Last week there was a lot of surprise and concern in law enforcement circles regarding how this new chapter in Cowboy King’s history could take place: being transferred to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department’s Violent Offender Task Force (VOTF), especially in light of his having taken personal credit for destroying the Black Police Officers Association and destroying the career of fellow officers (see my August 29, 2007 column and December 14, 2007 blog essay).
In the transfer, public officials again put fellow officials’ career survival/pensions ahead of their sworn oaths to do their duties in terms of public safety. Sgt. Pat King should minimally be censured, not celebrated. In the court transcript of a couple of months ago (I attended every day of that trial), he slandered a significant number of well-respected officers as “scum of the earth.”
Besides the transcript, see my columns of February 22 and May 30, 2012. In my August 1, 2012 column, I stated: “Lt. Smith and Sgt. King also lied about Black police officers, including Lt. Lee Edwards, Sgt. Charles Adams, Sgt. K.G. Paulis, and later Lt. Art Knight and former patrol officer Mike Roberts, along with White officer Lt. Michael Keefe, saying they were associates and co-conspirators with Minnesota’s Black gangs.
“Their testimony did not stop there. They portrayed Assistant Chief Janée Harteau and Deputy Chief Scott Gerlicher as lying, incompetent co-conspirators.” In their phrase, in the court transcript: “scum of the earth.”
Note the obvious: This transfer is heightening tension between Black and White officers in local law enforcement. Rumor has it that Sgt. King has stated he is immune to consequences relevant to his conduct, including his lies, deceit, and help in the destruction of the Black Police Officers Association and severe damage to reputations of Black police officers he falsely accused of being criminals in his trial testimony.
Why didn’t testimony by current high-ranking Minneapolis Police Department officers as well as representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s office carry weight in this Sgt. King decision? Black officers feel they have been both betrayed and slapped in the face. With this very career enhancing transfer for Sgt. King, it clearly sends a signal to Black law enforcement officers, especially those in Minneapolis, that false allegations can be made against them, with rewards — not sanctions — for those bearing false witness.
We hope Sheriff Richard Stanick takes the opportunity to read the trial transcript (“Andy Smith and Pat King vs. the City of Minneapolis and officers of the Minneapolis Command”). Why wasn’t retiring Chief Tim Dolan included in their suit? Troubling about this reward for Sgt. Pat King is his false testimony going unchallenged about highly qualified officers being part of a criminal enterprise. This exposes the lie about departmental “esprit de corps.”
What is of great concern today is this: King will feel free to continue spinning his contemptible slanders with impunity that fellow officers are “the scum of the earth.” Ironically, many of these slandered officers were under the command of Captain Richard Stanick when he headed the Minneapolis Police Department Criminal Investigation Division.
What powerful forces, political and otherwise, were at play to make the decision to send Sgt. Pat King to another venue after he so slandered fellow officers in trial under oath? We fervently hope that the truth will eventually be taken into account rather than brushed aside, such that all of these very fine and honorable police officers of the Minneapolis Police Department will not only be vindicated but receive apologies.
Why didn’t anyone care about how on point the testimony of the U.S. Attorney’s office representative was? What a poorly disguised way for city officials to say that Black police officers have no rights and no respect.
Whether talking about ruining lives or departments with slander, whether slandering the concepts of rights and justice, or whether slandering Black Americans by calling them unqualified and not qualifyable, therefore denying Black contractors and workers jobs on major projects like the new Vikings Stadium, the powers at be are allowing color to trump character.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. So we are going to stand up…letting the world know we are determined to be free.”
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinne apolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneap olisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.