After the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the Twin Cities has become a major focal point in a complicated national conversation about law enforcement. For a deeper and more nuanced understanding of that conversation and how we got to this point, we recommend you look elsewhere.
That’s, uh… not what this is.
The Center of the American Experiment, a Golden-Valley based conservative think tank, has vowed to take a stand on the issue… for cops.
Its nascent "Support MN Police" campaign includes a petition calling on local government to “make public safety their city’s top priority.” Ask them, and contrary to decades of dysfunction, countless unnecessary deaths, violence disproportionately levied against people of color, and months of widespread protest, “this is a system worth defending.”
The campaign includes a whopping 38 billboards throughout the metro area, mostly featuring scary-sounding headlines about a reported uptick in violent crime; stuff like “Uptown reels after gunfire, bloodshed” and “Multiple shootings in metro area overnight,” followed by the URL for the petition.
On Monday, the Center surprised not one goddamn soul by announcing that five of these billboards had already been tagged “within days” of launching the campaign. (One has reportedly been defaced twice.) After being doctored with some spray paint, they bore messages like “Uptown reels after police murder us,” and “Multiple police shootings in metro area overnight, fuckkk 12.”
One billboard, which originally read, “Support our police,” was changed to “Shoot our police,” followed by the hammer and sickle and the anarchy symbol.
“The leftist thugs whose criminal actions only underscore the critical importance of American Experiment’s pro-police campaign targeted billboards in high-traffic areas of south Minneapolis, the Midway section of St. Paul, near the University of Minnesota, and along I-394,” reads the Center’s Facebook post on the subject.
It also speculated about whether the vandals were “connected to a mob of dozens of leftist thugs” who graffitied the federal courthouse, several Hennepin County law enforcement facilities, and the area around U.S. Bank stadium on Saturday.
The Center didn’t respond to interview requests, but it would appear it’s taking this whole thing with its standard level of cool-headedness and nuance.
“The people who are trying to prevent the majority of law-abiding citizens from being heard are evil,” the post says. “By their own admission, they are communists. For the moment, though, the relevant point is that they are criminals.”
The Center is offering a whopping $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to their arrest. They're probably good for it: The small-government-free-market-espousing think tank recently landed an emergency emergency COVID-19 bailout, according to Paycheck Protection Program data.
The Center, which has been around and funded by corporations, wealthy conservatives, and right-wing charities since 1990, is run by John Hinderaker, who also brought us the far-right blog Power Line. He wrote an additional piece on this, the apparent crime of the century, entitled “Who is behind the anti-police campaign?” in which he decried it as “the vilest sort of extremism.”