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Police-Backed Candidates Fall Short In Minnesota Races

This week's primary election for top prosecutor in Minneapolis' Hennepin County provided some clarity in the debate over how local residents really feel about police reform two years after George Floyd’s murder. The killing by police officer Derek Chauvin prompted a nationwide movement to reform the criminal justice system and local efforts by the City Council to dismantle and defund the police department. Since then, the city has sent mixed messages about how to move forward, The Intercept reports. Prosecutor , Mike Freeman sided with Chauvin shortly after the incident, saying that there was “other evidence that does not support a criminal charge” in Floyd’s murder.

After a ballot measure to replace the city’s police department with a department of public safety failed last November 56 percent to 44 percent, mainstream media and politicians were quick to claim that Minneapolis residents didn’t want major police reform. A jury convicted Chauvin. On Tuesday, Hennepin County voters dealt another rebuke to Freeman’s tough-on-crime approach and what his critics said was a reluctance to hold police accountable on brutality. Voters put former Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty in the top spot for county attorney with 36 percent of the vote in the seven-way nonpartisan primary. Moriarty came in far ahead of the police-backed candidate, retired Judge Martha Holton Dimick, who received under 18 percent of the vote and will face Moriarty in the November general election. Also in Minneapolis, Don Samuels, who was backed by local law enforcement, lost by two points in his Democratic primary challenge against incumbent U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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