MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rallies on police reform are not just happening in the Twin Cities, but the suburbs want their voice heard too.

People in White Bear Lake gathered Saturday morning to hear from DFL leaders about their police reform push in the next special session.

Among those gathered at Matoska Park were Sheila Kelly and her son Justin.

“I just feel like you have to do something. It can’t happen anymore. people cannot be killed that way. it’s horrible,” said Sheila Kelly.

Kelly lives in White Bear Lake and felt compelled to do something after George Floyd’s death.

“I just think people are not aware. I know I wasn’t of the systemic racism that just permeates everything and you don’t even think about it because we’re privileged. We live our lives as white people. We don’t know,” said Kelly.

DFL state leaders say they were invited to hold this rally in White Bear Lake by the residents themselves, who said that they want their suburban town to be part of this conversation just as much as St. Paul and Minneapolis have been.

“I’ve been genuinely moved by the response the response of people who live in the communities of White Bear,” said State Representative Carlos Mariani, who spoke at the rally and is a member of the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, also known as POCI.

The POCI Caucus is working to push a police reform bill through the legislature, but the last Special Session adjourned without any agreement.

Mariani believes the next session will be different, with more compromise.

“In our conversations, without getting into details, we’ve already put a number of issues off on the side to focus the conversation,” said Mariani.

In the spirit of compromise, Mariani says their bill does not include defunding or disbanding any police departments in the state.

“The whole conversation around disbanding or defunding becomes a wedge issue that makes it difficult for people to do that coming together,” said Mariani.

This rally brought some opposition as well, with a small group gathered during the rally waving a TRUMP 2020 flag.

However, the majority of people gathered at Matoska Park on Saturday morning want to see systemic change.

“We’re not as conservative as people think we are,” said Kelly.

The next Special Session is scheduled to start on Monday.

Marielle Mohs

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