Dave Hutchinson is fighting the good fight. But he needs us to win it.
Down-ballot races that happen at the county level rarely receive media attention. Those are the items on the ballot you learn about for the first time when you walk into the voting booth and say to yourself "I have no idea who any of these people are." But there's one name you should keep in mind, one man who could change a lot of people's lives for the better: Dave Hutchinson.
Dave Hutchinson is fighting an uphill battle to unseat the reigning Trump-supporter and sheriff of Hennepin County, Richard W. Stanek, a smooth operator who has held the position for the last 12 years (took office January 2007). He has a track record of blatant racism, and, like many racists, a smooth and charming persona. Most people don't actually know he is a Trump supporter.
Richard Stanek's track record as Hennepin County Sheriff:
Deployed Hennepin County police to Standing Rock to help suppress protestors, a bizarre, non-county-related move publicly criticized by Minneapolis City Council member Alondra Cano, state Senator Patricia Torres Ray, state Representative Peggy Flanagan, and Clyde Bellecourt
When he met POTUS he blamed immigrants for the opioid crisis and was a loud anti-immigrant voice
Demanded all courtroom defendants be kept in handcuffs during proceedings, even though this practice biases juries against them
He has repeatedly emphasized that Hennepin County is "not a sanctuary county" so that even though Minneapolis is a sanctuary city, anyone booked into the Hennepin County Jail will not fall under Minneapolis’ sanctuary city ordinance. "Minneapolis can pass all the policies they wish,” said Stanek. “Hennepin County is not a sanctuary county.”
As documented in a latter Stanek himself wrote, his jail staff asks inmates for their place of birth at the point of booking, which is not required. If they answer they’re foreign born, the Sheriff’s Office will share their fingerprints with the BCA, which in turn sends them to the FBI and then to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office will arrange for ICE agents to interview them over the phone. When inmates are about to be released from jail, if ICE has requested notification, ICE gets another call so agents can be at the ready to take them straight into federal custody. Source.
Because county commissioners cannot tell Stanek what to do in his jail (since he is an elected official) they have instead had to create a legal defense fund for undocumented people impacted by his targeting. Source.
Wikipedia states that he also jailed an activist for no reason other than retaliation, and was criticized by RT Rybak for providing false information about the 35W bridge collapse
He implemented a new form at the County jail that asks people their country of origin. This is not required by law, it is simply to help him communicate with ICE about potential undocumented people.
And then there's this blatant racism (source):
"He was appointed Commissioner of Public Safety in 2003, but was forced to resign in April 2004 when racist conduct at a 1989 traffic stop...came to light...Stanek approached the car cursing and screaming, and yelled, ‘N—r. Motherfucker,’ when he arrived at the vehicle...
In a 1992 deposition, he admitted that he had told racist jokes and made derogatory statements about blacks while on duty. Then the questioning centered solely on whether Stanek had ever used the word ‘n—-r’ — which he had, he admitted, ‘several’ times. Stanek went on to convey that he and many of his colleagues in the MPD had freely used the word on the job, and he didn’t recall anyone ever being disciplined for it. ‘I think it’s inappropriate to use that word in public,’ Stanek offered.
Sergeant Dave Hutchinson: A voice for fair policing.
Mr. Hutchinson has openly supported keeping undocumented families together as well as updated, non-violent policing methods. He is a member of a LGBTQIA officers group. He has repeatedly talked about fair policing and diversity training for all. He has attended numerous community policing events, wants the hiring process to involve community members and not just a written test and internal interview, and is teamster-endorsed as well as endorsed by Stonewall DFL. He has spent his career "working in some of the poorest and most forgotten neighborhoods of Hennepin County." From his website:
15 years of experience as a sworn police officer, 5 as sergeant
Police supervision training, including FBI-LEEDA and MN BCA training for upper management
Committed to the needs of all people, from all backgrounds. I will require Crisis Intervention Training for all Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) staff. People suffering from mental illness need help, not jail.
I will reevaluate HCSO’s relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I am committed to keeping families together.
Committed to transparency in the hiring and firing process of HCSO staff and officers. Ensuring that the HCSO operates on the best practices of now, not the 90’s. Police need to be involved in the community and vice versa!
Dave has also pledged to remove the country of origin box on the county jail intake form (see above).
Dave is happily married to his husband Justin, and lives in Bloomington. This is a position that deeply effects how people, particularly people of color and undocumented people, will be policed.
Steps to take next: First, and I'm not even kidding here, please tell everyone you know in MN. Share this blog post, talk to your family, tell your activist groups, and talk to delegates going to the County Convention May 19th.
ALSO, please donate. Campaigns are not cheap and the GOP heavily funds campaigns. Every dollar helps print a sign and keep Dave's name in front of people.
Lastly, once Dave wins the endorsement (after May 19th) we need to get out and doorknock like crazy. The one thing I hear from candidates is that they need help getting to all the doors. Nothing changes people's mind like an in-person encounter. If you just can't bring yourself to door-knock consider making calls or continue social media activism.
Let's get this Trump surrogate out of our county Sheriff's office and end his reign of blatant racism. We all deserve better.
UPDATE MAY 20Th: On May 19th, Dave Hutchinson received the official DFL endorsement for his candidacy against Richard Stanek. Vote for Dave in the primary 8/14/18 and in November. For information on early voting in the primary or general election, click here. Important: There will not be a "D" by his name because this is a non-partisan race so PLEASE get his name out there so people know to vote for him. He is listed as Dave Hutch on the ballot.
Further reading, City Pages Article: Dave Hutchinson’s uphill fight to take down a conservative sheriff
Follow Dave on Facebook.
Short video about the sheriff's race!