State of Minnesota Archives: on Crime


Tina Smith: Supports comprehensive police-reform legislation

Q: Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight?

Tina Smith: Yes. Supports comprehensive police-reform legislation that would end practices such as choke holds and no-knock warrants.

Jason Lewis: No. Has objected to some of the calls for police reform, saying they are going too far.

Source: CampusElect on 2020 Minnesota Senate race Oct 10, 2020

Jason Lewis: Public order is not a privilege, it is a right

We are going to have some very bad consequences across the state if we continue down this perilous path of undercutting law enforcement and public order. Let me be clear about this: public order is not a privilege, it is a right. The need for public order is why government was established in the first place, and it is what makes the liberties granted to us in the Constitution possible. As we descend into this free-for-all mob rule, we are undercutting the very function of government.
Source: 2020 Minnesota Senate campaign website LewisForMN.com Jul 8, 2020

Jason Lewis: Without public order, the mob will control the neighborhood

abandoned. This is the greatest abdication of responsibility I've seen in my lifetime, and the Democrats that control these cities have a lot to answer to. Without public order, the mob will control the neighborhood and with it your freedom. For those calling to defund the police look no further than our own communities to see the consequences of anarchy. As rioters were destroying businesses, the police were given orders to stand down. This is what it looks like when public order is
Source: 2020 Minnesota Senate campaign website LewisForMN.com Jul 8, 2020

Jeff Johnson: Violent criminals must be locked up, some for long sentences

The role of government in our lives should be as limited as possible, but providing for the public safety of all is one of the most important jobs of government. While I have always supported alternatives to incarceration for low-level, nonviolent offenders and believe strongly in providing 2nd chances for those who make mistakes, we have one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country and violent criminals must be locked up and very violent criminals must be locked up for a very long time.
Source: 2018 Minnesota JohnsonForGovernor.org campaign website Sep 1, 2018

Karin Housley: Rehabilitative programs in prisons cut down on recidivism

Currently, the U.S. prison system incarcerates 2.2 million people, the largest prison population in the world and one populated by mostly nonviolent offenders, according to reports by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Citing her experience as a state legislator with a high concentration of prisons in her district, Housley said much of the issue of incarceration comes down to broken individuals--people who come from dysfunctional backgrounds and lack the education to make positive changes in their own lives.

By incorporating rehabilitative programs in these prisons, Housley said, more incarcerated individuals can return to being productive members of society, which in turn cuts down on recidivism.

"I really am in support of those programs. I know a lot of people aren't, but I am because if they're remorseful and they want to lead a productive life--besides, our workforce needs them," Housley said. "That's where we should focus our resources."

Source: Brainerd Dispatch: 2017-8 Minnesota Special Senate Election Jul 31, 2018

Paula Overby: Oppose "tough on crime": it promotes autocracy

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Stricter punishment reduces crime"?

A: Oppose--There is no evidence to support the narrative that deterrents reduce crime. We have the highest rate of incarceration in the entire world and yet we remain one of the most violent societies among the economically advantaged nations. Get tough on crime is a political narrative that empowers leadership and promotes the kind of autocracy toward which we are steadily advancing.

Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Minnesota Senate candidate May 13, 2018

Lori Swanson: Warns citizens about new methods of phone scamming

AG Lori Swanson is warning of a wave of modern variants of traditional phone scams that are creating a surge in fraud and identity theft plaguing people across the United States. Swanson said innovations in technology--notably, software capable of "caller ID spoofing"--enables scammers to mask their identities and locations in more sophisticated ways. By using these new tools, scammers impersonate local numbers or legitimate businesses, which allows them to target victims with relative ease.
Source: Twin Cities Pioneer Press on 2018 Minnesota Governor race May 9, 2018

Jim Newberger: Stricter punishment reduces crime

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Stricter punishment reduces crime"?

A: Support.

Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Minnesota Senate candidate Mar 15, 2018

Karin Housley: Fight to end criminal elderly abuse in senior care homes

Sen. Karin Housley, chairwoman of the Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Policy committee, said the state must act swiftly to address what she termed "an emergency situation" involving criminal abuse in senior care homes that goes uninvestigated and unpunished. "This must stop," Housley said in an interview. "When you hear these horrific stories of abuse, and hear reports of families waiting years for some resolution to an investigation, you realize that we need more resources in this area."
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune: 2017-8 Minnesota special election Nov 16, 2017

Tina Liebling: Officers should control situation without deadly force

Our diversity is our strength, but Minnesota's gaps in health, wealth, and opportunity are holding us back. Peaceful civil disobedience has often been the catalyst that moves society toward justice. We don't need additional penalties or threats to those who step forward to make change. The right to protest--and sometimes even to get arrested for it--strengthens our democracy.

