In the Minneapolis neighborhood where George Floyd died, voters disagree with Biden on policing. But they're voting for him anyway.
- Democratic nominee Joe Biden isn't very liberal on policing issues or criminal justice reform.
- Residents in the neighborhood where George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police in May told Insider that they disagree with Biden's record and views, but they're voting for him anyway.
- "I voted for Biden not because I like him, but because he's the better option," said Halia Frantzich, a 23- year-old Powderhorn Park resident who participated in the Black Lives Matter protests this summer.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
MINNEAPOLIS — In the neighborhood where George Floyd died, many residents disagree with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on policing. But they're voting for him anyway.
Voters at the Powderhorn Park Recreation Center, who found themselves at the center of a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests this summer, often expressed disagreement with Biden's record and plans for policing.
They say President Donald Trump is even worse, though, so they voted for Biden despite their reservations.
Floyd died at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the streets that border the west and south sides of Powderhorn Park, a neighborhood in south-central Minneapolis.
In 2016, then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the neighborhood with more than 80% of the votes; in the area immediately surrounding the park, Green Party candidate Jill Stein received more votes than Trump.
"I voted for Biden not because I like him, but because he's the better option," said Halia Frantzich, a 23- year-old Powderhorn Park resident who participated in the summer Black Lives Matter protests.
After Floyd's death, Frantzich and her neighbors got to work. If they weren't demonstrating, they were bringing medical supplies and food to the protesters. Frantzich also served the homeless encampment that temporarily settled in Powderhorn Park before police cleared the camp in July, arresting 21 activists and residents in the process.
While Powderhorn Park was the center of organized protests, it also bore the brunt of the destruction from rioting and looting. Several businesses burned on Lake Street, which marks the northern border of the neighborhood.
Biden's tough-on-crime past has come back to haunt him this election. But Minneapolis voters see Trump as an even worse option.
Frantzich is an advocate of police abolition, which Biden strongly opposes. For Frentzich, abolition means eliminating police departments and replacing them with a new system of better-trained professionals. Biden endorses deescalation and anti-bias training for police, community policing, and increased diversity in law enforcement.
Known in the '80s and '90s for his "tough-on-crime" stance in the Senate, Biden played a key role in passing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The crime bill has come under scrutiny again during Biden's presidential run, with critics saying it has contributed to mass incarceration, disproportionately imprisoning people of color.
"It is with much pain that I voted for f—ing Joe Biden," said union clerk Bethany Faith, 48. "We spent all summer in Powderhorn Park fighting against police use of force, and he's one of the architects of what we were fighting against."
Despite her distaste for Biden, Faith voted for him because she fears another four years under Trump would result in facism taking hold in the US.
Writer A. Rafael Johnson lives just six blocks from the site of Floyd's death, which activists turned into a memorial in the months after the killing. His ideas of police reform aren't too far from Biden's — Johnson wants to see better police accountability and consequences for breaking rules. Unlike Biden, however, he also wants to redirect funding from police departments and use trained, unarmed professionals as first responders in certain situations.
"There are too many people who benefit from a police force designed to harm Black and brown people," Johnson said. "And they will fight to keep it the way it is."
But putting a stop to the pandemic is Johnson's first priority.
"Until we get this pandemic solved, nothing can happen," he said.
'When it's in the center of where you're living, it shows you the importance of showing up'
Maya Ba, a 22-year-old college student who has spent most of her life in the neighborhood, doesn't believe in police abolition. Like Johnson, she wants to see more social workers, nurses, and other trained professionals working with police to solve problems. She likes that Biden is willing to listen to people, and sees him as a candidate who could bring unity to the US.
Biden's personality seemed to be his strongest trait for these voters, most of whom cited Trump's "selfishness" or "authoritarianism" as a reason to vote him out.
"I see more of a people-person in Biden," said restaurant industry worker Suzie Reed, 51. "I feel like I can relate to him more."
Reed said she was more horrified by the president's reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests than by any of the structural damage in Minneapolis. Trump has positioned Black Lives Matter as an extremist organization and defended the teen who shot three protesters, killing two, at a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Reed is in favor of incrementally defunding the police and reallocating the money to other community services. Ultimately, abolition is the goal, but "it can't be done overnight," she said.
Alexis Stiteler, a 31-year-old restaurant worker, is also in favor of working in the direction of police abolition. Many of her friends who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary were disappointed when Biden won the nomination and weren't planning on voting, she said.
But the protests this summer reminded them of the importance of casting a vote.
"When it's in the center of where you're living, it shows you the importance of showing up," Stiteler said. "(Biden) wasn't my first choice, but I don't want to to go through another four years of divisiveness."
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