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MSA leaders demand UMPD withdraw from countywide policing task force present at Daunte Wright protests

Student government leaders wrote a letter to University administrators asking them to cease their involvement in the West Command Task Force, a group composed of 35 police departments from across Hennepin County.
Image by J.D. Duggan
Protesters are greeted by a crowd of law enforcement in Brooklyn Center on Monday following the police killing of Daunte Wright.

After officers from the University of Minnesota Police Department were deployed during protests over the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, student leaders are demanding that UMPD withdraw from agreements to participate in “riot” control.

UMPD is a part of the West Command Task Force, a group composed of 35 police departments from across Hennepin County. The Task Force formed after the police killing of George Floyd to assist member police departments “in the event of an emergency that exceeds their own capacity,” according to a campus-wide email from President Joan Gabel.

Gabel said all 35 police departments responded to the protests in Brooklyn Center Sunday night. All departments pledge 10% of their force to assist one another when needed.
“UMPD participates in and is committed to this collaborative group to assist these other jurisdictions in need of immediate police support and with the understanding that this group will assist the University when needed,” Gabel said.
Undergraduate student body president Amy Ma and vice president Sophronia Cheung, along with incoming president Abdulaziz Mohamed and vice president Samiat Ajibola, authored a letter released Monday and started an email campaign to collect signatures demanding UMPD’s withdrawal from the West Command Task Force.

“In response to Wright’s death, protesters emerged on the streets of Brooklyn Center and were confronted with excessive violence from police forces and the National Guard,” the letter reads. “As members of the University of Minnesota community, our rage is heightened by the fact that twelve University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) officers were present at the scene in full riot gear. UMPD’s actions are unacceptable.”

The letter was released as protesters gathered in defiance of the 7 p.m. curfew to protest police brutality Monday night. Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly and attempted to disperse the crowd with tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades, according to the Star Tribune.

The task force asked for assistance again Monday night during the multi-county curfew, Gabel said.

In May, UMPD broke off some collaborations with the Minneapolis Police Department in response to the killing of Floyd and a letter from then-undergraduate president Jael Kerandi. Gabel announced that the University would no longer contract with MPD for law enforcement support during large events or for specialized services.

Student groups, such as Students for a Democratic Society, have taken to social media calling for justice and action from the University to establish police accountability.

“It is unacceptable and deeply disturbing that time and time again, we see our campus police in full riot gear, ready to suppress protests across the Twin Cities,” read a statement on the student group’s Instagram page.

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  • Tom
    Apr 15, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Nope. It’s that you’re literally a crazy person

  • A Gopher
    Apr 15, 2021 at 10:26 am

    It’s Dr. A Gopher, actually!

  • megamillionfreak
    Apr 15, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Eat our white man pants, racist trash.

  • Dennis Hejhal
    Apr 14, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    That Lake Street video by Mike Max from last year is excellent. I remember it well. [People can google: they will not be overtaken, wcco].

    I do _not_ disagree with it. Arson, especially, is a very serious matter. I assume your 4:35 marker referred to the longfellow market. Glad that the market could stay open, continuing to serve residents of the local community.

  • Dennis Hejhal
    Apr 14, 2021 at 7:36 pm


    Thanks for your detailed reply. It is appreciated.
    I think the issue is what I said: ‘can’ and ‘should’.

    My late cousin, a wonderful man (deceased much too early), was a police officer in Chicago in the CPD for nearly four decades.

    I agree with your words about MLK.

    Best, D

    ps: I was under the impression that student tuition is a nontrivial part of funding UM operations, including the UMPD. Did you mean to omit that source? (thx.)

  • Richard Turnbull
    Apr 15, 2021 at 12:09 am

    The white racist “Umbrella Man” who was arrested last year found that out, as did several “Boogaloo Bois.”

  • Richard Turnbull
    Apr 15, 2021 at 12:04 am

    Yeah just like the fascists always claim they aren’t fascists. The main reason right-wing kooks like you hide your posting history is because you’re on Breitbart and the Daily Caller and Stormfront post preposterous bilge, then you can lie about it.
    Blocked, for being an inane, incompetent liar.

  • Dennis Hejhal
    Apr 14, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    (duplicate of previous post, apart from saying: “I like Mike Max”)

  • praiseinterracialmarriages
    Apr 14, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    Dennis, UMPD is paid by the State of Minnesota. and by taxes from state residents. I am fully aware of the financing funnel that the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and Board of Regents has in their effort to finance the University of Minnesota.