The well-publicized police killings of African American people and the killings of police officers have torn the bandage off an old and festering wound. We must create a culture and system that allow for fair and just treatment of all Minnesotans. Law enforcement officers have a tough job, but they must always be held to high and clear standards and accountable to the public.

We need a new standard for law enforcement's use of force--as exists in some other countries. Officers should be expected to control a situation without using deadly force except as a last resort.

Source: 2018 Minnesota governor campaign website TinaLiebling.com May 2, 2017

Tina Liebling: More treatment courts; lower barriers to re-entry after jail

Too many inmates have substance abuse disorder or other mental health issues that would be better treated in another setting. Treatment courts are a step in the right direction, and we must encourage and fund these initiatives. We also need to make sure that people who have been through the justice system can find a path back to a productive life. Lack of housing, lack of needed treatment, and lack of employment are barriers to reentry that must be addressed.
Source: 2018 Minnesota governor campaign website TinaLiebling.com May 2, 2017

Jason Lewis: Don't second-guess the actions of police officers

Solving Social Unrest: While everyone supports equal justice for all, the violence in our cities and the attacks on law enforcement must stop. My wife was a St. Paul police officer for 7 years and my father-in-law is a retired police officer. Consequently, I am keenly aware of the day-to-day pressures facing law enforcement--not the least of which includes split-second life and death decisions. I do not think it's appropriate for those who have little understanding of such situations to second-guess the actions of police officers until all the evidence is in from a complete investigation. Nor do I believe local leaders should be injecting race into elections for political expediency.
Source: 2016 Minnesota House campaign website JasonLewis2016.com Nov 8, 2016

Jason Lewis: End overcriminalization: focus on high risk offenders

Criminal justice reform is also needed and I support bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Reps. James Sensenbrenner and Bobby Scott. The Safe, Accountable, Fair and Effective Justice Act seeks to streamline our federal justice system focusing on high risk offenders and making certain federal overcriminalization (there are now 4,500 federal crimes on the books) doesn't ensnare entire communities by putting first time nonviolent offenders in jail. Congress should assist local agencies in making certain that 'equal application of the law' as well as the unequivocal support of law enforcement combine to afford every community the safety and security it deserves.
Source: 2016 Minnesota House campaign website JasonLewis2016.com Nov 8, 2016

Chris Coleman: Audit police response to alleged officer misconduct

The national dialogue about policing, particularly in communities of color, has put our officers under intense scrutiny. And because we are focused on equity, we haven't run from that conversation. One concern raised by the community during the past year and a half is the practice and structure of the Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission (PCIARC)--which examines incidents of alleged officer misconduct and makes a disciplinary recommendation to the Chief of Police. After an audit of the PCIARC & numerous community conversations, the City Council is pursuing a set of administrative changes in the immediate short term and I will make further recommendations for city ordinance changes by the end of the summer.

We don't always get it right. But we do so much more right here in Saint Paul. Under the leadership of Chief Smith and with hundreds of committed uniformed officers, our department is setting the national standard for true community policing.

Source: 2016 State of the City address: St. Paul Minnesota Apr 19, 2016

Jim Newberger: Let's connect a new prison by rail to North Minneapolis

During last night's marathon debate over the state transportation bill, Democrats tried to fund a study looking at extending the North Star Commuter rail line to St. Cloud, like it was originally intended. Rep. Jim Newberger is not a fan of the rail line, so he grabbed the mic to rain truth bombs all over the Democrat's proposal to connect two major cities via mass transit: "If you're going to connect a large metro area to a prison there are going to be some concerns, and I would be lying if I said there wasn't."

What exactly, would those concerns be? How would that be any different than building a prison near a highway? It was Newberger's racist Freudian slip that took his logical fallacy up a notch: "Boy, wouldn't that be convenient, to have that rail line going from the prison to North Minneapolis."

If you watch closely, you can pinpoint the exact moment when he realizes he shouldn't have said that. "Or uhhh, to any other section of our state," he says, followed by a smattering of boos.

Source: City Pages on 2018 Minnesota Senate race Apr 22, 2015

Rebecca Otto: Establish security practices for crime evidence

The Metro Gang Strike Force started with a good idea: bring members of various law enforcement agencies together to combat gang activity in a single unit. But FBI and state investigations discovered that members of the unit had been taking home property they seized during their police operations.

