And the disappearance of Black police officers from the MPD
See my August 29, 2007 column regarding the courageous battle waged by Lt. Michael Keefe of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), “A profile in courage and integrity — the saga of Lt. Michael Keefe” (link below). Keefe was demoted to sergeant as part of a mean-spirited vendetta against this White officer and against some African American police officers.
The August 2007 column provides insight into the latest battles currently being fought within the city and within its police department. And even though Mayor Betsy Hodges and city council members have said they are committed to equity and fairness in the governance of the city of Minneapolis, a couple of major battles centering around equity in the MPD questions their commitment.
The first deals with the attempt by the City of Minneapolis, in State District Court, to avoid releasing information from the now six-and-a-half year lawsuit battle brought by then Lt. and now Sgt. Keefe. This lawsuit addresses the undermining by city officials of both Lt./Sgt. Keefe and the Black Police Officers Association. The Star Tribune has declined to report on Keefe’s lawsuit because of allegations and charges against some of their reporters.
The second recent battle centers on the promise made by the Hodges administration to the Somali-American Community that there would be a significant increase of Somali-American citizens recruited as members of the MPD. For example, the very talented Somali-American candidate who was supposed to be hired by the St. Paul police department but was not, being denied entry into the cadet class. Thus, in January and February of this year, the Hodges administration indicated that this Somali-American would become a member of the next recruitment class of the MPD. But: denied again. Why?
Recall the fact that the last recruitment class was all White. There is concern about the shrinking number of officers of color in the MPD. Thus the surprise within the Somali-American community, and I assume by the Somali-American City Council member, when their man did not make the top 60 of a recruitment class that was cut off at 40.
In fact, Police Federation President John Delmonico indicated to the Hodges administration that the Federation would not oppose Chief Harteau’s reaching out to pull this Somali-American candidate into the top 40. The chief declined, giving no reason, stating only that it was not a matter for discussion. Again: why?
When one reviews some of the police personnel who were involved in the 2004-2007 dismantling of the Black Police Officers Association, we find the city redacting names in the requested report. Why this rejection by the Hodges Administration and Chief Harteau of the offer of the Minneapolis Police Federation’s call to support the Black Police Officers Association?
Where are the Lutherans who worked so hard to bring Somalis to Minneapolis, only now to abandon them? The Somali-American community has been betrayed. How they decide to deal with it is up to them. They will find out, as did African American police officers, that there cannot always be a love affair or even a relationship of trust with some of those in City Hall. And so the number of MPD Somali-American officers, which is five, will not increase anytime soon, while the number of African Americans in the police department continues to shrink.
Why is the African American Leadership Council pressuring other Black organization leaders to stand down and not raise this issue in any way, shape or form? And so, as then Lt., now Sgt. Michael Keefe predicted, the continued demise of African Americans and others of color continues apace.
For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books: www.BeaconOnTheHill Press. For the August 29, 2007 column on Keefe, go to http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/2007/columns/07q3.htm#0718c0829.