The ACLU of Minnesota is incredibly pleased to hear that the Minneapolis Police Department terminated Officer Webber’s employment. In spring 2015, cell phone video footage captured Officer Webber telling a few young Somali men “Plain and simple, if you fuck with me, I’m going to break your legs before you get the chance to run.”
The ACLU highlighted the young men’s experience in our online report Picking Up the Pieces, in which we documented that African Americans are 8.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for a low-level offense by the Minneapolis Police Department. We had the opportunity to meet with the young men last spring and hear the story directly from them. Officer Webber’s actions and words inflicted lasting damage on these young men, who now distrust and fear the police.
Terminating Officer Webber’s employment is an important step towards creating a police force that respects all Minneapolis residents and is held accountable when it oversteps its authority. It is critical that peace officers do not think of themselves as above the law, or as an occupying army deployed against certain communities within the city.
We commend Chief Harteau for her decision and hope that the Minneapolis Police Department continues to carefully evaluate how its officers treat Minneapolis residents, holding individual officers accountable when appropriate and also pursuing the system-wide changes we have previously recommended.