are emboldened and law enforcement is undermined.
Since May of 2020, carjackings and other violent crimes across the Metro have surged to levels never experienced before and murders in Minneapolis and St. Paul are at or exceeding the all-time highs. From the headlines of mid-day carjackings at Byerly’s in Edina, to drive by shootings in Golden Valley, to home invasions in Orono, to the murder of a 15-year-old boy in Minneapolis, the crime wave is real and impacts all of us. Minnesotans in the Third Congressional District and throughout the Metro area deserve a safe place for their families to live, work, and pursue their American Dream.
It is my goal to better understand the root causes of the crime surge, and to learn corrective actions we can take to improve the situation. While on the campaign trail meeting with constituents throughout the district, I have had an opportunity to speak with a number of police chiefs and law enforcement officers. Over and over, I have heard their calls for leadership and support from elected officials.
One statement particularly stood out during a conversation with a seasoned police officer regarding the role government leaders could play to address the current crime wave. The officer stated, “I am actually not sure where Congressman Phillips stands on policing.” To me, that said it all. A key member of our law enforcement team -- in a community experiencing a historic crime wave -- is unsure if he has the support of our Representative in Congress. That is unacceptable. Leadership is demanded in difficult situations, and Congressman Phillips is failing to show up.
Specifically, Congressman Phillips’ lack of leadership further enflames the “Defund the Police” movement, and his vote in support of The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act hurts law enforcement. In particular, the Act he supported would:
- Effectively defund policing in the district by imposing data collection and additional administrative requirements. Both of these demand significant police resources without providing any additional funding.
- Remove qualified immunity for police officers. Such changes in the law would allow an officer to go to prison and to lose everything financially for a good faith mistake while trying to defend and protect others. This proposal is already having a significant effect by pushing experienced officers to pursue different careers and limiting the quality and quantity of new recruits.
I do not support a bill with measures like this, and I will be a different kind of Representative than Congressman Phillips on law enforcement and many other issues.Read more