New crime stats call for changes

Two Minneapolis City Council members want the city to consider legalizing certain crimes to combat racial profiling by law enforcement officials.

Ward 2 City Council Member Cam Gordon and Ward 5 Council Member Blong Yang requested Minneapolis Police Department’s stop and arrest statistics after an initial assessment released last year showed a heavy racial inequality between whites and non-whites in the realm of low-level offenses, like lurking and spitting on sidewalks.

At a City Council meeting Friday, Gordon announced his intention to pass ordinances that would repeal lurking and spitting on sidewalks as ticketable offenses to bridge racial gaps.

Gordon said he requested the MPD perform more in depth research into  arrest rates and stops for various crimes last December. The statistics, collected in the months since,  found racial discrepencies in the two offenses. Data for regional differences has not yet been retrieved.

Racial inequalities in  arrest rates have plagued Minneapolis in at least the past five to six years as indicated by both a report by the American Civil Liberties Union and a follow-up analysis by the Minneapolis Police.

University Police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner thinks the proposed changes might not have positive outcomes, adding that University police officers rarely cite individuals for spititng on sidewalks, but often used lurking citations to deter crimes.

Part of the reason Minneapolis should keep the lurking ordinance is because there is no state law against lurking, Miner said.

For more information on the proposed repeals and racial profiling in Minneapolis and on campus, pick up a copy of Monday’s Daily.