Saturday September 30th 2023

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Something I Said: Should’ve Been

Dwight Hobbes. Photo: courtesy the author


Art Knight should be the next Minneapolis Police Department Chief, but has too much integrity for his own good. That’s how he lost his deputy chief position and got demoted, calling the MPD out for entrenched, institutionalized racism. Knight said the department needs to improve how it recruits, trains and promotes minorities and women, stating the obvious. “If you keep employing the same tactics you’re just going to get the same old white boys.” Chief Arradondo dismayed black Minneapolis at large with that move, since he, himself won his job on the strength of overwhelming black support in a social climate that demanded a change from those same old boys. And, for that matter, racist female cops. In fact, in 2007 then-Lieutenant Medaria Arradondo was part of a successful lawsuit against the MPD on the grounds of an environment hostile toward black officers.

One has to believe the publicly pull-no-punches Art Knight, not some platitude-spewing token like Arradondo turned out to be, would bend his back to making real change instead of posturing as an affirmative action token. Mayor Jacob Frey, phony as a $3 bill, has trotted out candidates to nominate: Elvin Barren, Brian O’Hara and, two-for-one token RaShall Brackney. Not one is from the community the next chief will be charged to serve. And you can bet his paramount concern is how well his arm fits up the back of whichever puppet.

Knight has been on the force more than a quarter century. As chief of staff he oversaw the community engagement and outreach bureau and led the procedural justice team. Importantly, even before came right out and called a spade a spade, the community trusted and respected him. They still do and would soundly applaud his taking the top job. In fact, such a move would go a long way toward them finally taking any stock at all in a white mayor. Importantly, it would also go a long way toward hopefully preventing the next George Floyd.

Well, it’s not going to happen. In no small part because there’s been no outcry from the usual self-anointed, armchair Mau-Maus. Indeed, none of them called Arradondo to task for the demotion. All they did was come with some mealy mouthed entreaty for him to reconsider. When he gave them his behind to kiss, they should’ve called for his ouster, but, having paid sufficient lip service, found no pressing need to do the right thing. They’ll welcome whatever figurehead Frey puts in supposed authority and that will be that.

Why won’t Art Knight be the next chief? For the very reason that he should be. Art Knight has too much integrity.

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