    I was a student senator in the 1990’s, and have been active in politics since 1979. I pay attention to the newsletters of my elected officials, and was an advisor to both the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners and to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s office from 2012-2015.

    The University of Minnesota should come to the aid of the Brooklyn Center community, as it should come to the aid of other communities which need back-up in times of emergency. We people not so emotional and violent, and were there more peaceful protesters and apt leaders in the civil protest movement, as there was when Martin Luther King, Jr., was alive, we wouldn’t need to resort to officers clothed in protective gear with batons. Their presence is not to stop peaceful protesters, but to deter and respond to people who become aggressive and violent.

    I have been both a critic of several officers (as individuals), as well as a supporter of the majority of officers who have good attitudes and who put themselves on the line every day, not knowing if they will come home alive after their shift. My uncle was a UMPD officer, and several UMPD officers were cruel to me during my time as a student when I reported that I was being stalked, harassed, and beaten over a two year period. I finally developed a great relationship with the then new associate vice president of campus health and safety, who supervised the chief and the command as an executive. I haven’t spoke to Paul in over a year, but our friendship lasted for over thirty years.

  • praiseinterracialmarriages
    Apr 14, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    A Gopher…. Go back into your hole. Your statements are off the wall and untethered from the discussion. The officer who shot Daunte Wright has been charged with 2nd degree manslaughter, as was Derek Chauvin. Never again refer to me as “Barry,” but as “Mr. Peterson.” We do not have a casual or personal relationship, and you have never earned my respect as one who offers other than extremist views. A young White man would not have been shot for having expired tags, air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror, or been put in handcuffs after trying to have his mom verify ownership of the vehicle. I suggest therapy. It helps us learn to make better decisions and related well with society.

  • A Gopher
    Apr 14, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Look up the video “They shall not be overtaken” on WCCO. I appear around the 4:35 minute mark. If you want to find out try looting tonight!

  • Tom
    Apr 14, 2021 at 9:21 am

    You’re an idiot

  • Tom
    Apr 14, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    I’m not right wing.

  • Richard Turnbull
    Apr 14, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    From your perspective as a right-wing lunatic, of course!
    ROTFLMAO You people are hilarious!

  • Tom
    Apr 14, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    You have obvious mental problems

  • Richard Turnbull
    Apr 14, 2021 at 11:25 am


  • Tom
    Apr 14, 2021 at 10:37 am

    It’s a good thing no one on the face of the earth cares about you or what you think about anything.

    Literally no one.

  • Richard Turnbull
    Apr 14, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Drop dead, wingnut.

  • Tom
    Apr 14, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Stop talking

  • Dennis Hejhal
    Apr 13, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks, Barry! I already knew this info. People have differing views about UM and on what a university should be — or be involved in. The words ‘can’ and ‘should’ do not mean the same thing. That’s my point. Remember too that UMPD officers are paid by UM. Best, D

    PS: I did not say all officers are criminal. Where did you get that from? I don’t believe this; such a statement is absurd.

  • Richard Turnbull
    Apr 14, 2021 at 2:04 am

    Did you ever meet Donald Trump? He is so decent, GOP senators just honored him with a “Champion of Freedom” award for his efforts to incite a seditious insurrection and overturn a democratic election he lost by over 8 million votes and an Electoral College landslide. Show some respect!

  • Richard Turnbull
    Apr 14, 2021 at 2:01 am

    TeKeith Jones was not a law enforcement officer sworn to uphold the law. Community groups of various kinds across the USA have been working to stop domestic violence, and the anti-Asian violence by whites , blacks, and others has also been vigorously denounced by whites, blacks, and others.
    None of your little historically and sociologically ignorant rant supports the bizarre claim that the protesters “are the racist people,” either.

  • praiseinterracialmarriages
    Apr 13, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    UMPD is a state law enforcement organization and already has authority to arrest people or issue warnings and citations anywhere in the State of Minnesota. The mutual aid pact is like NATO, ANZUS, and the Three Musketeers: All for one; one for all.

    This is not a legitimate concern: This concern is based on poorly thought out emotional responses to a tragedy and a gut reaction to the thought that all officers are criminal. Only a small percentage of officers are creating problems and acting in a criminal manner. Please see the forest for the trees.

