After controversial video is posted, Facebook page becomes hotbed of discussion


It has a growing following among residents who use it to discuss issues in crime-heavy north Minneapolis, and this week the "North Vent" Facebook page has been a hotbed of discussion about racial profiling after a controversial video was posted.

The footage, which you can see below, shows a white male appear to take out a gun while confronting a young black male (recording the incident), who had been talking in a car with another black male on the 3600 block of Sheridan Avenue North.

(Note: The video contains some strong language.)

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The armed man says there has been drug dealing in the area, and gets accused by the camera operator of racial profiling.

Police were called, FOX 9 reports, but officers played a mediating role, taking no action as the man with the gun was legally in possession of the firearm on his own property.

The man who took the footage, who calls himself Demetrius, told the station that he had no idea the man had a weapon.

Facebook page's influence

The video prompted more than 700 comments on the North Vent page, with some of its 4,000-plus followers debating stereotyping, as well as the rights and wrongs of citizens gathering their own evidence of supposedly suspicious behavior.

The Star Tribune says the forum has become an increasingly popular venue for discussion about crime on the north side of the city, with even police officers and city officials posting on the site, but reports that some residents are concerned that certain contributors "promote cowboy-type behavior."

The page has been at the center of heated debates before – in 2013, CityPages reports a posting on the site turned into a controversial discussion about gay marriage, which included input from a local pastor.

But the aim of the page is to "[complain] our way to prosperity," its about section says.

In December of 2013, a picture posted of blood-smeared snow from a shooting death a week earlier prompted changes to the way crime scenes were cleaned up.

The Star Tribune described how the page has alerted city officials to rundown properties that are violating building codes, prompting inspectors to turn up shortly after postings.

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