Story leaves out racist history behind captains’ lawsuit
“Demoted police captains sue Minneapolis chief,” is the Star Tribune October 28, 2014 headline, by David Chennen, discussing a lawsuit filed by five former MPD (Minneapolis Police Department) captains, a story that digs up a buried can of worms. Although poor timing for the city and Star Tribune, I am among those who say it’s about time, as it reopens the history of discrimination in the MPD that needs to be addressed, including serious questions regarding the withholding of information/news by the Star Tribune.
The Star Tribune article opens up (uncovers) these key issues:
• The lawsuit filed six years ago by-then Lt. Michael Keefe against the MPD on behalf of himself and, by extension, the former Black Police Officers’ Association.
• The prime-time players eight years ago involved in the destruction of the Black Police Officers’ Association.
• The VOTF unit (Violent Offenders Task Force), busted six years ago.
• The year-long fight inside the federal court by the Minneapolis Star Tribune to save its journalistic integrity (the Star Tribune obtained a copy of a 4,000-page court document, using the Freedom of Information Act, as I first reported in my June 19, 2014 column).
• That 4,000-page document reveals the real story of the MPD under former Mayor R.T. Rybak and former MPD Chief Tim Dolan, including the decision to terminate the captains list, on which the top three candidates were African American (two were successful plaintiffs against the city, being awarded $750,000 in damages for pointing out the intense presence of race prejudice and corruption in the MPD over a 15-year period).
It will be interesting to see what happens if the five former captains attempt to bring before the court what had previously been agreed to seal, including the cases of the Mill City 5 and Lt. Michael Keefe. The lawsuit by these five former captains will reveal issues that will make it even more difficult to address problems of race and community policing in Minneapolis until resolution of these cases and issues.
We welcome this as we stand for the importance of telling the truth, examining the truth, and explaining the truth, all necessary conditions for healthy and effective institutions, newspapers and government. Will the Star Tribune print the truth in these matters which have come before the state and federal courts over the past seven years?
Key is that there will finally be what has been in short supply: the presenting of facts, the discovery of the truth and the search for justice, in key parts of the MPD.
But truth and justice are two-way streets. Among these former captains are those who were directly involved in the destruction of the careers of former officers, especially Lt. Michael Keefe, a history that has been tenaciously suppressed by mainstream media. Reporters like Channen and McEnroe will now have an opportunity to truthfully present news for public scrutiny by widening what is accepted as news fit to print, especially suppressed truth of the last 15 years inside the MPD.
One of the captains named in the October 28 article had a chance seven years ago to join colleagues raising questions of wrongdoing in the MPD, including bias, discrimination and unfairness, but instead stayed silent. Another of these five captains was very much involved in undermining the Black Police Officers’ Association, as well as masterminding a less than credible criminal conviction of a former Black police officer, a story only revealed in this column and paper, but now, finally, also in mainstream media.
For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solutions papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books, go to www.BeaconOnTheHillPress.com.