MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three Minneapolis police officers, all board members for the Minneapolis Police Federation, testified at the Minnesota Senate Wednesday.
As WCCO’s Esme Murphy reports, they offered up a scathing critique of government and police leaders during the riots following George Floyd’s death.
Her voice shaking, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Anna Hedberg says during the riots officers were abandoned by state, city and department leaders.
“To watch them go through that was so heart breaking, to know they could have died because we were not allowed to respond the way we had been trained to respond,” Hedberg said.
During the riots the officers were told they could not wear protective frog suits but were still hit and injured with bottles, cement and more.
Hedberg blamed state, city and department leaders for the abandonment of the third precinct.
“I heard the governor say ‘give it up’ it wasn’t directly to me it was through a phone call the governor says give up the precinct, that’s demoralizing for this whole state,” Hedberg said.
And the three described a demoralized police force, with dozens of officers planning to retire or quit.
“I believe I speak for every Minneapolis cop when I tell you I have never been more publicly humiliated,” said officer Rich Walker Sr.
They also described a city out of control.
“The crime is rampant in Minneapolis right now,” Walker said.
Senator Melissa Franzen of Edina, one of the few Democratic Senators present, criticized the fourth in a series of GOP hearings for focusing only on the riots and not the death of George Floyd.
“Unfortunately these hearings have only presented one side of the story,” Franzen said.
There was supposed to be one more of these Senate GOP accountability hearings into the riots. Senators wanted the final witness to be Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. But they say he never responded to their request, so the hearing was canceled.
A spokesperson for Frey said the mayor did not decline to attend the hearing, rather the GOP Senate canceled the hearing.
The Minneapolis Police Department is not commenting.
The governor denies ordering Minneapolis police to abandon the third precinct.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said again Wednesday he was the one who ordered the abandonment of the precinct.
These hearings come as lawmakers are still working on unfinished business.
Stay with WCCO for continuing coverage of the second special session.