DFL Rep.and Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate Backtracks on Twitter after Outrage

Dehn, Raymond Dehn, Mayor, Election, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS— The front-runner of the Minneapolis mayoral race has found himself in hot water after comments he made following the fatal shooting of Justine Damond at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Rep. Raymond Dehn (D-Minneapolis) received backlash on Twitter for comments made on disarming officers in the city of Minneapolis.

“Crime is not a product of individual morality but the consequence of scarcity in our society,” Dehn said in a press release. “We must divest resources, disarm officers, and dismantle the inherent violence of our criminal justice system which continues to uphold white supremacy. Our approach to public safety must reflect a belief that our communities are safer when they have housing, clean air and water, access to education and employment, and quality healthcare.”

Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) replied to the tweet, “Rep. Dehn what do mean ‘disarm officers’? You serve on the Public Safety Committee and I’m wondering if this position becoming a bill?”

Another Twitter user wrote, “You are disqualified from being Mayor. I’m embarrassed you’re my State Senator.”

A Twitter user named Kyle wrote, “Are you cracked?! Disarm officers!!! Clearly the criminals in MPLS are not affraid! We need more officers and heavily armed!!!”

Another Twitter user wrote, “Disarm???? What’s next? Taking away hoses from firefighters? You need to explain what disarm the police means.”

On Saturday, Dehn issued a clarification of his comment on disarming officers.

“I support demilitarization of our forces. I support rethinking whether every officer needs to carry a gun. I believe public safety will be best served if fewer officers carry guns,” Dehn wrote in a statement on Twitter. “I support shifting our culture away from use of guns and lethal weapons and moving towards de-escalation training and providing access to non-lethal weapons. I am not advocating against officers having access to a gun in situations – such as when encountering a deadly weapon – where they need to be armed to keep themselves and others safe.

On Twitter, Drew Lee wrote, “So if an officer finds themselves in a deadly situation and are not armed, do they ask everyone to just pause and wait?”

Meanwhile, Nash rebuked Dehn for his position. “Rep. Dehn, This is a poorly thought out position and would wind up causing officers to die, unable to defend themselves.”

Dehn’s initial comments were made in response to the formal resignation of Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.