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Minneapolis' recently appointed community safety commissioner spent part of his Thursday evening arguing on Twitter with residents who questioned him about the city's plans for public safety.

Cedric Alexander, who was appointed by Mayor Jacob Frey in August to become the first leader of Minneapolis' new community safety department, engaged with several users via his personal Twitter account @Calex_Law, and blocked at least one following an exchange.

One of the users he eventually blocked was Amity Foster, a data manager for the racial and economic justice organization ISAIAH in Minneapolis, who asked Alexander about the number of Minneapolis Police Department squad cars parked on sidewalks downtown.

Her tweet makes an indirect reference to the city's new crime plan – Operation Endeavor – which has been criticized for being vague and focusing too much on downtown over more serious crime hotspots.

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Here was Alexander's reply.

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The conversation continued, with Foster – who said she does see a need for a police presence in the city – asking what the officers whose squad cars are parked downtown are doing while they're there, and to whom they're accountable.

"Ask the people walking, working and living downtown what their experience is ... those citizens opinions matter and that's who officers are accountable to," Alexander responds.

Foster then asks how much of an impact "visibility" has on public safety, while pointing out the tense relationship between city police and the wider community in recent years.

What followed was an exchange which ends with Alexander saying: "It's clear you don't know much of nothing except how to be critical."

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Foster later tweeted to note that she had been blocked by Alexander's account. The blocking of residents by public officials on social media – even on private accounts – has been the subject of a First Amendment debate in recent years.

It's not the first time Alexander has blocked a Minneapolis resident since taking office, with the community news service, Wedge Live, among those banned from seeing Alexander's tweets.

Foster wasn't the only Twitter user to attract Alexander's criticism on Thursday evening, with the commissioner also responding to some who had taken note of their exchange and criticized him for it.

One of them, Jim Kruzitski, called Alexander's comments "childish" and contrasted them to those made by Minneapolis Police Chief-in-waiting Brian O'Hara regarding the historic problems with community trust MPD has, with Alexander responding by suggesting Kruzitski is racist.

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He told another critical user who responded to a post bringing up his $300,000 annual salary by saying: "Stop winning!"

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And this was how he responded to the criticism that Mayor Frey – who has power over policing and public safety in Minneapolis – can't control his community safety commissioner.

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Shortly after he took office, Alexander gave an interview to WCCO in which he said the following regarding what the public want from city police: 

"They want police in their communities. They want them up and down Broadway. They want them on the streets, in their neighborhoods. But people want good police. They want honest police. They want constitutional policing. They want respectful policing, and they deserve that, and they are going to get that."

Alexander has form for a combative presence on Twitter. In 2020, he hit back at a county legislator in New York who criticized and made allegations about his record when he worked for the police in Rochester, NY.

Bring Me The News has reached out to the Office of Jacob Frey for comment on Alexander's activities on Thursday.

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