Author

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.

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

The myth of the “14 bosses”: Police ballot initiative would restore balance — Opinion

By: - September 10, 2021

Let’s address a common misrepresentation floating around about the Minneapolis police ballot  initiative voters will decide on in November: That its passage would lead to the City Council running the new public safety agency — the myth of the 14 bosses.  The myth appears to be a public relations strategy to create a vision of […]

COMMENTARY

Police control is out of control | Opinion

By: - April 7, 2021

Throughout America, police are authorized to exert control in situations in which law or safety is otherwise challenged. Such control will be imposed by force if necessary. The presumption is that authorizing police control provides the ultimate means to ensure abidance with our collective decision-making, the latter established through the Constitution, legislatures and executive departments, […]

COMMENTARY

You’re fired! Now what?

By: - January 11, 2021

The catchphrase — “You’re Fired!” — well associated with Donald J. Trump the real estate celebrity, is now the practical problem for Americans, the bosses of Donald J. Trump our outgoing President. But the question is no longer whether to fire him but how to best handle it.     If you’re fired, you don’t usually stick […]

COMMENTARY
Minneapolis police squad car.

The heads-I-win, tails-you-lose arguments of the City Council’s opponents on police reform

By: - December 14, 2020

When first voting on several amendments to next cycle’s Minneapolis budget, City Council members were forewarned by opponents that their proposals pertaining to the Police Department were uninformed and could lead to more crime. The City Council’s response: We’re in charge of the budget here and we’re going to act. One might wonder if the […]

COMMENTARY

In the courtroom and in politics, when you got nothing, you gotta give em something

By: - October 21, 2020

A recent Minnesota Reformer piece cited Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” — when you ain’t got nothing you got nothing to lose — as one of the songs which describes our current political moment. I agree. But we should not lose track of the implied corollary: When you ain’t got nothing, you gotta give […]

COMMENTARY

What happens when we dismantle the Police Department? Here’s a plan.

By: - July 17, 2020

Long before the death of George Floyd, every one of us has carried our own internal risk/benefit calculus about what level of danger would lead us to call police. What has been most significant about the traumatic video of George Floyd’s killing is how much it may have changed that calculus — and broadly across […]