Statement on the Resignation of Janee Harteau

Janee Harteau served the Minneapolis Police Department with integrity throughout her career. I worked closely with her when she was the First Precinct Commander and was impressed with her leadership and responsiveness. However, it has become clear after recent events that a leadership change at the department was warranted. I believe the Chief made the right choice to step aside, but we cannot allow her resignation to be the sole response to the unrest in our community.  Deep and transparent reforms must be made at the Minneapolis Police Department that create a broad shift in its culture and the way in which it interacts with and is experienced by our citizens.

We must demand a review of our training and recruitment practices to ensure that all our citizens feel safe in all of their interactions with the police. We must demand a strengthening of our body camera policies to ensure that if a critical incident occurs, we have the evidence necessary for a complete and thorough investigation. We must demand a police force that protects our citizens, establishes accountability and engenders trust.

This is more than a political issue to be managed. The deep mistrust that is on display by so many in our community cannot simply be papered over with staff changes. This is a crisis that begs for real, experienced leadership and sustained change at City Hall.

Tom Hoch
Statement on Justine Damond Shooting

It is essential for the future of our city that people feel safe. This includes being able to call the police for help without fearing for their lives. When an unarmed person is shot and killed by a police officer, there needs to be an open, transparent, and impartial investigation into the situation. There must be the highest possible standard placed on the use of deadly force and there must be real, serious consequences for officers that abuse their position. We must all demand that we never have another Jamar Clark, Philando Castille, or Justine Damond.

Nearly five days after Justine Damond was killed, we still know shockingly little about why she lost her life. It’s important that the investigation proceed in an effective and impartial way, but it is equally important that the public gets answers. What we do know is that this was an innocent member of our community who sought to help someone. Justine did what we expect all our citizens to do – she called the police to report a possible crime. It is abhorrent that someone calling for help would end up dead at the hands of police. We must demand accountability.

What we also know, is that neither officer activated their body camera in time to capture meaningful information about the incident. The dashboard camera in their patrol car was not recording. These facts show a confusing gap in the policy of the Minneapolis Police Department or in the directives they receive from city government. It is very difficult to hold police officers accountable if we don’t have the evidence. Body cameras were touted as a solution to this problem, and it’s tragically clear now that more must be done. We must demand reform.

I am heartbroken for Justine’s family, friends, neighbors, and for all the residents of our city. We must immediately move to correct the gaps in our body camera policy. I believe that every call or interaction with the public should be recorded, starting today. We also must immediately engage in a cultural shift within the police department. Officers cannot be trained to fear the people they are sworn to protect, and cannot be expected to act first and ask questions later.

We as a city must demand better.

Tom Hoch
Where is the City's Commitment to Public Housing Beyond Sending a Letter?
Mattie Henderson, a 9-year resident of public housing, spoke before signing the petition. 

Mattie Henderson, a 9-year resident of public housing, spoke before signing the petition. 

Current Mayor Betsy Hodges joined other big-city mayors in signing a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking him to restore federal funding for public housing across the nation. 

As far as we can tell, that is all the city has done under her reign.

It’s not enough to just sign on with other mayors and yell about proposed cuts. Public housing has been underfunded for years and Mayor Hodges has failed to lead on the issue. We need solutions that finally invest in this critical infrastructure, not score political points for "resistance."

The petition initiated by Mattie Henderson and me isn't just getting names on a sheet of paper. The petition is just the beginning. By going into the community with all the resources of my campaign behind me and engaging with citizens on this issue, I aim to get people involved -- whether they reside in public housing or not.   I aim to build a coalition of like-minded citizens, leaders, and organizations to create a force too powerful for the federal government to ignore.  Join us at: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-4849440090005960192

Tom Hoch
Public Housing Should Be the DFL Mayor's FIRST Priority. Here's Why.
37th Street Manor. Image courtesy of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. MPHA does not endorse any candidate.

37th Street Manor. Image courtesy of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. MPHA does not endorse any candidate.

At this point in the mayor's race, we've heard a lot of talk about affordable housing, but very little about public housing. Because public housing is the city's largest provider of affordable housing, it really needs to take center stage when we talk about our housing crisis. If we don't take action now to ensure that our public housing units are adequately funded, updated, and maintained, this crisis will only get worse.

Many of the candidates, including the current mayor, have stated over and over that they want to see more "equity" in the way Minneapolis operates. However, leaving behind our most vulnerable citizens -- our poor, our elderly, our disabled -- is one of the least equitable thing we can do. If everyone in our city does not have a safe, sanitary, and welcoming place to live, then we do not have equity. Period.

A steadfast commitment to public housing must be the first pillar of the mayor's plan for the equitable sharing of resources in our city. Of course, as anyone who has been married will tell you, a commitment takes more just saying the words. The mayor must advocate at the federal level for adequate funding and engage citizens to help strengthen our cause. I am not only committed to doing that, I am already doing that by taking this action.

Tom Hoch