Military and Police

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate Proposes Taking Away Firearms from Police Officers

“Furthermore, anyone’s political premise to disarm police after a highly questionable police shooting defines how knee-jerk one may be in public office.”

I wonder if the Minneapolis mayoral candidate Raymond Dehn and D.C. city councilman are related or somehow know each other. They sure do seem to share the same Fruit Loops and outlandish ideas to presumably gain political muster. Back in 2014, Washington, D.C. councilman David Grosso lobbied for all Metro Police Department cops to be disarmed. His flat-out directive was, “I think we ought to get rid of guns in the city and that police shouldn’t have guns.”

Grosso’s mental meandering went like this: “My staff won’t let me tell you that I think we ought to get rid of guns in this city, and that police shouldn’t have guns, so I’m not going to tell you that.” With that kind of baseless and toothless statement, it amazes me that his staff let him speak at all. But such is politics. Perhaps he’ll discover magic dust. Better yet, maybe he’ll rediscover the Constitution.

Yesterday, three-term State Rep. Raymond Howard Dehn (DFL; Democratic, Farmer, Labor party) is uttering the same exact talking points as Grosso did a few years ago.

Fox News reported that, as part of his political platform, Raymond Dehn believes taking away cops’ firearms is what is best suited for the entire Minneapolis police force. One may suspect that such an idea stems from the ongoing investigation of Minneapolis police Officer Mohamed Noor, who inexplicably shot and killed Justine Damond on July 15, 2017. Ms. Damond dialed 9-1-1 to report a would-be felony in-progress—a sexual assault. Upon arrival, as both Minneapolis police officers sat in their patrol car and Ms. Damond spoke to them at the driver’s window, Officer Noor reached across his police partner and opened fire. Ms. Damond was pronounced dead on scene.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating the Damond incident, and at the current moment it remains eerily sketchy.

Incumbent’s Retort

Mr. Dehn is running against incumbent and current Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who is overseeing the current climate of unrest in Minneapolis, especially charged after the Damond shooting. Although many residents of Minneapolis recently demanded her resignation, I side with her logic and support for the city police officers: “And if we are going to talk about changes in gun policy, we shouldn’t start with police officers who are going to be operating in a world with people who have guns.” It really doesn’t get any more succinct and profound than that.

Despite some of her city policies seemingly countering law enforcement principles, her statement above underscores critical thinking but also parlays pure Second Amendment tenets. The right to bear arms is almost empirical in America—convicted felons and those found guilty of domestic violence are an exception.

By the way, Mr. Dehn was a convicted felon…at one time: “In 1976, at the age of 19, Dehn was convicted of a felony burglary. He served seven months at the Hennepin County Workhouse and was released to a drug treatment program due to his cocaine addiction. He has been sober since his rehabilitation. In 1982, Dehn applied and was granted a full pardon for his felony by the State of Minnesota,” per Wikipedia.

Architectural Plans

Formally trained in architecture, Mr. Dehn’s political platform deigns to suggest that Minneapolis cops can arm themselves with less lethal methods to defend themselves. That will be a benefit to the criminals cops confront and the bane of police families who will attend plenty more police funerals. Instead of Mr. Dehn going meek after each cop killing, he might invest in quietly concentrating on reality-based police reform. His suggestion is nothing shy of insulting. Degreed and licensed to blueprint establishments, concentrations founded in the real world may build a formidable, defensible structure for the police profession.

Furthermore, anyone’s political premise to disarm police after a highly questionable police shooting defines how knee-jerk one may be in public office. The scrutiny among many police forums is heavily leaning toward a dire verdict for Officer Noor. While reserving judgment until the investigation is entirely exhausted and definitive answers are publicized, no cop supports death of an innocent performing her civic duty. I think we are a long way off from seeing any enlightenment in the Damond case.

While Officer Noor discharging his weapon and killing Ms. Damond is highly suspect at the present point in the investigation, the notion to take guns away from cops is borderline criminal. Let’s put holes in boat hulls and expect maritime police to salvage those lost at sea, too. All of it leaves that sinking feeling.

As Minneapolis police lieutenant Bob Kroll said in an interview, “I don’t think the people of Minneapolis are logically ready for anything like this. Who would ever do the job of policing again? It’s an absolutely absurd thought.” Roger that, sir!

Absurd, indeed…and clearly the latest politico pandering to muster votes by doing what he thinks is appealing to the citizenry. Even the Damond shooting garnering outrage at police actions does not equate to them agreeing to unarmed cops. That amounts to citizens risking their own lives by trusting that crazed criminals won’t actually pull the trigger. That would be optimal, since Mr. Dehn wishes for unarmed cops.

Candidate Dehn’s theory and supposition is, in my opinion, not very well thought out. According to Fox News, Mr. Dehn “would be open to officers using other means to protect themselves like a night stick or pepper spray.”

“Night sticks” are antiquated. When I was a young boy, the NYPD force carried long wooden “night sticks” and swung them while patrolling. In retrospect, some psychological effect was telegraphed by swinging it with the control of a cowhide lace tethering the night stick to the cop’s wrist. It worked for my young good-behavior accomplishments. But night sticks never stopped a bullet.

Nowadays, night sticks are supplanted by the ASP: a retractable metal device that, upon impact, stings like a dickens. But it does not stop bullets.

Pepper spray, otherwise known as OC Spray (oleoresin capsicum) is like liquid fire to the eyes of a suspect, causing temporary incapacitation. Temporary implies a gunfight may still be in the cards. Pepper spray also never stopped a bullet. In fact, it couldn’t even coat a speeding bullet on its way to the body mass of any unarmed cop.

Tasers may be effective, but only if the suspect is near enough and is slow with his firearm. And that is precisely the point: no disarmed cop will survive a taser deployment against a firearm-toting criminal foe.

It sounds as if Dehn is entertaining the United Kingdom’s traditional policing model whereby “bobbies” are generally armed with nothing but a self-defensive club.

“I’m not saying they don’t have access to that, just like they have access to more lethal weapons in their cars. I would believe they would still have access to their guns in their cars,” Mr. Dehn enlightened about his gun-free cops plan.

How special. All we have to do now is orchestrate crimes to occur in police cruisers so as to place cops in the general proximity of their firearms issued for self-defense and defense of Minneapolis citizens.

That oughta do it.


Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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