A Rice County official scrambled to clarify the meaning behind a controversial tweet over an $800,000 settlement to Diamond Reynolds nearly a year and a half after her boyfriend, Philando Castile, was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop as she sat in the passenger seat.
“She needs to come off County and State Aid now that she has some cash. It’ll be gone in 6 months on crack cocaine,” tweeted Tom McBroom, a Rice County Sheriff deputy and a City Council member in Elysian, a southern Minnesota town of about 600 residents.
His tweet was in response to a report earlier this week that St. Anthony city officials will pay $675,000 to resolve claims by Reynolds that she and her daughter suffered emotional distress and subjected to false arrest when Castile was shot by a St. Anthony police officer in July 2016. Reynolds will receive another $125,000 from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust and the city of Roseville, making the total settlement $800,000.
McBroom’s tweet drew ire on social media, with one tweeter saying: “Lot of false assumptions on your part.”
Another tweeter questioned why McBroom would draw such a conclusion. “I’m guessing stereotypes. #uneducated.”
“History,” McBroom tweeted in reply.
Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn said he learned about the tweet Wednesday night through media reports.
“These comments do not reflect the beliefs or opinions of the Rice County Sheriff’s Office and Rice County Administration,” Dunn said in a written statement issued Thursday.
Dunn said his office is reviewing the issue, adding that he couldn’t provide other information at this time.
One tweeter took McBroom to task, saying, “Embarrassing that a Minnesota law enforcement officer exhibits such blatant racism. You are a disgrace.”
In an interview, Dunn said McBroom isn’t scheduled to work but said he couldn’t discuss for how long or whether it was related to his review of the tweet.
In an interview with City Pages, McBroom said people misunderstood his comments and said he was referring to the temptation to spend rather than save large settlements.
“I’ve seen them come to court. They’ve lost their children, but they come to court dressed to the nines with Michael Kors purses,” Mc- Broom told City Pages. “To be frank with you … I see it time and time again and I just shake my head and say why wasn’t there anyone to help that person?”
McBroom told City Pages that his comment had nothing to do with Reynolds’ race (she is black). “I have friends of mine in the Minneapolis Police Department. And you know, that’s an epidemic up there, crack cocaine and opioids.”
St. Anthony Mayor Jerry Faust said the settlement will “resolve all civil litigation” against the city and current and former employees and “opens the door to healing.” Once approved by the court, a portion of the settlement will be placed into trust for Reynolds’ daughter and her future educational needs, the city’s statement said.