The Minneapolis Police Department appears to have forgotten the cardinal rule of social media: Not posting is always an option.
Time to Log Off is a weekly series documenting the many ways our political figures show their whole asses online.
2021 was a tumultuous year for the irredeemably flawed Minneapolis Police Department. Former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, while his fellow officers kept an anguished crowd at bay; the department survived a grassroots abolition effort, only to have its chief — cited by anti-“abolish” politicians as the essential puzzle piece for meaningful reform in lieu of total dismantling — to announce he was leaving the force ASAP; violent crime surged, undercutting the pro-cop argument that the MPD was somehow the only effective bulwark against apocalyptic societal breakdown.
With all that in mind, I encourage you to try and imagine a worse, more offensive way for the Minneapolis Police Department to end 2021 than the following:
Please take a moment and really think about what you’re seeing here: The institution directly responsible for the death of George Floyd is now trying to frame itself as a participant in an effort led by the very community it traumatized in the wake of Floyd’s death. Chutzpah, thy name is MPD.
It’s easy to see this as a sort of sore-winner victory lap from a department that stands definitively un-abolished — a salt-in-the-wound effort to not only shoehorn itself into the healing process necessitated by its very actions, but to indeed take a modicum of credit for it too. At best it’s oblivious beyond comprehension. At worst, it’s a malicious attempt to grandstand in the wake of having survived a ballot measure to merely open up the possibility of replacing the department with something else by essentially saying, “Look at us! We’re here to stay, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Making matters worse is the fact that by gloating about its involvement in the George Floyd Memorial Holiday Classic tournament, the MPD essentially opened the floodgates for comments from the sort of people who would “like” a deeply problematic police department’s Facebook page in the first place. Which is to say: The post has been inundated with not-so-subtly racist retorts from people calling Floyd a “criminal” and a “thug” while comparing him to Charles Manson. And so the MPD gets to essentially have its cake and eat it too. Not only can they steal valor from a community trying desperately to heal from the pain they, themselves, caused, but at the same time they give a platform to those eager to revel in Floyd’s murder.
Perhaps 2022 will bring some serious, substantive, and long overdue change to Minneapolis and the way it takes care of its residents. To begin with, if the MPD is going to insist on sticking around, its first New Year’s resolution should be to remember that not posting is always an option. Better yet, they could simply log off entirely.