Rebecca Otto learned that the Strike Force had no internal controls for their seized property. They didn't even have a lock on the door of their property and evidence room. Without a set of policies and procedures for managing their property and evidences rooms, the chain of custody of evidence can be called into question, and bad guys could go free, while innocents could go to jail.

Rebecca decided to survey the hundreds of other law enforcement agencies in Minnesota about their property and evidence rooms in order to develop a best practices review for their use. She produced a landmark report on best practices in property and evidence rooms that has since become a well-used guide.

Source: Minnesota State Auditor campaign website RebeccaOtto.com Nov 1, 2014

Rebecca Otto: Shut down traffic ticket diversions with alternative penalty

Some local law enforcement agencies had begun offering traffic diversion programs that worked outside the uniform Minnesota traffic system. In lieu of state traffic tickets, drivers were given the option to pay a smaller fine & take a safe driving class or watch an 8-minute online video, and local law enforcement kept the money. The State Auditor's Office had long noted that, though popular, these programs were not authorized by state law.

Under Rebecca's leadership, a special review highlighted how and why the programs were not in compliance with existing Minnesota law, and illustrated some of the financial and safety problems they posed.

The small number of police and county sheriff departments that were using the programs liked the money they generated and argued that the State Auditor was wrong and that the law was ambiguous, but in 2014 a judge agreed with Rebecca's position and ruled that the programs were not authorized by state law. As a result, most of the programs have been shut down.

Source: Minnesota State Auditor campaign website RebeccaOtto.com Nov 1, 2014

Heather Johnson: Don't punish victimless crimes like prostitution & gambling

I shall fight against any efforts to pass legislation and regulation of victimless crimes. Such "crimes" include speeding, drinking, no seat belts, drug use, prostitution, gambling, no helmets, or any other crime where no harm is brought against another human or group of humans. All consensual acts, free from fraud, force, and coercion belong to the consenting individuals involved and do not fall into the domain of politics or government.
Source: 2014 Minnesota Senate campaign website, "Platform" Jul 31, 2014

Jim Abeler: Major overhaul needed for sex offender laws

Minnesota must make it easier for sex offenders to finish a treatment program that for most has resulted in indefinite state custody, and should try to get politics out of the screening process, a task force said. The 22-member panel recommended a major overhaul of the state's sex offender laws.

Of the 698 people now enrolled [as juveniles], 52 have never been convicted of an adult crime. "No person should be civilly committed based solely on behavior that occurred while that person was a juvenile," the report said. If the Legislature fails to fix the program it risk having it dismantled by a federal judge. Gov. Mark Dayton has halted the provisional release of offenders until the Legislature has a chance to act.

Rep. Jim Abeler, a Republican who also served on the task force, said those who believe changes are necessary--he counted himself in that group--might have to push forward even if it's divisive. "If we can't reach a truce, that doesn't mean the problem then goes away," Abeler said.

Source: Associated Press on 2014 Minnesota Senate race Dec 2, 2013

Jim Abeler: Supports use of deadly force in self-defense

Jim Abeler voted Yea (Concurrence Vote) on HF 1467 (Passed House, 85-47)

Legislative title:Expands the Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense

Legislative summary:Vote to expand provisions authorizing use of deadly force in self-defense. Highlights:

Source: Minnesota House voting records (Votesmart synopses) Feb 29, 2012

Tom Emmer: Establish the death penalty in Minnesota

Source: Minnesota Congressional 2008 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2008

Walter Mondale: Gideon brief established right to attorney

Mondale, as attorney general, filed a brief on behalf of a Florida man named Clarence Gideon who couldn’t afford a defense attorney. At the time, states were not required to provide attorneys to poor defendants charged with serious crimes. As a result of Mondale’s brief, defendants charged with serious crimes in both federal and state courts are provided attorneys if they cannot afford one. The Gideon case is required reading for all first year law students.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio interview with Elizabeth Stawicki May 17, 2001

Mark Dayton: More resources for local law enforcement & COPS

I will fight to provide local law enforcement the resources needed to prevent and control crime. I support increased federal funding for law enforcement for programs such as COPS and other federal initiatives that expand the presence of community police on our streets.
Source: Minnesota Newspaper Association Election Questionnaire Jul 2, 2000

  • The above quotations are from State of Minnesota Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Crime.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2020 Presidential contenders on Crime:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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