Our community suffered a devastating blow last summer with the inexplicable shooting of Justine Damond by a Minneapolis police officer.
Since then, many of us have sought to convert our grief into action, working to reform the justice system into a more compassionate and trustworthy institution that serves all Minnesotans fairly. We have spoken with elected officials and police leadership, community groups and social justice organizations. Everyone brought a different perspective to the discussion, and the only point of agreement was that the problem had no simple fix.
Tackling this complex issue at the state level requires a representative with a proven track record of social advocacy and coalition building, and I believe Meggie Wittorf is that person.
In our conversations, Meggie has always demonstrated an acute awareness that our recent experience in Fulton is not unique and is emblematic of circumstances faced by minority communities for decades. She excels at communicating how what is often perceived as “their problem” is in reality a concern for all Minnesotans. In this way, Meggie encourages more residents to advocate for transparency and accountability in our state’s police departments.
At the same time, she recognizes that the police departments themselves must be participants in reform discussions. No policy handed down from on high is likely to succeed without the buy-in of those affected, no matter how noble the intention. This desire for consensus among all stakeholders is crucial for any lasting improvement and is embodied by Meggie’s leadership style.
I pass by Justine’s memorial nearly every day — a constant reminder of the tragic consequences that can result when our justice system falls short of expectations. It compels me to work toward a Minnesota where something like this can never happen again, one where every resident feels safe calling the police when they are in trouble and the police treat every individual with dignity and respect without feeling like they are constantly under threat. This is my vision, and I know that Meggie shares this vision too.
I am proud to support Meggie Wittorf to be our next state representative.
Todd Schuman, Senate District 61B delegate