The last time we were with you, we were talking about the racism travel brochure of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), including stops in Minneapolis, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Apple Valley, Minnesota. Let’s hope for the future of the chief that we don’t have any more MPD racism travelogue stops.
The chief indicated to local White media that she is embarking on a dialogue about MPD problems of racism (Star Tribune, August 2, “Chief Harteau calls for dialogue following racial incidents”). The Minneapolis Police Federation, under its President, Lt. John Delmonico, has stated clearly that the federation must also be at the table. I concur. And let’s not forget those conveniently forgotten “others,” Black police officers, who must also have a seat at any MPD table.
Last week’s column, “What it’s like to be Black in the MPD,” reported Black police officers’ embarrassing pain and humiliation. To the credit of MPD Federation President Lt. John Delmonico, he has demonstrated more racial sensitivity and understanding, and, thus, more wisdom, than the mayor, the city council, the chief and Black leaders. And it would appear, based on the names of individuals the chief met with August 7, that not one single person in this so-called dialogue group reached out to Black police officers to ask about their understanding and responses and sense of solutions.
Hopefully it is not too late to repair the damage to Black MPD officers. But with the help of Lt. John Delmonico, who I have known and worked with for many years, maybe, just maybe, that breach can be repaired sooner rather than later.
Velma Korbel, Minneapolis Civil Rights director, and one of the greatest civil rights failures in the history of the city of Minneapolis, but one of the best at meeting former director Jordan’s infamous standard, “we can meet minority hiring requirements without hiring a single African American,” is the latest in faux leaders presented as a person who can bring parties together. Assisting her is faux leader Michael Brown, her trusted left hand. They represent rough not tranquil waters. How will they be able to set a steady course of reconciliation for the great ship USS MPD?
Extremely serious issues confront needed dialogue and reflections for recommended solutions, issues as old as Minneapolis with a police department. Many will be watching this group closely, most of whom have probably never been at a crime scene in their lives nor been involved in mediating conflict between police and community in their lives, and clearly could not personally identify even five Black police officers with whom they have had a meaningful and professional discussion in their lives. Blind leading the blind?
This is not to be negative. Just stating the facts and nothing but the facts. The beginning of resolution must come quickly for there is too much tension, too much distrust, and too much hopelessness about repairing these relationships.
We look forward to the chief’s plan, and await evaluating the rest of the plan’s components, for without them we are truly in big trouble, with little hope to improve relations between the African American community and this city.
As Robert Peel, considered the father of modern policing said in the 19th century: “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
May God give us strength and have mercy on our souls.
For Ron’s hosted show’s broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. See Solution #31 our aggregate of columns and blog entrees on the racism toward police officers in the MPD at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/solutionpapers/31minncops.htm.