A police chief’s Facebook video that shows him mocking people for speaking languages other than English brought scrutiny to the lakeside town of Madison Lake, Minn., last week, with the city administrator at first minimizing the offensive video before the city changed course and said it would be reviewed.
Chief Daniel Bunde, who did not respond to phone calls or e-mails last week, apparently made the video while on vacation at Yellowstone National Park this summer. The video surfaced online Tuesday after an anonymous tipster sent it to Madison Lake city officials and a Mankato TV station.
Its airing at first brought a warning from City Administrator Curt Kephart that the anonymous tipster who turned it in should be cautious before making judgments about Bunde. Kephart, who initially told KEYC News 12 in Mankato that he hadn’t seen the video, said he didn’t plan to pursue it because he didn’t know the name of the person who had made the video public.
A day later, as public response to the video mounted, the city issued a statement on its website saying it would “review and take appropriate action if action is deemed warranted.”
Among those calling on the city for a stronger response is Jessica Flatequal, the director of gender and sexuality programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
“I have serious questions about the safety of immigrants and people of color in your community,” Flatequal wrote in a letter to city officials. She said Bunde’s video disparaging tourists’ “national origin and their diversity of language is not only an embarrassment to your town, but a dangerous sentiment to hear from someone who is there to protect all your citizens.”
In the video, Bunde is sitting outdoors when he begins speaking quietly into a cellphone camera, saying he’s at Yellowstone. He then says “Listen to the languages I hear,” before turning the camera back and forth to catch images of people sitting and standing nearby.
“All I hear is blablablablabla,” he says. He tips his head forward a few times to show the “Veteran” baseball cap he’s wearing, before signing off with, “Wake up, America.” The video has since been removed from his Facebook page.
Madison Lake, population 1,017, is located about 80 miles southwest of the Twin Cities.