Dean Phillips' new hire backed dismantling Minneapolis PD after George Floyd's death

A former Minneapolis City Council member who supported the contentious movement seeking to dismantle the city’s police department that arose in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder is now part of Rep. Dean Phillips’ presidential campaign. 

The move to bring Alondra Cano into the campaign’s leadership offers a stark contrast to Philips’ centrist views on law enforcement matters. Phillips, a moderate critical of the “defund the police” movement, is running against President Joe Biden in the 2024 Democratic primary. Leading Democrats fiercely oppose  Phillips’ campaign. 

“Dean’s leadership strategy has been clear from his announcement — his goal is to build a diverse team that includes all voices at the table,” Phillips’ campaign said in a statement. “And just like our campaign, which lets a wide range of opinions generate the best ideas for the future of our country, Dean is committed to bringing diversity of voice and thought to the White House.”

Phillips has emphasized his support of law enforcement during his time in elected office and has championed trying to help law enforcement recruitment. He was endorsed in his last two congressional races by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which represents a number of officers in the state, its website says.  

Cano was the first Latina elected to the Minneapolis City Council. Days after Floyd was murdered, Cano who represented the city’s Ward 9 at the time posted on social media that “the Mpls Police Department is not reformable.” She also posted days later from an official account that “a veto-proof majority of the MPLS City Council just publicly agreed that the Minneapolis Police Department is not reformable and that we’re going to end the current policing system.” 

A ballot question about replacing the police department with a department of public safety failed to pass during a citywide vote in 2021 and fiercely divided Minnesota Democrats. Cano, who did not respond to a request for comment, earlier announced she wouldn’t run for reelection to her council seat.

Phillips announced his presidential campaign late last month and faces long odds at making a dent in Mr. Biden’s Democratic support.

In response to questions about Cano and policing, Phillips’ campaign said in a statement that “the Congressman’s record on this issue has been clear.” 

“He supports the vast majority of law enforcement professionals who do difficult and dangerous jobs to protect the people of this country,’ the statement said. “He has also been clear that we need reforms that end the disproportionate killings of people of color, particularly Black Americans, during encounters with law enforcement.” 

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