At town hall, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar boosts public safety amendment, blasts

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U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar told constituents at a town hall meeting Saturday that Minneapolis’ rise in gun violence and carjackings can be blamed on police who “have chosen to not fulfill their oath of office and provide the public safety they owe to the citizens.”

The congresswoman, who spoke before a mostly friendly gathering of about 50 at her alma mater, Edison High School in northeast Minneapolis, was responding to a resident who confessed she had been on the verge of moving due to the increase in crime and the scores of officers who have quit or claimed post-traumatic stress since the murder last year of George Floyd at the hands of police.

Omar, a DFLer, said she understood the desire for safety and reiterated her call to voters to approve a Minneapolis city charter amendment that would remove minimum police staffing requirements and give the City Council authority over a more holistic public safety department.

“When you have a system that refuses to work for the people it’s supposed to serve, you have to go back to the drawing board,” she said. “At some point, you’ve got to walk away.”

Omar and DFL Attorney General Keith Ellison support the amendment, while fellow DFLers such as Mayor Jacob Frey, Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith have said they oppose it.

Omar has lately thrown her weight into the Minneapolis election, endorsing mayoral candidates Kate Knuth and Sheila Nezhad while urging residents not to mark Frey, who is seeking re-election, on their ranked-choice ballots.

In her first indoor, in-person town hall since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Omar reported on the stalemate in Washington over President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, a massive…

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