Minneapolis City Council president: Threats against officials ‘going too far,’ too often

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The Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution calling on state lawmakers to increase penalties for citizens who assault public officials, target their homes for vandalism or make terroristic threats against them.

City Council member LaTrisha Vetaw told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she supports the resolution.

“I think it’s reasonable to show up at a meeting and say how you feel about an issue. What’s not reasonable is saying that you’re going to attack me whenever you see me,” said Vetaw.  “I signed up to do the work of the people in Ward 4, and I did not sign up to put my life at risk, my family’s life at risk, nor my colleagues’.”

On the other hand, City Council President Andrea Jenkins told KSTP she abstained from supporting the resolution despite having experienced threats and vandalism at her home.

Jenkins said she believes current laws against terroristic threats and vandalism should be enforced rather than enhancing penalties for those who commit crimes against elected officials.

“In fact, sometimes I don’t show up at events because of what might happen,” said Jenkins.  “There is a time and place to lodge complaints, and we as public officials should not have to deal with people threatening our lives, or our homes.”

State Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) told KSTP that during a protest at his home, someone tried breaking in. Limmer joined Jenkins in saying enhanced penalties are not the answer.

“You just have to really consider, how far do we want to go? Isn’t common law for everyone good enough? And that’s the question policy makers will have to consider,” said Limmer.