Police union apologizes for St. Paul campaign spat

The word war between the campaign of St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter III and the city’s police union took its predictable next step Wednesday after the police union federation’s vice president made a campaign issue out of a break-in at Carter’s Summit-University home.

The police federation asked why guns that were stolen weren’t properly secured, why ammunition was stored and why Carter waited 50 minutes to call the cops.

ADVISORYLaw enforcement leaders call on Melvin Carterto answer key questions about recent burglaryof guns and…

Posted by Saint Paul Police Federation on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Keep in mind here that Carter was the victim of a robbery crime.

“The letter we received from the St. Paul Police Federation demonstrates the way people of color are presumed guilty by police every day in our city,” Carter campaign manager Emily Weber wrote in response. “The idea that a victim of a crime could become the accused based solely on the color of their skin is exactly why police culture needs to change, and it’s why our campaign has proposed a police reform plan to rebuild trust in our community. This shameful attack exemplifies why that reform is so critical.”

In the last day or so, social media has lit up with a pushback against mixing policing and politics.

I will remain upset about this because it is beyond the pale. The Saint Paul Police Federation cannot tell the…

Posted by Javier Morillo-Alicea on Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Today, the police union responded again, taking umbrage at being called racist, but apologizing for the letter that started the brouhaha.

“Melvin Carter’s campaign has asserted that the amazing men and women of the Saint Paul police department are racists. This is something we categorically deny and find offensive. The intent of our letter yesterday was in no way to revictimize the Carter family and for that we apologize,” Dave Titus, the president of the police federation said in an emailed statement.

  • Barton

    “Melvin Carter’s campaign has asserted that the amazing men and women of the Saint Paul police department are racists. This is something we categorically deny and find offensive.”

    Yeah, it hurts when some one calls you out on your actions.

    • Andy

      Plus, that’s not what Carter nor his campaign said.
      His campaign manager replied “The idea that a victim of a crime could become the accused based solely on the color of their skin is exactly why police culture needs to change…”
      The federation self-identified with that idea, apparently.

  • >>Keep in mind here that Carter was the victim of a robbery.<<

    Robbery or burglary?

  • AmiSchwab

    as a union person i find almost all police unions to be a disgrace.
    they give unions a bad name.

    • Kassie

      My take on police unions is this… Unions are made up by their members. They elect their leadership. If you want to change the leadership and mentality of the police union, you need to change the make up of the police force. If Minneapolis or St. Paul keep hiring thugs and racists, the unions will continue to act like thugs and racists.

      • crystals

        This is so true, and so profoundly sad.

  • jon

    I’ve met Melvin Carter…. I suppose I’ve met two Melvin Carters…
    I enjoyed talking to both of them for the little time we crossed paths, neither would probably remember me (more likely they’d know who my wife is).

    Melvin Carter II was a St. Paul police officer as I recall, got to be rough to have the union that represented you when you were a cop attacking your son…

  • crystals

    I mean, I guess I’m glad the union was called out so ruthlessly – and RIGHTLY – that they actually kind of apologized*. But dang, this is what they actually thought was appropriate and decided to put out into the world, thinking it was the right thing to do. That tells me all I need to know. Between St. Paul and Minneapolis police federations, it’s like they are actively trying to piss off as many people as possible and look absolutely horrible in the public just so their members feel protected.

    *Kind of, because while the words “we apologize” are included you have to wade through a sentence of BS about Carter asserting members of the police force are racists. What he said is that it was a) a racist attack (TRUE), b) that it demonstrates the way people of color are presumed to be guilty by police (TRUE), and c) that police culture needs to change (TRUE).

    Where you at, Pat Harris and Dai Thao?

    • Rob

      Harris has denounced the cop union’s “news” release.

  • Jonathan Foster

    Absolutely terrifying that the police will now go after citizens who are crime victims because of their political beliefs.

    • MikeB

      It’s good to know that the SPPF will try to weaponize a crime and crime report when it suits their interests.

  • AL287

    We are definitely a nation divided and actions like this only widen the divide.

    Judgment was passed on a man who took time to check his residence after a break in because he didn’t call immediately for police as though he had something to hide. He probably just wanted to make sure what was stolen BEFORE he called the police as they usually ask the homeowner these questions when a burglary occurs.

    Oh! I forgot. He’s black, too and running for mayor of a multi-ethnic city.