  • praiseinterracialmarriages
    Apr 13, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    The University of Minnesota Police Department, without the Pact that is noted in this article, has authority to patrol and arrest anyone in any part of the State of Minnesota with justifiable cause. While most officers at UMPD were exceptionally rude to me in 1988-1989 when I was being beaten on campus during those two years, being stalked and harassed with the effects disintegration of my GPA and the loss of a job at Mayo Building, I am also the nephew of a retired UMPD officer, and hold dearly my past association with former University of Minnesota Associate Vice President of Campus Health and Safety Paul Tschida, who supervised the Chief and command after poor behavior was noted in previous leadership and activities in a command that had problems since at least the 1960’s when a foreign student from a former royal family was on campus and witnessed the abuses and bigotry which existed while he was pursing his master’s in public health at University of Minnesota.

    UMPD officers assigned to riot squad duty in Brooklyn Center are offering their assistance to both deter crime and to respond to criminal behavior of protesters who become rioters. Force is necessary, as it was evident that protesters who turned into rioters and looters in May 2020 all over Minneapolis and Saint Paul damaged property, stole property, and destroyed family and larger corporate businesses, financial institutions, and vehicles. But if you don’t mind your car or your family’s business or workplace being destroyed, power to you….

    Perhaps a more apt and intelligent use of time, energy, creativity, maturity, behavior and communication would be to train protesters to not engage in illegal behavior. I support the right to protest, and other First Amendment rights. However, people’s property and lives are at risk when others get out of hand and become criminally abusive. Most businesses do not have insurance to cover the cost of losses associated with rioters and looters. I support officers who must physically respond to aggressive people who don’t know the difference rioting, damaging and stealing property, and peaceful assembly and non-violent protests, as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Daisaku Ikeda have advanced in their leadership. Ikeda is the president of the largest Buddhist lay community in the world, and operates out of Japan, but has a global following of about twelve million members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lay Buddhist community.

    The officer who killed Daunte Wright resigned her position this week, as did the Brooklyn Center police chief.

    Barry N. Peterson
    College of Liberal Arts, Class of 1996
    Former Student Senator, 1991
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Dennis Hejhal
    Apr 13, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    A Gopher: At least I generated some discussion in the Daily. Most of the time, the MnDaily is simply ignored. I liked your line “come protest in my neighborhood and find out….”

  • A Gopher
    Apr 13, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Barrys got you there Dennis. Maybe think a bit before spouting your mouth Hejhal!

  • A Gopher
    Apr 13, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Barry, thank you for your well-thought and poignant contribution. I do believe that not all police are good people, but I’ve never met a criminal that demonstrated a shred of decency.

  • A Gopher
    Apr 13, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Exactly, what about D’Zondria Wallace and her three children who were shot to death by TeKeith Jones? Zero outrage, zero protests. Why? Well, you all are supposedly here to learn to what conclusion can you draw from the available evidence. It’s the in thing to hate on cops, but why do you all ignore black criminality who are now targeting asians? You all are the true racists! This latest incident in Brooklyn Center had nothing to do with race, yet here we are again listening to woke af students spin spin spin things to always be about race. You are the racist people!

  • A Gopher
    Apr 13, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    You can’t expect these spoiled children to understand the difference. Remember when there weren’t enough police brutality incidents so an MSA member manufactured a story and received zero punishment. Well, I do, and I don’t care what MSA thinks because they never sanctioned or policed their own so they have given me no reason to treat them with any respect. Come protest in my neighborhood and find out what happens!

  • CapnRusty
    Apr 13, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    “In response to Wright’s death, protesters emerged on the streets of Brooklyn Center and were confronted with excessive violence from police forces and the National Guard,”

    Did the police forces attack the protesters without provocation, or were they responding to attacks from the protesters? Everyone with an I.Q. above room temperature knows the answer to that question. The police were there to preserve order. The protesters were there to create disorder — otherwise they wouldn’t get in the news.

  • Tom
    Apr 13, 2021 at 10:44 am

    Oh wow more meaningless demands from activists who see this as an opportunity to increase their profile.

    Do you have any idea how many people are shot to death in this country every day? But I guess their lives don’t matter because they can’t be exploited for political purposes. The performative grief these idiots are pretending to feel sooooo deeply is pathetic.

  • Dennis Hejhal
    Apr 13, 2021 at 3:52 am

    Thank you MSA for raising this very legitimate concern. Something looks very wrong here. President Gabel and the Board of Regents need to clarify this for all of the university community to hear. Police mutual aid pacts for the general university area are one thing; pacts involving UMPD going all over Hennepin County are quite another. This is a University!!! (A cynic may wonder: is this kind of activity seen as valuable training? Maybe this will get clarified too; I hope so. I also wonder if UMPD, in such pact activities, are commanded by the UM Police Chief or an outside commander. I see legal problems if the latter. Heaven help UM if lawsuits were to arise.) N.B.: part of UM lies in Ramsey County — is there a pact with them too?