At public safety forum in north Minneapolis, Don Samuels promises more federal help


A few Minneapolis residents met Thursday night to express their concerns about public safety. They ranged from personal experiences with crime and insufficient police response to them to Don Samuels, a Democratic congressional candidate.

One woman told police that her mother’s bike was stolen from her front yard. Police officers then said they couldn’t do anything except fill out a report.

Through a translator, a group of elders from Somalia stated that they used to walk for exercise but stopped because of fear and their health has declined.

span style=”font weight: 400 A couple years back, police would arrive in 15-20 minutes,” said KhalifQary, an 88 year old man who has lived in a South Minneapolis public housing unit for 18-years. But these days, we don’t have security at our public housing. Security stays for four to five hours. After 9 p.m., we have no security and no police so we don’t go .”

Samuels is a former Minneapolis City Council member and school board member who is now challenging U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. He was earlier supported by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

Samuels stated to those present at Shiloh Temple Internamental Ministries, on the city’s North Side, that he would listen to the concerns of the community and take them to Washington. He also promised to leverage his relationships with local officials to get more federal funding.

Samuels stated that they would listen to everyone and that they will carry the pain on. “We will listen to everyone and make sure that .”

Samuels and Omar have a stark divide in policing. This is illustrated by Omar’s support last year for a ballot initiative — presented by opponents as an attempt to get rid of police — which would have amended the city charter. It would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department by a new public safety agency.

Samuels claimed that the effort was “immature” and called instead for the police to be kept intact and reformed internally — what he called “both, and”.

Omar’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment. Omar made a statement to Star Tribune on Thursday and listed her endorsements which included Attorney General Keith Ellison. Omar endorsed Frey’s rivals for Minneapolis mayor last year

Supporters of Samuels attended the event. They heard testimonials from Jackie Cherryhomes, Edina Mayor Jim Hovland, and Martha Holton Dimick, Hennepin County Attorney candidate.

Samuels was endorsed by Frey, Hovland, and three other suburban mayors. Samuels said that he would use these connections to relay citizens’ concerns to officials who can improve their situation.

Samuels praised his efforts to reduce gun violence in Minneapolis, including a lawsuit against the city to increase its police force. In June, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the city must adhere to its charter and provide 731 officers.

He spoke of listening sessions that he held in his home in north Minneapolis and claimed that he has walked up to young men selling drugs on the streets and told them to go. He called 911 when he was threatened by four men with his dog and described their appearances to the operator.

He said that he had laid down his life for this and that he would continue to do so in Washington. “I’ve given my life to this, and I’m going down for it in Washington span>

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