    Items taken during a burglary are rarely ever recovered. It wouldn’t have mattered if the guns were “secured” properly (whatever that means). The burglars would have broken into a secure gun cabinet not said to themselves, “Oh! Gee. It’s locked. I guess we’ll have to pass on the guns.”

    Anyone who defends the police union’s actions needs to take a long hard look at their own issues with race and ethnicity, not to mention the burglary occurred in August, an eternity where burglaries are concerned.

  • Mike

    “The police federation asked why guns that were stolen weren’t properly secured, why ammunition was stored and why Carter waited 50 minutes to call the cops.”

    Right – because cops are sticklers for rules.

    If I lived in St. Paul, the police union’s actions alone would probably be enough to make me vote for Carter.

  • Karl Crabkiller

    Well – I read thru all this and I see 3 morons-
    1. Carl Kuhl ( the police union PR guy) for his public attack on the victim.
    2. Emily Carter (campaign) manager for the racism accusation.
    3. Melvin Carter – keeping unsecured weapons and ammunition in a house with children present….

    • jon

      Maybe check you reading comprehension skills before calling others morons.

      The police seem to be asking if the weapons were locked, and if the box there were in was secured with a lock and you decided that they were unsecured weapons…

      • crystals

        Thereby planting the seeds of belief that they WERE unlocked and unsecured, with the effectiveness of said strategy is so beautifully demonstrated here by our friend Karl Crabkiller.

    • Rob

      The article I read in the PiPress reported that, according to Melvin Carter, the guns had trigger locks and were kept in a lockbox.

  • theoacme

    I’m sorry, Mr. Titus, but your apology doesn’t cut any ice with me…

    …and to all police officers in the state of Minnesota that have NOT publicly and unequivocally and unconditionally condemned this racist attack on Mr. Carter, I cannot trust you to protect and serve me, even if al-Qaeda murdered my wife in public right on the Hennepin County Building plaza at noon on a Wednesday.

    • Andy

      Depending on your race, they may question you afterwards.
      I hope you call them quickly enough after she dies. 🙁

  • Rob

    That is clearly a heartfelt apology; my eyes are dusty.

  • JamieHX

    I’ve looked at the letter twice and can’t find anything that is evidence of racism. I think people are making big leaps to come to the conclusion that this is about race. The question about whether Carter has taken a gun safety course is unnecessary, but otherwise I think they’re asking legitimate questions of someone who is running for mayor. Unions have a right to endorse political candidates and to campaign for or against candidates.

    AL287: “Judgment was passed on a man who took time to check his residence after a break in…” How do you know that’s what he did with the 50 minutes?

    Crystals: “…demonstrates the way people of color are presumed to be guilty by police…” They’re saying he is guilty of poor judgment, a legitimate claim to make in a political campaign. And they would probably say the same things about a caucasian candidate if s/he did the same things and they were campaigning against that person.

    • TGB

      Jamie, spot on. Utterly nonsensical to blame this on race.

    • Jessica Z

      Why does it matter what Carter was doing during those 50 minutes?

  • TGB

    In other countries one can receive jail time for having guns stolen from one’s house; how is this about race?

    • Rob

      Have the police publicized gun thefts from white burglary victims?

  • One question I have that nobody has mentioned: is it legal to access, let alone disclose, police data for non-police purposes?

    • Laurie K.

      Pursuant to Minn. Stat. 13.82, subd. 7, criminal investigative data that is collected or created by law enforcement in order to prepare a case is confidential, protected nonpublic data while the investigation is active. Some data can be released – arrest data or the request for service data can be disclosed.

  • Andy

    *Two* more guns on the street. Two, folks. Just two.

  • christina l

    I live in St Paul and I am now voting for Carter next month. If the police, who have a habit of beating minority citizens in my city, are scared and attacking him for being burglerized then he gets my vote. I called the police to help my brother when he was having a mental breakdown and they ended up arresting him for disorderly conduct, maced him, tasered him 3 times, and broke My phone as I was recording their behaviors. I was threatened with arrest and then he was denied medical help in jail. This is real people. Vote Melvin Carter for mayor

    • KenB

      I hope you mean you’re going to rank him your #1 but that you’ll also rank other candidates you like as your #2, #3, … , as far as you have others you like.

  • MrE85

    What would have been a one-day story now has fresh legs, as the #gungate issue has arisen again in a pro-Harris flier. Now Mayor Coleman is calling on Titus and the executive board of the police union to go.