Michael Friedman

Michael Friedman

Michael Friedman is the former executive director of the Legal Rights Center. He previously served as chair of the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority, serving in that capacity for three years.


Wedding website, affirmative action cases show widening inequality in access to justice

By: - August 10, 2023

A civil lawsuit is a means to prove one has been harmed and who bears responsibility. A less-considered component is the demand: What remedy would justly resolve the harm? To use a familiar example, E. Jean Carroll sued a recent president of the United States. She proved at trial that she had suffered the harms […]


Debating justice: Kim Potter’s sentence and AG Ellison’s takeover of a juvenile murder case

By: - April 24, 2023

Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter is being released from prison this week, having served 16 months. She was convicted of manslaughter, first and second degree, for shooting to death Daunte Wright on April 11, 2021. As has been widely reported and remains undisputed, the conviction resulted from an act Potter did not intend; […]


There’s no free speech in our court system

By: - March 3, 2023

Freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment, is essential for democracy to function as intended. Every society will have its internal disagreements, its conflicts. But unlike in autocratic governments where there may be repercussions to offering dissenting views, in democracies it is presumed that open debate best reveals the relative strengths and weaknesses […]


Proposed POST Board rules professionalizing police would help recruit new officers

By: - February 10, 2023

A much younger cousin on my spouse’s side of the family thought he was ascending the ladder of first responder careers by becoming a police officer in his small Colorado city. He resigned from the profession after less than three years. The reason? He was sometimes partnered with a more senior officer who, shall we […]


Police officers have no place on misconduct review panels

By: - December 7, 2022

Q: How many police officers sat on the jury during the trials of the cops who participated in the murder of George Floyd? A: Zero. In the rare instances in which police officers are put on trial for criminal acts committed during their working hours, the members of the jury who determine guilt or innocence […]


Fear mongering on crime failed; now Democrats can get to work on true public safety

By: - December 2, 2022

Last month, Minneapolis and St. Paul each installed new police chiefs. A coincidence not only that each city had a leadership succession around the same time as each other, but also in that the changing of the regimes occurred shortly after an election season in which Republicans focused their campaign on policing and crime. It […]


The Republican advantage: It’s easier to be against things than for them

By: - September 28, 2022

I don’t know what they have to say It makes no difference anyway Whatever it is, I’m against it Your proposition may be good But let’s have one thing understood: Whatever it is, I’m against it And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it I’m against it — Groucho Marx, from the film “Horse […]


A close read of the Minnesota statute on police use of deadly force

By: - July 25, 2022

As of this writing, we are still awaiting completion of the investigation into the shooting of Tekle Sundberg, including its most critical details. Body camera footage recently released notwithstanding. In the absence of information, some have been quick to defend the shooting based on the trauma experienced by neighbors, who hours earlier had found their […]


What innovative thinking in baseball can teach us about criminal justice reform

By: - July 1, 2022

Warning: the article you are about to read leads off with a long baseball metaphor. Even if you don’t give a rip about baseball or find baseball metaphors trite, I hope you stay with it as it moves to public safety and politics. Last week, the Minnesota Twins blew several leads in losing two games […]


The deeper implications of the human rights report on Minneapolis police | Opinion

By: - June 6, 2022

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights’ report, based on its nearly two-year investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department, had many attention-grabbing headlines waiting to be plucked from it: rampant racial bias, fake social media accounts used to harass Black activists or trash elected officials and evidence routinely contradicting officers’ reports. Though the MDHR has not […]


The Floyd and Locke killings are just the most extreme examples of the crisis in policing | Opinion

By: - February 18, 2022

The killings of George Floyd and Amir Locke have in common that the victims were Black men. And, that responsibility may lie with multiple members of the Minneapolis Police Department, not just the ones who used weapons of knee and gun. In the case of George Floyd, the officers who failed to intervene have been […]


Yes on Question 1 for democratic accountability | Opinion

By: - October 5, 2021

Let’s get this straight. There is no one employed by Minneapolis city government who reports to 14 bosses. No one on the City Council can call a department head and tell them they must do as a boss can tell an employee. When you or I think of what it would mean to have 14 […]