Tell R​.​T. Rybak and The Minneapolis Foundation to Step Back from Police Reform Efforts

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Nekima Levy Armstrong
Nekima Levy Armstrong signed this petition

Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25, 2020, former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has attempted to insert himself into the public as a leader on police reform. R.T. Rybak previously  served three terms as Mayor of Minneapolis from 2002- 2013 and utterly failed to address serious policing issues in Minneapolis and ignored the concerns of the Black community. Under his watch, 38 people were killed by police, and not a single police officer was held accountable for killing a civilian. R.T. Rybak demonstrated gross incompetence in reining in Minneapolis Police and an utter disregard for Black lives.

Rather than being held accountable for his failures, he has attempted to assert himself as a leader on police reform, having written a recent article in “The Atlantic” and appearing in several media outlets. R.T. Rybak is also the current President of The Minneapolis Foundation (TMF); a wealthy, predominantly white foundation that has failed to address the needs of the Black community and other communities of color in recent years. TMF further violated the trust of the community when it accepted $2 million of a $20 million record-breaking settlement from the family of Justine Damond, a white woman killed by police; in spite of two Black male victims of police shootings receiving less than $1 million combined from the city of Minneapolis. Now, TMF is offering “resources” to help address police reform without community input by facilitating a no-bid contract with a for-profit company called, Benchmark Analytics. R.T. Rybak reportedly serves as a board member of this company, raising the question of multiple conflicts of interest.

In light of R.T. Rybak’s failure to hold police accountable during his tenure as Mayor and his lack of leadership on these issues, we are demanding that he and TMF 1) Cease and desist any further involvement in police reform efforts in Minneapolis; 2) Provide a written apology to the Black community for the harm that has been caused; and 3) Agree to pay reparations to the Black community by supporting the growth and development of Black-owned businesses in North and South Minneapolis; including, but not limited to businesses and buildings that were destroyed as a result of the recent uprisings in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.

We will not tolerate R.T. Rybak and the elites of Minneapolis hijacking the movement for racial justice and police accountability. This is not and should not be the role of philanthropy in our community. The people have spoken and the people will continue to lead this movement for significant change. #StepBackRybak