The campaign for mayoral candidate Melvin Carter fired back at the St. Paul Police Federation on Tuesday after the police union wrote Carter raising questions about the theft of two guns from his home.
In a letter dated Tuesday, the federation made note of two recent homicides in the city and asked Carter to address several questions, including, “How did you acquire two guns and where were they purchased?”
“Investigators have still not been able to locate the missing guns or the ammunition that was taken from your residence,” said the letter. “…We realize this is a sensitive matter but believe the risk to the community from two additional guns on the streets of St. Paul at a time of increased violence and as the city gets closer to Election Day creates the need to ask for your answers.”
Carter’s campaign manager, Emily Weber, issued a statement critical of the letter, calling it a “racist attack.”
“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,” Weber said. “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.”
Carter, who is black, has called for more police oversight as part of his campaign.
Larobin S. Scott, 24, was charged last week with one count of first-degree burglary for allegedly breaking into Carter’s home on Aurora Avenue on Aug. 15. He allegedly stole two handguns, a video game system, a duffel bag with ammunition and other items from Carter’s home.
The federation urged Carter to address why he apparently has not provided the guns’ serial numbers to investigators, why a metal box containing the guns was not secured or “affixed,” why he stored ammunition in a bag containing the box and why he apparently waited 50 minutes to call police after being notified by his neighbor that someone was in his home, among other questions. Carter returned home and pursued the suspect.
Federation President Dave Titus on Tuesday said it was “completely untrue” that the letter is racist. Serial numbers help police track guns found on the streets, he said.
“I’m concerned that an individual who does not see the significance of this wants to be our mayor,” Titus said. “If you want to call that political, go ahead.”
Weber urged mayoral candidates to condemn the letter, particularly Pat Harris, who has the federation’s backing.
“I was not aware of this letter prior to it being sent,” Harris said in an e-mail Tuesday night.
“Now that I have seen it, I regret any further pain that it may have caused Melvin and his family and as such reject the letter and its contents.”