Minneapolis Mayor Hammers Local Police Who Absurdly Claimed She Was Flashing Gang Signs

gang sign

Last week, a Minneapolis news station ran a story, provided to them by local law enforcement, claiming Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was photographed flashing gang signs with a known criminal. Of course, the truth turned out to be far different, as the photo was actually of Hodges and a community activist innocently pointing at each other during a ‘Get Out The Vote’ walk through a neighborhood. The ridiculousness of the news story and the police department’s attempt to smear the mayor, mostly due to her criticism of the department’s history of brutality, racial profiling and corruption, led to a social media meme known as #Pointergate.

In a blog posted to her website Thursday, the Democratic mayor addressed the police department’s made-up controversy in the best way possible. Likely emboldened by the #Pointergate tweets and Jon Stewart highlighting the absurdity of it all earlier in the week, Hodges slammed the department’s union leadership over the media hit job they tried to take out on her. Early on in her blog post, Hodges used humor to point out the silliness of the police union’s position that “she should know better” regarding her obvious use of known gang signs.

First, maybe the head of the police union would like me to stop pointing altogether for the safety of the community. If that were truly his concern, that my pointing constitutes gang activity, then his outrage would have been sparked long, long ago. Because as the internet has documented in great detail, I point. I point a lot. Lots of people point. The President. Bill Clinton. Stephen Colbert. Babies. It is the earliest form of human communication.* I’m not going to stop pointing.

After discussing the difficulty it would take in determining every person’s criminal background that she may interact within the community and then deciding if that background is cause enough not to be seen with that person, she then brought up stereotypes and the notion that she shouldn’t be taking pictures with young black men.

The third option may be that the head of the police union doesn’t want me standing next to young African American men. One frightening implication of the KSTP story and police union President Delmonico’s support of that story is their implicit assumption that I should use stereotypes to assess with whom I should or should not meet or stand or talk. As The Onion once satirically wrote, “Stereotypes are a real time saver.” It is not a good basis for decision-making, however. It blunts the humanity of the person making the judgment and creates unnecessary separation between two people in a world where more, rather than less, human connection is needed for us to move forward as a community.

Finally, Hodges pointed out the real reason local law enforcement tried to smear her with a disgusting piece of racial fear-mongering. She brought up the fact that she’s worked tirelessly to get the department to raise their standards and be accountable for their actions. The mayor unequivocally told police leadership that they failed in their attempt to silence her and she will continue to work towards improving community policing.

Which leaves one final option. It could be that the head of the police union wants me to stop working to raise the standards of police culture and accountability. It could be that he objects to the community policing and relationship-building measures that I am acting on, and attempted to use this non-story to discredit this work.

If that is the case, he has failed on two levels. First, the people of the internet have called out this story over and over with outrage and humor, shining the light of day on the ridiculous premise on which it was based.

Second, and more significantly, I am undaunted in my commitment to making sure that police-community relationships are as strong as they can be. I am undaunted in my desire to support and develop police officers who serve respectfully and collaboratively every day to keep people safe and make all our neighborhoods stronger. I am undaunted in my plans to increase accountability for consistent bad actors in the police department.

This whole episode has blown up in the faces of the Minneapolis police force and KSTP, the local news channel that forced aired the piece. Instead of hurting the mayor on a local level as they intended, it has only brought these issues to a national level. The station and police force have been shown to be racist buffoons and Hodges’ initiatives to improve local law enforcement have received positive press.

True to form, instead of backing off of the story, KSTP doubled-down Thursday night by airing another piece on the ‘controversy’, this time shifting the focus entirely on the young black man in the photo, Navelle Gordon. I guess local police and their compliant media outlet aren’t going to let this die. To be honest, they really, really should. It is only making them look petty, bigoted and spiteful.

16 Replies to “Minneapolis Mayor Hammers Local Police Who Absurdly Claimed She Was Flashing Gang Signs”

  1. If you’re African American you better look and act like Erckel or you’re going to profiled and discriminated against.

    I find it so amusing, that white people especially police who have all the power, are so threatened by anyone who dares not to accept the white, christian, corporate culture.

    Way to go Mayor, I’m pointing the finger at you because you’re number one in my book.

  2. So let me guess? the Police chief is most likely a Reich Wing God luvin’ real ‘muricun….Oh and Lily white and up tight!

  3. Its a little obvious here that the TV station itself has no standards of decency or reporting. Either they have an agenda against the Mayor or they have an agenda to make themselves look entirely stupid with the help of anyone that comes along

  4. Actually, the Police Chief is a lesbian woman who is part Native American. It’s the head of the police union who’s a fear-mongering white man.

  5. Can we find out who heads up the training department of state, local police departments? Is it Blackwater? There is a culture that is being hired, taught and promoted. We need to get a grip on the type of individual that comes into the system at ground zero.

  6. As a resident of Minneapolis, this story has brought shame to the police department and to KSTP. The real problem is that a majority of police departments are being outfitted in military equipment. This is in preparation for the coming revolution that they perceive to be inevitable. Because federal troops are not to be used, they can turn loose the local police – all equipped with enough war gear to stop the locals from even protesting. (See Ferguson, MO)

  7. I’m seeing this behavior in “community news agencies” all over our country. I NEVER click on any link of a local FAUX news, but the small papers I read don’t control the hate in their threads and then they push it. The local news stations here push anger and divisiveness too.

  8. It’s interesting how the election of our first black president has embolden ALL the closet racist to just go full tilt!! this country is as racist as it was during the 1970’s , you know, the archie bunker style racist. This country has lost it’s damn mind! most caucasians I’ve dealt with are very decent people but the small percentage of racist caucasians don’t sit quietly!! the GOP has tried to make racism fashionable again! BUT, the democratic party should have created some media outlet to challenge FUX NEWS!! but leave it to them to totally ignore the threat!!

  9. One can get a clearly understanding of KSTP (Stanley Hubbard/Hubbard Foundation) threat when viewing its ties with the Koch brothers (Charles Koch in particular). From Ketchup Ala., French Fries Vt, Cola Calf. to Burgerville NC, the Koch brothers have their hands in to almost every news media outlet across this nation either directly or indirectly. To control the message and the messenger is to control everyday people minds. There is a reason for all this news media push for their absurdity. To blur the lines for what they want their America to be (pure White). This is a female democratic mayor and Black man and they are the enemy against their racist Hilter type dream. Using the police and news media is the going thing these days for furthering their evil takeover plans. The police have the guns and the media have the words to control any descent. Sadly, “we the people” are to slow to grasp what is actually occurring. Hopefully it is the little things like pointergate as a wake cal…

  10. Either no one in the police department knows anything abut gang signs or they are simply liars.

    Either way, they have no business being police officers. She’s the mayor, fire the morons.

  11. well, when KTSP’s license comes up for renewal, the citizens should submit comments to the FCC, demanding that the license not be renewed.

  12. I’m totally in your corner on that–however, I think a more likely outcome is that the mayor will be fatally injured in an accidental shooting by a cop.

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