African-American leaders want Garofalo censured over NBA tweet

Mel Reeves speaks at a news conference calling on House DFLers to censure Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington. Tom Scheck/MPR News

Representatives of the Minneapolis and St. Paul NAACP, clergy and other leaders in the African-American community are calling on the DFL-controlled House to censure a Republican lawmaker for tweeting a comment that they consider racist.

The group says Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, didn’t apologize directly for a statement he wrote on Twitter that linked NBA basketball players with street crime.

Mel Reeves, an associate minister at Zion Baptist Church, said he wants Garofalo to make a sincere apology. He also said DFL leaders in the House should file an ethics complaint or face a backlash.

“It’s going to get a little bit ugly because we’re not going to let it go,” Reeves said. “We’re going to have community meetings about it. It’s going to behoove them to come and say something because it’s also a teachable moment.”

Garofalo made national headlines last week after he wrote on Twitter that the only way anyone would notice a reduction in NBA teams would be an increase in street crime.

He faced reporters last week and apologized. 

Today Garofalo said little about calls that he be reprimanded.

“I apologized last week, and that statement stands for itself,” Garofalo said.

DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen said he wanted to look into the complaint before commenting.

  • Jeff

    Can we get some fair reporting? This was an off-handed tweet that you REALLY have to search for a racial element in order to find it and Rep. Pat Garofalo has already apologized for the comment. I do wish we could have had the same media coverage when Rep. Ryan Winkler tweeted: “#SCOTUS VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas. Marriage decision may blur Court’s backsliding.” So a clearly racist tweet (a white guy referring to a black man as an “Uncle Tom” is about as racist as you can get!) is ignored and a tweet that MIGHT have some racial undertones is covered non-stop for days if not weeks on end…what’s the difference? One is a Republican and one is a Democrat. Bias in the media…to remain intellectually honest I do wish that every story that mentions Garofalo’s comment would also mention Winkler’s comment.