Commentary: Moriarty wears her agenda on both sleeves

She obviously cannot bring herself to think like the chief prosecutor.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announces the dismissal of charges against Trooper Ryan Londregan at a June 3 press conference. (Hennepin County Attorney/YouTube)

The sudden dismissal of the Trooper Ryan Londregan case by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty raises more questions than answers. It does confirm to this writer that the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) is in a dysfunctional condition.

It is no secret that Moriarty is motivated by changing the criminal justice system to that of being “restorative” in nature. She has long spoken about the racial disparities within the criminal justice system. She has spoken out against law enforcement and promised in her campaign to prosecute them whenever possible.

Coming from the position of head of the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, her current role as chief prosecutor seems to be a struggle for her to adopt. It is not her job to reform the system. She was elected to prosecute cases according to the law and the circumstances which occurred.

In her announcement dismissing the charges, her verbal and body language screamed of anger and vindictiveness. She delivered a stinging rebuke to Gov. Tim Walz. She displayed no semblance of objectiveness as she called Ricky Cobb II the victim. She obviously cannot bring herself to think like the chief prosecutor. This is not good for the citizens of Hennepin County.

Like in so many cases, Mr. Cobb’s compliance with law enforcement officers’ directives would have eliminated the escalation of the traffic stop.

Now four years after the George Floyd incident, there is a confluence of attitudes pervasive in the HCAO and the Minneapolis City Council. This likely will have coattails to future incidents.

The horrific ambush of Officer Jamal Mitchell suggests a nexus to the culpability of governmental entities. One must ask, does the level of violence we see today have a link to criminal case dispositions? Plea bargains, dismissals, deferred sentencing, toothless diversion and probationary programs can only contribute to recidivism. Where is the accountability that is directed by the sentencing guidelines?

How can the Minneapolis Police Department function at the current staffing of 493 officers when their optimal number is 731? Can you fault anyone for not wanting to work in a “fishbowl of scrutiny”? Realize that Officer Mitchell was working in a one-man squad during his mandatory overtime shift.

Further, it is no secret that many on the Minneapolis City Council continue to harbor a hostile attitude towards their police department. Many of their council actions are motivated by a variety of agendas rather than the business of city government. Attempts at recruitment and retention have been thwarted by other agendas. Additionally, they have created a “top heavy” department burdened by ancillary spin-off watchdog groups that may be suppressing the mission of public safety.

However, make no mistake, law enforcement officers must be held to account for their actions. Statutory law, department policy and training provide plenty of guidance to hold them accountable. But working under the tenure of the current HCAO has clearly become fertile ground for mixed messages and a misaligned set of objectives.

In a recent article appearing in Alpha News, we heard Moriarty make claims of ingrained white supremacy in law enforcement and that politicians are making people fear crime in downtown Minneapolis. She refuses to acknowledge ongoing initiatives within MPD to make policy reforms where needed.

She ignores the various commissions and watchdog groups that monitor MPD. And excuse me, but I believe it is important for law enforcement to advise citizens of areas prone to criminal activities. Politicians aren’t reporting crime, the local news outlets are.

For decades MPD has been on a mission to recruit black officers. In 1981, as a newly licensed deputy working for a local county, I was refused an application from the Minneapolis Civil Service Commission. I and others were told MPD was actively recruiting nationally for non-white officers and we weren’t needed. As such, Ms. Moriarty continues to wear her political agenda on both sleeves and in doing so, she detracts from the mission of the HCAO.

Joe Polunc is a retired Carver County Deputy Sheriff


Joe Polunc

Joe Polunc is a retired Carver County Deputy Sheriff.