The head of the union that represents Minneapolis police officers requested Sunday to be part of Chief Janeé Harteau’s planned community dialogue in the wake of two incidents involving off-duty officers accused of using racist slurs in altercations with black men.
Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, said there’s no place in the department for “racist or bigoted” officers.
Harteau last week called for a new dialogue with cultural and faith leaders to rebuild trust with the public after incidents in Green Bay, Wis., and in Apple Valley. Five officers are under Internal Affairs investigation for the incidents. Two SWAT team members were suspended with pay in one case and two officers pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the other.
Delmonico said the majority of Minneapolis police officers work hard every day to earn the public’s trust and respect. “The federation is committed to working with the chief in improving cultural and racial sensitivity training and reviewing (the department’s) hiring practices to ensure that we hire officers who understand that racism and discrimination of any kind … will not be tolerated,” he wrote.
Civil rights activist Ron Edwards, who led a Police Community Relations Council established by the U.S. Department of Justice, said Sunday he supported the union’s request to be part of the discussion.
“The Police Federation must have a place at the table with regards to any discussions of culture, race and future developments within the department,” Edwards said.
A spokesman said Sunday that Harteau was not available for an interview but that she is expected to meet with reporters Monday afternoon.