Yet “they” continue to try to bury what can no longer be buried
On May 21, 2014, the District Court for Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota ordered released for review by the general public a 4,000-page report reviewing the six-year-old lawsuit filed by then Lt. Michael Keefe against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on behalf of himself and, by extension, the former Black Police Officers Association. The report’s suppressed content is sending shockwaves through our community and City Hall, as the light of day brings curing to a cancer in our body politic.
The 4,000 pages verify what I have long written about Lt. Keefe and the MPD’s Violent Offenders Task Force (see my June 5, 2014 column), and of how the events from 2004-2009 helped destroy the Black Police Officers Association. During that period, five members of the Association (“The Mill City 5,” Officers Harris, Arrodondo, Adams, Edwards — no relation to this columnist — and Hamilton), settled for $750,000, leaving $1.3 million on the table.
The lone hero within City Government was Councilman Ralph Remmington, steadfast in support of the Black Police Officers Association and Lt. Keefe. Under tremendous criticism and pressure from City Council colleagues, he fought the racism and corruption targeted by these lawsuits. Unwilling to accept or give credence to the cover-up by City Hall, he did not run for reelection, leaving to take a position with the Obama Administration.
That now-released 4,000 pages of investigation information includes the results of depositions, wire taps, and other evidence regarding the City’s and MPD’s treachery and betrayal. The City Attorney redacted as many names as possible from this 4,000 page report, until that too was also uncovered and stopped.
The editors of the Minneapolis Star Tribune made a political decision to not report nor print any aspect of this 4,000 page investigative report (reminding me of the Star Tribune telling my publisher in 2003 that they would not review nor report my book).
The 4,000 page report outlines the blueprint of how those at the highest level of government were obsessed with destroying the presence of African Americans in the MPD. Unless steps are taken, the next two classes of police officer cadets/recruits will, for the first time in 30 years, have no African American cadets.
In the meantime, high ranking White police officers involved are quietly leaving for other jurisdictions, such as the University of MN, or are being promoted to make them appear honorable and trusted members of the MPD. Most stark: the culpability of our African American community “leadership” that lent support to actions resulting in the demise of the Black Police Officers Association, and the reduction of the presence of African American police officers in the MPD.
The 4,000 pages of evidence reveal how extremely effective racism and discrimination and cover-up was to ensure the demise of African Americans in law enforcement in Minneapolis. This should be troubling to all, Black and White. The disappearance over the next 10 years of African Americans in the MPD will contribute to guaranteeing a reduction in the quality of life for Black and White Americans alike and their public safety, which is what we are dependent upon for fairness and balance.
The 4,000 pages: one of the most significant recordings of the demise of a people because of the color of their skin and of how the major paper joined others in a commitment of silence to smother facts that supported truth. We maintain our eternal vigilance in the lonely pursuit of justice, fairness and equal opportunity. With this 4,000-page report, it won’t be so lonely.