Senate Republicans tangle with People of Color Indigenous Caucus over crime, police reform

    Peaceful demonstrations against the police for the killing of George Floyd turned to looting and fires across Minneapolis on the night of May 27, 2020. Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer
    Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka called for hearings on the riots, looting and arsons that broke out after the police killing of George Floyd, but not the killing itself.
    He drew criticism from the Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Caucus — known as POCI — whose members said his priorities are off.
    Gazelka questioned why the Third Precinct police station was abandoned and the National Guard was not a more prominent part of the response.

    POCI suggested Senate Republicans join their caucus if they’re interested in real criminal justice reform.

    “There will be time to address the civil unrest that occurred in the days following George Floyd’s senseless killing, but the work to enact transformative, systemic changes within law enforcement is urgent, and Black, Indigenous, and communities of color can’t wait any longer for change,” POCI said in news release.

    The Legislature met in special session last week but it ended in stalemate wihout any police reforms.

    The officers involved in Floyd’s death all face criminal charges.